Get into the swing of things
Julian Pletts attempts to master a new yoga craze...
It’s the first day of my weekend and, bizarrely, I’m hanging upside down with the blood rushing to my head.
It may sound like I’ve had an eventful night out on the town and ended up in hospital in traction, but no, I’m simply at a class for swing yoga - the latest fitness craze that’s gripped Europe and the US.
I feel like one of those circus acts that perform acrobatics while hanging from the roof of the big top. I’m strapped in to a swing made from parachute material and am desperately trying to feign gracefulness as
I grasp for any of the handles that assist you in adopting the beneficial yoga poses.
“Because something is holding you up, you can get your body into the right position without worrying about muscle strain or injury,” explains Pilar Sanchez, regional yoga trainer at Fitness First Middle East, as I finally strike the right pose.
As someone who spends more time on the running track than the yoga mat, I had been afraid I wouldn’t be flexible enough to get the most out of swing yoga, which originates from Bali.
However, the extra support of the swing certainly does help you extend further than you would otherwise be able to.
Benefits of the exercise, according to Fitness First, include relieving compressed joints, sorting out muscle imbalances, increasing flexibility, energy levels and blood circulation.
As I hang upside down I can certainly testify to an increase in circulation, but as for the rest, I’m more concerned about righting myself without landing on my head.
Thankfully Pilar, who prefers to be known as Peewee, expertly helps me ease out of the swing without mishap.
She then shows the true extent of what can be done on the swing, going into the full splits while two feet off the ground. To be honest it looks anything but relaxing but she makes it look like child’s play.
However, I manage more flexibility than I thought myself capable of and, come the end of the session, when we are treated to five minutes relaxation - rocking gently in the swing as soothing music floats over us - my muscles feel warm and loose.
I did wonder how much I’d pay for the extra muscle extension the next day but apart from a slight ache, I was fine. That said, it’s definitely going to be a while before I get in the swing of it again.
The swing yoga class is Dhs40 for Fitness First members. www.facebook.com/fitnessfirstme