European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti completed a yoga class that is out of this world: she performed Jedi Warrior, Shooting Star and other poses in microgravity while aboard the International Space Station (ISS). ).
Cristoforetti, who on Wednesday became the first European female commander on the station, followed along with certified yoga teacher Jaime Amor, who led the class from a studio on Earth.
However, the astronaut had to secure her feet to the ground with a bar and use a large elastic band to keep her balance.
While Cristoforetti was able to remain grounded during most poses, with some assistance, the Crescent Moon and Eagle poses saw her rise from the ground and float around the station.
While Samantha Cristoforetti was able to stay grounded during most poses, with some assistance, the Crescent Moon (pictured) and Eagle Has Landed poses saw her lift off the ground and float around the station.
Cristoforetti followed yoga instructor Jamie Amor, who was in a studio on Earth
Yoga is a popular exercise for improving strength, mental health, and flexibility, and several other astronauts have performed it aboard the orbiting lab in the past: NASA astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson showed off some balance poses in 2017.
A 2012 paperpublished by a team of US scientists and the US Army Surgical Research Institute, suggested that yoga practices such as breathing maneuvers, relaxation, meditation, and targeted muscle movements could help alleviate the effects of the microgravity.
“By providing self-directed stress relief tools, reducing the stress-related cortisol and catecholamine spikes observed throughout the space program can be expected to ameliorate microgravity-induced changes such as immunodeficiency and regional loss in bone architecture, as well as accelerating the re-adaptation of balance and coordination, skeletal, muscular and cardiovascular systems to Earth’s gravity upon return,” the study reads.
Amor (left) and Cristoforetti (right) practiced yoga on the ground before the astronaut launched to the ISS
Cristoforetti used a long elastic band to perform the Jedi warrior pose, otherwise it would have floated away.
Although Cristoforetti was doing yoga for fun, the short class could improve his health as he completes a long stay on the ISS.
Cristoforetti is still together with Amor, who is a yoga instructor for Cosmic Kids, a mindfulness-oriented platform for children.
The astronaut places her feet under a bar that is attached to the floor of the spacecraft to begin the class, which began with simple breathing exercises to ‘calm the nerves and the mind’, which Amor said ‘is very important for an astronaut’ during the video.
One of the stretching exercises is “Hello Earth,” which involves lowering your upper body toward the ground until your toes touch.
However, such a task required Cristoforetti to use a rubber band tied to the floor to pull himself down.
The couple then do the crescent moon pose, in which you stand tall with your arms together in the air and your legs together on the floor.
Cristoforetti also used the sash to display the shooting star pose.
But he was unable to use the safety band during the eagle pose and has landed and floated off the ground.
As Amor’s feet remained planted in one place, Cristoforetti rose from the ground due to microgravity.
Using rubber bands to support herself in zero gravity, she is also seen doing an ‘eagle stance’ by crossing her legs and trying to balance by bending over a bit.
Yoga isn’t the only exercise on board the ISS, as there’s a full gym on the ship that astronauts regularly use to stay agile, and they shared a glimpse of their makeshift gym in 2020.
NASA’s Jessica Meir took the audience on a tour of her makeshift equipment that includes a vacuum system similar to free weights, a treadmill with bungee cords, and an exercise bike with no seat or handlebars.
Studies have shown that exercise is vital only for physical health, but also for mental well-being,” Meir said in the clip.
“You may have to get a little creative to get your heart rate up while staying home from the gym, but we’re sure you can find something.”
Exercising in space poses unique challenges, but without exercise, astronauts can lose up to 15 percent of their muscle mass, some of it permanently.
Aboard the ISS is the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (aRED), which Meir says is the crew’s integral weight machine that uses two large vacuum tubes to generate resistance.
Yoga isn’t the only exercise on board the ISS, as there’s a full gym on the ship that astronauts regularly use to stay agile, and they shared a look at their makeshift gym in 2020. Pictured, Jessica NASA’s Meir running on a treadmill
The makeshift gym has a system that uses a piston and flywheel system to simulate free weight exercises in normal gravity to work all major muscle groups through squats, deadlifts, and calf raises. Astronauts have reported seeing similar results from using free weights
The system uses a piston and flywheel system to simulate free weight exercises in normal gravity to target all major muscle groups through squats, deadlifts, and calf raises.
Astronauts have reported seeing similar results from using free weights.
“While the primary goal of aRED is to maintain strength and muscle mass, resistance exercise also helps astronauts build endurance for physically demanding tasks such as spacewalks,” NASA explained in a statement.
The crew also needs to do some cardio exercises, which are done on a small treadmill or stationary bike, but are different from what you see in your own gym.
The treadmill aboard the spacecraft is designed to allow astronauts to run without vibrating equipment.
It is also equipped with a harness that is connected to bungee cords, which hold the runner in place while in microgravity.
“One of the cool things that we like to point out to people on the ground is that it’s a bike, but we don’t have a seat or handlebars,” Meir said as he strapped on the bike. and he grabbed at the handles attached to the wall.