Oh I know it's taking a while to get all the posts published on HuffPo - since the 80 days are officially over (full blog here), I appear to have got sidetracked with eating and less exercising. Tsk.
Anyhow, Day 67! Reading back, I'd forgotten how much fun it was! Pictures posted in official blog entry found here!
Everyone has a list of memorable firsts - first kiss (awful, wish that memory would erase itself), first love (sweet), first maths test (awesome, 10/10), first driving test (and I remember the 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc), first time you invert hold on a pole without hands (frightening, very frightening. On the plus, your legs will then grip for dear life.). So today, I add to my list of memorable firsts for on this warm summer Monday evening in London, I tried my first anti-gravity yoga class. And it was wonderful.
I'm not really a yoga person, it's true - I'm more of believer that you need to get your sweat on and be totally out of breath in order to be working out but I know that many others swear by yoga. (Actually I think that it's because one of my primary exercise motivations is the guilt-free eating afterwards so yoga as my main form of exercise just wouldn't cut it. I'd be fatarama.) If you've read some of my yoga posts from the first few weeks of the 80-days, I do now have a much better appreciation for some types of yoga and can see how it can be beneficial in an elongating, flexibility, toning kind of way. The spiritual side and chanting, I personally, still don't get but thousands do so I'm not knocking it.
But, AntiGravity® yoga ("AGY")? One class and I was converted. Before you assume that I broke the guidelines and joined a Virgin Active to try this class, there is somewhere you can drop-in, oh yes indeedy. And that's at London Dance Academy (www.londondanceacademy.co.uk) or you can also book through the handy drop-in fitness class website (and holder of the RAVE class from Day 60), Fitness Freak. Only a few minutes walk from Old Street station, the school is tucked away in the basement along an unsuspecting road, but once you descend down the stairs, you are greeted by a cheery receptionist as you enter the home of 3 (or was it 2) nicely decor'ed studios which are home to poles, AGY, gymnastics, handstands classes, hula hoop (which I meant to try after Day 22 Fire Hoop) and a class called Sexiersice (which I am going to try, even if after the 80 days are over. Hell, maybe I'll still post anyway.). How did I not know this was here before?!
So back to the class - for those unsure, AGY is doing yoga-type moves using a giant silky sling. Some moves require inverting and being suspended on your sling while others are upright in the sling or using the sling as support. We started with learning "pouch" and "cocoon" (as with most normal yoga, there are moves for each posture although I did find these names easier to remember than the usual moons, half moons, swaying Buddhas and paerhteasthemsoend dogs. The "cocoon," for example involved sitting in your sling and encasing yourself with the silk to create a little private space - it feels a bit odd (it must look odd), really cool (it must look really cool) and surprisingly calming. And from the moment you first sit on the sling and are comfortable being suspended, the fun begins.
The incredibly lovely, and funny Instructor Sam patiently led us through a series of moves, the first few getting us used to the slings (beginners could watch as she demonstrates first, more advanced students could go straight into the move with her), whether it be sitting, mounting and dismounting through flips (sounds impressive, looks pretty good and is surprising easy once you trust your sling!) or stretching out in our slings.
Because it was such a warm day, Instructor Sam replaced the cardio section of the usual class with another inversion so we did three inversions in the class (similar to the photo but without the partnering!), all along a similar theme (in that you have the sling around your waist or bottom and lean backwards catching the sling with your legs) but with slightly different focuses and moves once you are inverted. Most, if not all the class inverted (I was too busy having fun with my own invert to pay full attention to the rest of the class this time) - there are some medical caveats but in general, you don't have to be particularly tall, short, fat, thin, flexible or fit to start with AGY and have a heap of fun in the first class. There were lots of laughs in the class, a few whoops (as someone flipped for the first time) and Instructor Sam managed brilliantly to keep an eye on everyone and assist, whether beginner or more experienced.
I could go on and on about the class but this post is already way too long. And I am starving.
Long story short - try it. Even for the cool suspended "savasana" at the end alone is worth it.
The Need To Know:
- Where: London Dance Academy (www.laphq.co.uk or
- Nearest Station: Old Street (5mins)
- When: All sorts of fun classes throughout the week.
- How Much: AGY drop-in £15 else packages available (where you can also mix with other class types!)
The Want to Know:
- Who's it For: For those who want a completely different and fun yoga class
- Sweat Scale: 6/10
- Strength / Cardio / Flexi / Tone: Toning and flexi
- Complexity: 7/10. Once you're used to being suspended, it's all good!
- Fun Factor: 9/10. Such different sensations, very cool.
- Changing Facilities: They had a toilet. Changing rooms probably, but I didn't try.
- Instructor Inspiration: 8/10. Down-to-Earth and funny!
- Total Time: 60mins
- Calories Burnt: 123. No cardio section and it is still yoga...
- Average Heart Rate: 82bpm
- Max Heart Rate: 115bpm