Bali yoga: An adventure in pain and laughter
Bali yoga: Aerial ‘anti gravity’ yoga in Sanur
My Bali yoga experience: My Mum is a morning person. She is up with the dawn, out and dressed and blitzing about before most of us have heaved ourselves into a blurry state of consciousness. I am, historically, not a morning person. For the last 28 years of my life (that is to say, all of them) I have been deeply resentful of the first half of every day, especially that bit in between being asleep and fully awake. I find that I’m vulnerable in this state to being targeted by chipper ‘morning people’, who bustle about with tea and toast and suggest spritely activities with such unbearable chirpiness that I end up agreeing to whatever it is just to get them to leave me alone.
Bali yoga: Anti-gravity yoga
It was in a foggy, caffeine-deprived state then, that I found myself staggering at 7.45 this morning along the back paths of Sanur, to something that Mum breezily informed me was called ‘aerial yoga‘.
I’d heard of aerial yoga before- maybe Gwyneth Paltrow or Madonna did it, or something? It sounded like the kind of thing people do right before they pick up a ginseng caffeine-free coffee in a biodegradable cup and go for their weekly green-tea-and-algae enema.
I downed a Diet Coke and headed into the studio.
It was a gorgeous, open-sided bamboo studio- colourful and vibey, a bit like a bondage dungeon designed by unicorns. Rainbow-dyed silk hammocks and black straps with metal buckles hung from the ceiling; pyramid-shaped metallic cushions lay around the floor and thick padded mats were underneath (presumably to help downgrade my inevitable broken neck to a bad sprain).
Our teacher arrived, wearing loose white pants and the smile of someone who is about to see something very amusing. Six nervous-looking women lined up underneath the hammocks, feeling (and probably looking) a bit like cows waiting to be strung up for slaughter.
We began with some stretches on the mat, easing us gently into a warm up and a false sense of security. When we were warmed up and had almost forgotten our hammocky fate, we were told to hop onto the ropes and begin the ‘anti-gravity’ part of the session.
Well, it was a lot of fun. Pain, and fun. We twizzled upside-down, twisted into shapes previously unseen by man and contorted ourselves into deep stretches that hopefully left us a couple of inches taller. I sweated an unnatural amount, creating a spritz of sweat-rain to dampen the mat below, and was rendered the colour of actual lava from the blood rushing to my head.
There were a lot of “oms”, interspersed with the occasional “no freaking way” and “I think I’m about to pass out.” At one point I accidentally started swinging my hammock and was propelled into some sort of helpless flailing into the woman next to me, who thankfully happened to be Mum.
After what seemed like an eternity, it was time for the relaxation. We tucked ourselves into the hammocks and were told to close our eyes and listen to a guided meditation before the final stretches.
It was somewhat peaceful, laying cocooned inside the translucent fabric of the hammock. It’s what I imagine being a transforming caterpillar feels like inside their chrysalis, except that people don’t yank butterflies out of their cocoons and twist their legs or contort their bodies into unnatural shapes to leave them hanging, suspended like a fly waiting to be eaten in a spider’s web.
We came out of the class energised, bendy and smelling terrible. It was a truly unique experience, and one that I would dare anyone to try if they get the chance.
Will we be back next week? Of course.
To read about what we’ve been up to in Bali so far, check out our post about our top things to do in Bali with kids!