In another challenge suggested by Time Out readers, our shopping editor Katie Dailey attempts to transcend the laws of gravity.
The thing about flying,’ says Anna, my athletic instructress, as I flump to the floor for the third time, ‘is that it does get easier the more you do it!’ I’m at an ‘acro yoga’ class at L!fe Shoreditch, an innovative exercise studio built into the airy attic of the converted Truman Brewery. Unfortunately, my lifestyle pertains more closely to the building’s former incarnation, and I’m slow to get to grips with this unusual session.
A creeping doubt set in when the class opened, as – rather like an AA group – a circle of young women briefly introduced themselves: ‘My name is Maya and I have been practising vinyasa, ashtanga and acrobatics since before I was actually conceived,’ was a typical offering. I am sure I detected a collective sharp intake of breath when I admitted to being a yoga beginner – but that may have just been pranic inhalation.
Anyhow, it’s hard to get too nervous while being transported to calm by a dreamy harpist whose speciality is celestial covers of modern tunes – another of this session’s unique selling points.
After a classic yoga warm-up, our fist acrobatic move involves gripping our partner’s ankles and rolling over their suspended legs in a backwards motion. Brilliantly, this is called the ‘High Flying Whale’, and a glance in the mirror shows the name to be woefully apt. It’s also surprisingly easy to master. Under the tutelage of Anna, I also sail through the ‘Throne’ –which requires me to do little but sit on her legs and look yogic. But things get serious for complicated final move the ‘Bird’. As I approach my partner, the harpist ominously moves into a quietly sinister plucking of Radiohead’s ‘Karma Police’. However, my partner has two qualities that get us through take off. Firstly, she is good at yoga, which makes her a reliable base (all poses require a ‘base’ and a ‘flyer’ – a sort of yogic bottom and top. I may not be much of a flyer, but as someone who can’t master the most basic of yoga poses, I am certainly no base). She’s also strong, which means she won’t collapse like a cow with BSE the moment I mount her. In order for me to fly, my partner has to lie like an upturned beetle, and I have to plop myself on her feet and point all of my limbs in opposite directions while I’m raised to the roof. Amazingly, her legs don’t break, I don’t crash to the ground and nobody laughs. For a good minute, we solidly hold the position, with my arms outstretched like Jack and Rose on the prow of the Titanic. I can fly! I may be more Ryanair than BA, but I’m a flyer nonetheless…