I was here. I was ready. Channeling my inner Cirque du Soleil performer, I was pumped for a one-of-a-kind experience. I just wasn’t sure my body bent that way.
Chris and I stood huddled in the corner, thumbs and index fingers stroking our chins. We were analyzing the demonstration of our first acro-yoga pose. Chris leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Does this seem as sexual to you as it is to me?” I nodded, not sure if I should laugh or not. I felt like I was a teenager all over again.
We were probably the wrong people to be trying such an act, but I was excited about it. Blue Sky Yoga was offering a special series of classes with a flying pro based out of Oregon. As an added bonus, we had the luxury of attempting this acrobatic yoga in The Arts Factory, a hip art studio downtown (so I could admire the obscure paintings while exhaling upside down). Only in Vegas.
As raunchy and inappropriate as it looked, flying/acrobatic yoga was super fun. I’d only had one previous experience last week when I had come without a partner. I ended up paired with the only other solo girl in the group. She was adamant that I was too tall and weak to lift her. I wasn’t really interested in proving her otherwise, especially since at that moment I was more interested in dropping her on her face for her lack of positivity and sense of adventure (you know, karma). Some of the other couples let me join their groups to try some of the poses, but by that time I was over it. Due to my partner’s tentativeness, my chi was all sorts of screwed up. No shanti for me.
The instructor teaching the class was only in town for another week, so this was my last chance to try flying yoga to its fullest. This time I’d come prepared, carefully selecting my partner based off levels of trust, balance, strength, sense of humor, and fixed plans for Saturday night. Chris was my lucky victim, the tallest and strongest personal trainer friend I had (who also happened to have an open weekend).
Now, this is not to say I didn’t coax him with promises of flirtation with lots of bendy yoga girls, but so far it was working out in my favor. I think the girls were happy there was another strong and straight man in the class. And since I was the guinea pig, if he did drop anyone it would be me. I wasn’t too worried. I was used to having to trust my dance partners and we weren’t doing anything crazy. If I did fall it would only be the length of his arms; I’d had further falls off of horses. I was stoked for anything (and super sweaty).
After the initial awkward laughter and immature Kama Sutra jokes, we relaxed into the high energy, hilarious class. Flying yoga is really more about stacking of the joints and effective communication than bendiness or strength. A good sense of humor and adventure made the experience all the more enjoyable (insert sexual joke here).
It proved vital to check in with your partner on their level of comfortability and confidence before attempting a pose. The magic word was ‘down’ but Chris was more fond of saying, “Nope, I don’t got it,” and dropping me on his face. We’d end up in a pile of laughter, no harm no foul.
I was happy that everyone got a chance to be a base and to fly. I think it challenged preconceived notions of weight and ability (take that previous partner!) as well as escalated trust and confidence levels.
I was impressed with our teamwork and how nice the poses felt. The great thing about flying yoga is that you are able to achieve stretches and positions with a partner that are otherwise impossible by yourself (yeah, yeah, yeah… insert another innuendo here).
The only downside to doing flying yoga in an art studio is the lingering sense of what I liked to call ‘an eminent art tragedy’. We’d partner up with other groups to make sure that no-one accidentally kicked a painting. Having to buy a damaged three grand canvas was a nerve-racking idea that no-one wanted to make reality.
Thankfully, we managed to leave the exhibition unscathed, taking with us a happy buzz from our unique experience. I’ll chant an upside down, “Om,” to that.