Recently I was having a sort through old stuff at my mum’s house, and came across my old gymnastics club sweater. It felt so sentimental, however it’s so small it probably wouldn’t even fit my pre-school niece. Unfortunately, my years as a gymnast were few, and I haven’t donned a lycra leotard since 4 years old.
Since then I’ve always kept an interest in all things bendy and flippy – it’s my absolute favourite sport to watch at the Olympics, and I always envy those who can move with such grace and control.
As a pole dancer I’m quite happy upside down, but since growing up I’ve always had a distinct fear of handstands – let alone anything more fancy. This year in classes we’ve been working on them and I can finally hold myself happily in a handstand against a wall or a pole, but the thought of doing that in the middle of a room sends shivers down my spine. So I thought it was about time to sort this out.
I recently joined a Crossfit gym (which I’ll save for another post!) and was excited to see that they run Adult Gymnastic classes twice a week. My excitement lasted until around 2 hours before the class, when I nearly bottled it terrified. I made it to the beginner class though, and was surprised to see that a whole range of ages and abilities – with 4 men and only 1 other girl!
The class lasted an hour but within 10 mins of working my way backwards and forwards along the mat in various handstand drills, I’d broken a sweat! My heart rate increased more when she said we were going to kick up as if we were going to handstand (what if I went straight over?!) but to my surprise, I found myself hovering in the air, if only for a split second.
Then my heart really DID skip a beat. We were going to handstand and then come out into a forward roll. I had visions of broken bones and tears – but the instructor was lovely. We started out in an easy version, assisted and pushing off a high mat, and if anyone was unsure at any point she’d support us right over. I couldn’t believe it but within a few goes I was actually doing it on my own!
We spent the rest of the class in cartwheels, forward rolls, back rolls and various combinations of all 3. Everyone had different strengths and weaknesses (co-ordination vs. strength!) and it was a lovely and supportive group to spend time with. By the end of the class I was exhausted but buzzing, feeling like I’d relived a little bit of my childhood. Can’t wait until my class next week!