I’ll Stretch You Out My Friend

This exciting, fast-paced, modern world of ours is all very exhilarating and informative and fun and everything but there’s one thing I’ve really noticed is lacking from our busy schedules these days, and that is simplicity. Coming at this phenomenon from a health perspective obviously throws up all manner of implications, but for the sake of this post and where I wish to go with this ramble, I want to talk about how contemporary life has caused us to construct all kinds of blocks when it comes to listening to our bodies; We stuff them up with junk food, wake them up with stimulants, quieten them down with pills, and often forget how to take a step back both mentally and physically to actually take some intuition when it comes to our health.

If you’d have told me 8 years ago that I’d be gearing up for a career in the fitness industry at 26 I’d have laughed in your face through a mouthful of Cadbury’s Creme Egg. But as it happens, that’s exactly what I’m now doing, and now that I have indeed discovered this unexpected passion I sometimes find it difficult to know when to chill out a little from bombing about doing plyos, TRX push-ups, and constantly trying to outdo myself on treadmill sprints. And now that I’m back into a structured running training for the first time since finishing marathon training a year ago, which I’ve added onto my usual weights routine, hiit, and Body Pump (I chastise myself on the daily for this stubborn stupidity but carry on regardless) I’m really starting to feel the strain.

Which is why on Tuesday, when I woke up and could barely move my legs from the debilitating DOMS that had taken over during the night, I knew it was necessary to call on an impromptu rest day. So then when a friend offered me a trial pass for a yoga class at Yoga Garden that evening I jumped (metaphorically you understand, there was no chance in hell of any physical jumping happening at this time) at the chance to take her up on it – and off I went to get my bum on a yoga mat and my poor limbs into pigeon pose.

I arrived at the studio, though, to find a room full of ominously suspended belts and all thoughts of 90 minutes hanging out in savasanah were instantly strangled with the realisation that I would literally be hanging: I’d inadvertently turned up for aerial yoga.

As it transpired though, this style, which IMHO looks so ridiculous and intimidating, is actually surprisingly relaxing and the poses aren’t as tricky to get into as they look. There was a fair bit of partner work, which my quintessentially English reserve wasn’t too impressed with at first – digging the sole of my foot into someone else’s clammy lower back just seems like a little to much of an invasion of personal space to me – hashtagsorrynotsorry – but I quickly realised coupling up was necessary to really get the good stretch you can’t get with normal, feet-firmly-on-floor-yoga. And you really can get a good stretch with hanging yoga, I left feeling 6 inches taller. Also 6 shades rosier from all the extra blood in my head.

I always forget how much I physically and mentally need yoga until I’ve done it and this hanging class has renewed my vigour for getting some necessary om space on a much more frequent basis. I will definitely be returning, and not just because in the final pose, ‘superman’ I believe it was called, we got to FLY. For realz, I flew this week. Got me some head space and some air.

If you’re in the vicinity of Amsterdam I recommend getting your bottom down to the Yoga Garden to give it a go. Let’s keep it simples peoples, yogis know best.



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