History of OmGym® Suspension™Yoga and the OmGym® Suspension System by Sarah Dawn Kellett

The origin of the invention of Suspension Yoga™ is unknown, although we believe man has instinctively performed all aspects of it in a balanced, yet informal, manner long before the concept of any yoga practice ever came to be established. Performance of the elements of Suspension Yoga™ (like brachiation and controlled use of momentum) are necessary for the strength and optimal functioning of the spinal column and are therefore crucial in the evolution process. The ideas featured in the once popular show Tarzan may not have been very far off, as at one time, acts of physical robustness had much more impact on our quality of life and the consequence of our daily activity. Holding our body-weight from above, climbing, bending in all directions, hanging in all directions, and using our full range of ability was a necessary part of “survival of the fittest.” Clearly, we are now far less reliant on our physical ability as we have a machine for everything, and we are impeccably sheltered, causing immeasurable changes. This in turn has caused a removal from our physically balanced and instinctive nature that dictates the present need for well-outlined healthy movement programs that help us to be stronger, more supple, and function with maximum, or even normal, ability. In other words, we believe that suspension yoga has existed since the dawn of mankind (without the same terminology, of course) but we are now ready for it's re-emergence in a formatted and strategized system, based upon on our current essential need to balance, restore, cultivate, and perhaps even enhance our natural agility.

Within the context of the ancient practice of traditional yoga, there are records of a 5,000 year old text, entitled “Yoga Kurunta” written by Vamana Rishi in India, which references postures using suspended rope. “Kurunta” itself means puppet in Sanskrit (the language in which the book was written), inferring the hanging of the body from props. Mr BKS Iyengar himself came across this book via his guru, Sri T. Krishnamacharya, and was inspired to further develop the practice of Yoga Kurunta.

Mr Iyengar had used props religiously, trying various ways to perfect his own practice as well as his teachings. He quotes:

“Pupils [with props] were performing fearlessly... I used to find the devices to build up courage and encourage even the most excruciating poses with ease. As they [his students] were getting the desired effects with the least strain, courage built up in them to practice independently and free from pains. Props were helping them to learn and know the asanas well”. He continues, “All props used now like chairs, slanting planks, bricks, are my own innovations, except the hanging ropes.”

Though he did not invent the use of the yoga ropes, he certainly refined the teachings and popularized them in Western Civilization. He made handles with the rope and used slings from all directions to strategically perfect each posture with each individual. He taught classes and workshops internationally and is considered a living legend today. His influence has inspired a more elaborate design that could serve as a tool for his teachings, but that adds comfort, portability, easy adjustment, and a playful vibe. This unique design has evolved as the OmGym Suspension System.

In 2005, Sarah Kellett, came across a basic yoga sling with handles in Thailand. Having a background as a yogini and strength and conditioning specialist, she used this equipment while traveling throughout Asia to provide the support greatly needed for her own rehab, yoga and training program. She was inspired by her dramatic results and knew that with further advancement and development of the equipment, this was a tool that she could help many people with. Upon her return to the USA, she observed the lack of availability of this type of equipment and the lack of awareness of the incredible health benefits derived from incorporating suspension into any exercise and rehab routine, not to mention the fun derived. This encouraged her to elaborate on and perfect her own design of a suspension system, develop and outline the art of suspension, and found OmGym International LLC as a vessel to share this amazing tool we call the OmGym Suspension System. This unique and exciting methodology and apparatus was the first of it's kind that was widely used in the US and has brought joy, balance and healing to customers worldwide. OmGym has since grown organically over the years, purely from customer response. As a team effort, OmGym staff continues to create new ways to expand upon OmGym equipment and lead with innovation of movement.