And I feel like I might even be like a half inch taller! Last night I attended my first anti-gravity yoga class and I think I might be hooked.
It was snowing when I arrived at the studio. I made sure to get there a little early so that I could get a good spot in the room, and by “good spot” I mean “near the back where less people would see me make an complete ass of myself”. From the pictures I had seen, it certainly looked fun, but it also looked pretty difficult. I have 5 years of experience with different types of yoga, but I didn’t know how much that was going to help me. I’m a Bikram girl and I haven’t taken a class that wasn’t a balmy 105 degrees since I was pregnant with Betty. I love the heat because it allows me to stretch and bend so much further. So I wasn’t sure how my muscles – which were already pretty sore from running the past couple days – were going to react.
I liked the studio and the cheerful colors of the fabric. They somehow made it all a little less scary. My plan to get there early for a good spot near the back worked. I chose purple, natch. As I waited, other people filed in, took their places, and started to warm up. It became abundantly clear that this class would consist of me and 15 Cirque du Soleil performers.
The instructor was a nice older lady. She asked us if anyone was new and of course I was the only one to raise my hand. Everyone else was too busy hanging upside from the ceiling by one leg. She asked if I had done yoga before and then seemed relieved when I said that I had. She assured me that the class would move slowly enough that I would be able to keep up.
I quickly learned that the lack of heat would not be an issue with that fabric involved. For example we started off with a series that included a version of 3-legged downward dog with the extended leg wrapped in the fabric. Like this, but with one foot on the ground:
I was able to extend my leg up so much higher than I ever could before. It felt REALLY good. As time went on I saw that I actually had the occasional advantage over all the circus folk in there. Yoga has made me really bendy and even though I had no idea how they were doing some of their tricks in the warm-up I was a lot more flexible than most of them when it came to the postures done in the class.
I was in there for an hour and a half, but it went by so fast! I guess time does fly when you are having fun. I learned how to do a couple different hanging inversions including this one that I showed in my post yesterday and then subsequently said that I probably wouldn’t be doing anything like this because I’m a newb.
But yeah. I can do this now.
It actually looks a lot harder than it is. Getting into this position (which is an aerial version of bound angle) is a lot like doing a trust fall. You have to tip yourself forward and just trust the fact that the fabric will hold you. I promise it does.
Just before savasana, the instructor gave us some free time to do whatever we wanted. I reviewed the more challenging things we had done already and then sat back and watched the others. It didn’t seem so impossible anymore. I am definitely not to their level and probably won’t be anytime real soon, but if I keep going I’ll get there.
Honestly, my least favorite part of the class – besides the mildly annoying fact that there is a duck pin bowling alley downstairs – was savasana. You’d think that would be the best part. You get to cocoon yourself completely in the fabric and then the whole room looks like a scene out of some alien movie:
It looks awesome, but if you are like me and occasionally suffer from motion sickness, it’s kind of not. The fabric sways gently while you are in it, making it feel somewhat similar to being on a boat. I get seasick. It was an extra long savasana too, or maybe it just felt that way because I was trying to choke back Puke Fest 2013. This wouldn’t stop me from going back though.
If you have any desire to take a class like this, I say don’t walk…RUN to your nearest zero-gravity yoga studio and try it out. It was definitely a different kind of experience. I am so used to being sweaty and winded in my yoga classes and I barely needed to rehydrate the whole time. Instead I felt muscles pulling and stretching in a totally new way and something is very calming about spending a lot of time upside down. My legs and back are a good kind of sore today.
I think I’ll sign myself up for next Wednesday.