Thursday, September 20, 2012

Standing On My Head......

For the past nine years or so I've been shall we say an exerciser.  Back in my working days in Texas I was up at 4:30 am and one of many other nutcases that opened the gym for a 5:30 class or session with a personal trainer.  After an exhausting hour of cardio and another of weight training, I was in the gym's shower to ready myself for my happy day at the office.  By the time I made it to work I was starving, tired and ready for a nap, never mind a full day of work.  Every night I'd pack breakfast, lunch and clothes for the next day and was usually in bed by 9pm.
Obviously I didn't take pics while in the class
 so these are borrowed from the internet 

Since we retired and moved to Panamá we need to exercise even more so, since we no longer work. We show up at a local gym three days a week to lift weights, walk for 45 minutes everyday in the heat, and I bust my butt on my spin bike for cardio.  On days we can't make it to the gym I use my old Bowflex machine which is what I did yesterday.

 More crazy moves

Having had the privilege of belonging to a huge, full service health club in Texas that offered hundreds of classes, I always enjoyed trying out the latest fitness craze, once I became brave enough.   It started one day after a brief two year period of thinking about it, that I walked into my first spin class.  My first spin class was tough and I was sure that every person in there was from another planet.  After all why would these people arrive fifteen minutes early and begin riding ahead of time, dressed in shorts with padded butts and shoes that clips onto the pedals?  Soon after the class began the tiny, rock hard, bike seat became intimate with my crotch, and soon it was on fire.  I couldn't wait to stand and spin to relieve my aching loins, but soon realized that standing is even tougher.  Although I hated my first spin class I left feeling truly exhilarated and for the first time I was "high" on exercise.  It made me realize that I hadn't been getting myself to that cardio level that the class pushed me to.  A few days later I went back and took another spin class and before I knew it the 50 minutes was up, I worked up a sweat, and had fun.  I was hooked and have been a devout spinner ever since.  In the years after my first class I've done classes in weight lifting, yoga, pilates, boxing, dance and whatever else seemed new and exciting while we still lived in Texas.

And more

The fancy, schmancy beach community of Coronado here offers some exercise classes on the beach for $10 a class and there's also a yoga studio that offers classes for the same price.  I noticed an add on a website called for "Fly Yoga" and had to investigate it more.  On my handy computer I searched for "fly yoga" also called "suspension yoga" or "zero gravity yoga" and watched a few videos. Although it's been years since I'd even taken a regular yoga class I thought fly yoga looked interesting and since it was so close, I just had to try it.  At the cost of $20 a class, Clyde was seeing dollar signs as usual, and maybe secretly hoping that I wouldn't like it and want to continue.

At least these people were in an airconditioned gym

The class was held outside at the instructors home and I was introduced to my hammock, a large, silk thing suspended from the ceiling.  But unfortunately, this hammock was not for napping, but was for suspending a body three feet above the cement ground in strange positions that bodies aren't meant to be in.  She explained that this fabric is very strong and supposedly holds up to 2,000 pounds so it should hold the average person.  Fly yoga uses basic yoga poses but with the help of the fabric, takes it to new heights.  Many positions that are difficult to get into are made easier with the use of the fabric for support.  And using the hammock like a swing, one is capable of hanging upside down by their feet, doing handstands and other circus like moves all with the safety of the fabric. 

The upside down moves really intrigued me and proved to be fun at first.  As the class progressed she showed us how to do a back flip out of the hammock and I thought "ain't gonna happen."  But with the support of the instructor nearby, she coaxed it out of me and to my surprise I was able to do a back flip out of the hammock and onto the floor.  So amazed that I really did this I just had to do it again and it was awesome.  Something I never thought I'd be able to do, and another thing off the bucket list of life.

She continued taking us through other upside down hanging moves and once upright again, I realized that things had shifted around inside and I was feeling a bit out of kilter.  Not quite dizzy, not quite nauseous but I just felt odd and really had enough at this point.  Thankfully the class was almost over and after some ending moves and a relaxation phase, I was free to go.

So you'll be happy to know that I won't be submitting my resume anytime soon for circus acts involving a trapeze.  And I think I'll just leave hanging upside down to the monkeys in the jungle and keep all future yoga poses to the floor.  But at least I was willing to venture out alone, into the gringo jungle of Coronado and hang upside down with other yogi grandmas....along the gringo trail.

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