Like Sam, I’m doing this “217 workouts in 2017” thing, and I’m actually on workout #197. That’s a lot of jogging and riding and bending and lifting semi-heavy things since January. And yet, I’m sluggish, slower and gaining weight (thanks, peri-menopause!). As I’ve written about a couple of times, my body is heavy and tired and tight and hurt-y, which makes nothing feel so great. So I’m working out, but with definite reluctance and a lot of dragging-my-ass-ness.
I had a massage on Monday with a new RMT, and it was the not-fun kind. But he was good and he pinpointed a few things about how all the stringy bits in my body are connected and firing off each other, and he Strongly Suggested that I explore something more … wiggly… than running and cycling. I’ve been to a few yoga classes in the last few weeks (including goat yoga, which honestly, was more goats than yoga), but I had been curious about a class at the studio across the street from me called “movement lab.”
The class description says it’s designed to explore fundamental human movements like squatting, lunging, pushing, pulling, hanging, locomotive patterns, hand-balancing and creative play. Be prepared to challenge your mobility, balance, strength, coordination, skill and adaptability using a wide array of techniques, tools and situations. This is great practice to fill in some of the gaps of your asana (yoga) practice and/or sport specific training.
The schedule also promised that the class would let me “Cultivate an intelligent and creative approach to how you MOVE and express your human complexity!”
How could I resist that?
In a rare burst of alignment, my schedule lined up last night so I could go to the class. I had no idea what to expect. I studied the photos on the website to try to figure out if I needed to bring a yoga mat, and whether it was a barefoot or shoe-needing class. The two images on the website showed guys doing squatty things in their barefeet so I figured I was good.
When I got into the studio, I dragged out a yoga mat (before confirming out I didn’t need one), and did some stretchy calf things. A dancer-y young man came and shook hands with everyone as we waited and introduced himself and asked our names. (Spoiler alert: he also gave me a big hug at the end. Very warm and wiggly).
We started with “radializing” (rotating bits of our bodies), then did some sort of bendy things and some balancing and rotating things, then played with big sticks with a partner for a while, first jumping to catch the sticks our partners dropped, then “attacking” them in slow motion to make them dodge and bend. Surprisingly hard.
Then we spent about 15 minutes starfishing ourselves across the floor, a sort of flat-on-back starfish, then one side balling up then rolling then unfurling. It hurt my tender menopausal boobs to do it the harder way, which I had to tell the nice young man when he was trying to help me adjust. I also had to tell him about the arthritis in my big toe, which made him say “my mom has that” very kindly.
The final half hour of the 75 minute class was the hardest, a series of animal moves. (I’m sure there is a modality that this is all based on, but I cannot locate it). Deep ape — what you might know as a deep squat; beast — on all fours with knees an inch off the ground balanced on your toes; loaded beast — same, but butts back; crab — hands behind you, butt off the ground — and a bunch of variations therein, lifting different bits at a time. For about 10 minutes, we beast-walked around the studio in various configurations. It was HARD.
We finished with 5 minutes of random shaking. I reflected that I should have worn a running bra for my tender boobs, not a yoga/cycling bra. Then some breaths of joy and the aforementioned big hug.
I truly sucked at all the beast things, and it was all surprisingly challenging but compellig, in the way that that one pose you can never do at yoga is challenging. But it was fun and interesting and the teacher was sweet and I liked it. And I woke up this morning more… jaunty. A few bits were a bit sore, but my hips feel a lot more open. More beast walking for me.