I hadn’t seen Elizabeth in what felt like ages. We both had babies now. And they needed to meet.
We met for lunch a few weeks ago and made up for lost time. I brought her her baby shower gift I had bought forever ago–a baby wrap–And we caught up over tacos.
Our conversation spanned from postnatal yoga, to careers, husbands, and of course our babies. When it was time to go we promised each other we wouldn’t go this long without meeting up again, and tentatively planned play dates for the near future. So when I got a text from her about getting together for anti-gravity yoga I knew it just had to involve babies. To be sure, I texted her.
“Let’s do it. Sounds awesome, what is it?”
She texted me back saying it’s yoga in sling-like hammock things. In my head I read “wraps” and “sling” and was like “woah, yoga with babies, score!”
She signed us up for a month of free classes every Monday at 6:30.
“PM right?” I asked her.
No. AM. Yikes!
When I got home to search for anti-gravity yoga and find out exactly what I had signed myself up for my jaw hit the floor. This is what we were going to do…
There are no babies in this picture. ADULTS in sling-like hammock things. OH!
Normally I don’t like to do things on my day off without my daughter but I thought this experience would be good for me to have a bit of alone leisure time, and get a real workout. Plus it would be early and she wouldn’t be awake yet.
The night before our class I slept in my yoga clothes and pre-programed my GPS to take me straight there in the morning. The less thinking I’d have to do when my alarm went off at that crazy hour, the better. I had worked until 11 that night, and watched an amazing episode of Big Love, so I was going to sleep late. And I knew I’d be hurting in the morning.
When my alarm went off I texted my friend to make sure she was still going. I didn’t want to show up with four complete strangers if she decided to sleep in. She told me she was still game, so I slipped my shoes on and headed out the door.
When I got there the scene was as scary as I imagined. Silk cloth hanging from the ceiling in a small room with hard floors. There were six small hammocks. One for the instructor and one for each of the students.
We introduced ourselves. Four of the five of us were either my friend or a friend of my friend. I was glad she had recruited others to go in case I decided to bail out early, faking an injury.
Our instructor told us if we were pregnant, had high or low blood pressure, we shouldn’t do the upside down exercises until we got a doctor’s note. None of us were pregnant–or knew it, so we were all in the clear.
“Grab your sheet by the end and swing it back and forth,” our instructor told us all. We watched as she wrapped her hands around the end of the sheet and jumped in. Then we each took turns doing it ourselves.
The first few poses involved wrapping the sheet around us and sitting or laying comfortably in the hammock. “This is nice!” I thought to myself. What a relaxing way to spend my morning. We went through the motions of getting used to moving the fabric, and it sliding beneath us, how to grasp it in our arms to move and stretch certain ways.
“Now grab your fabric and place it behind you at your hips,” she said. Cool, I had that. “Now trust the fabric, you’re going to flip over like this.” I watched as she did a Lady Gaga move and once again my jaw dropped. I couldn’t hold in my laughter. She wants me to do what? This is me we’re talking about. The one who broke the floor during an attempt at chair dancing. I knew if I were to try this my face would wind up in pieces.
I watched as everyone else did it first. They looked graceful and natural. I thought for a moment. Did I really want to attempt this? Why did I sign that waiver saying I wouldn’t sue if I died? I contemplated excuses, a bathroom break… Announcing indeed I am pregnant… then I thought how easy it is in postnatal yoga to sit out an exercise because “Oh, baby’s gotta eat!”
All of this went through my head in a matter of seconds, when I decided I’d just do it. I closed my eyes, grabbed onto the fabric for dear life and flipped over.
Hanging upside down wasn’t comfortable. Our instructor told us to breath and gave us all sorts of directions of things to do with our legs and hands but all I could think of was how my head was sure to explode at any moment… What if blood starts coming out of my ears?… Crap, I’ve gotta fart… My daughter is so weird for enjoying hanging upside down. And kids like to hang from the monkey bars? Why do they do it?
“Yea yea yea, breath, extend, blah blah blah, can I sit up yet?” I couldn’t be the only one so uncomfortable hanging upside down.
After that I knew I could handle any part of this workout. But would you believe it got harder?
We did push ups with our legs extended–feet swinging (not intentionally) in the hammock with our arms on the ground. I realized I don’t have any upper body strength when my arms gave way and I face planted into the cement floor. I couldn’t help but laugh. I was falling apart. I wanted to say that I had just had a baby eight months ago–The reason for my inadequacy–but my friend had had her baby months after me and she was doing just fine.
I survived the rest of the class by the skin of my teeth. But really, I was just the comedic relief. I couldn’t hold my laughter in as I watched everyone balance perfectly on one leg from my wobbly and stumbly point of view.
The woman next to me kept laughing at me too as I nearly grabbed her a few times to break my fall.
When it was finally over we laid straight back in our hammocks for a restoration pose–My favorite part of yoga. I thought to myself if I’d ever come back.
I didn’t go a second time today. I’m far too sleep deprived this week, but I’m still registered for next week. Now that I’m mentally prepared for what’s coming I may be able to try it again and not be such a whimp. Lawd knows I need some kind of workout to get fit again, and by golly I’m gonna do it. Even if that means impersonating Lady Gaga every now and then.
If you’re brave enough (or stupid enough–I’m not sure which I am yet) to try it you can look here to see if there’s a place near you that offers it! All I can say is good luck!