I have not pursued exercise in my adulthood, I’ve run away from a few gym memberships and I once attended a Boot-Camp in Hyde Park. I cried afterwards and called the instructor, ‘insane,’ but I did go one time. The instructor agreed to give me a refund but only because he said he saw me crying. I own activewear but I only wear it to go to Woolworths or while doing the Bondi to Bronte walk. A walk I did with my best friend Morgan, we made it to Bronte, had a large lunch and caught a taxi back to Bondi. I don’t follow Fitness Influencers on Instagram because I’ve decided they are intimidating, like Victoria Beckham when she first got her bob cut. My year nine P.E teacher wrote on my report card that I did very well in class considering my medical condition, when I had no medical condition.
"In other words, I’m not athletic, I would describe myself as sleepy. My natural instinct is not to join a Lyra class, my natural instinct is to stay inside and eat Uber-Eats, stalk my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend on Facebook and watch Netflix on an account I don’t pay for."
I did not even know what Lyra was until I googled it and I was horrified. My body is not made for being suspended in the air, my body is made for naps and maybe a slow walk around a park, not brisk though, slow. Perhaps stop for a coffee, maybe a piece of cake?
And yet I have enrolled in a 9pm Lyra Class for Beginners. The first hurdle I had to get over is that you don’t wear shoes during Lyra. I work in retail and my feet spend at least five hours a day sweating in my shoes while I try and please middle aged people on power trips. When I take my shoes off at Sky Sirens my feet are going to smell, I am certain this is not the sexy introduction Dita Von Teese would want for me. My friend Maddie, and fellow Sky Siren’s student, suggests washing my feet in the sink, and bringing my own soap. To my relief there was spray on deodorant in the bathrooms at Sky Sirens so I soak my feet in spray and slide into class. Grateful I didn’t have to hoist my leg up into a bathroom sink and begin furiously scrubbing. Glamour!
There were six of us for the Beginners Class and some of my fellow students looked suspiciously athletic. I could only hope they also get sweaty and experience laboured breathing after about three minutes of exercise. The instructor Dahlia introduced herself and gives us a run down of what to expect. We will do a warm up, then we will try and get into a hoop and learn a part of a routine. When I say warm up I am talking about pre drinking, not exercise, but Dahlia makes it clear she is talking about exercise.
Dahlia puts on "Jenny From The Block", which was cruel, because that song is still suck in my head 24 hours later. She dances and we mimic her movements, of course she looks effortless and graceful and I just jerk my limbs around while managing to consistently stay off beat, and my face also goes a bit red. I briefly wonder if I am allergic to exercise and perhaps am having a deathly reaction.
We then move on to the hoops. We put crash mats underneath the hoops to my relief and for our safety. Dahlia assigns everyone the best hoop for their height and then she explains and shows us how to get into a hoop. Basically you are meant to throw one leg into the hoop and then hold onto the side and hoist yourself up. Please do not try this based on my instructions, because I am not an expert and once got my shoe stuck in an escalator. I had flashbacks to my inability to master the monkey bars as a child, and a girl in my year teasing me about it. That girl now has two kids and a mortgage, and takes her wedding ring off when she partakes in Wollongong nightlife, so I’ve come out on top.
"I did not leave my first Sky Sirens feeling like Dita Von Teese, but I also did not leave crying. I actually felt a little bit refreshed. Exhausted, sore… but refreshed."
It was not easy getting into a hoop. I was the last person that managed to get myself in a because it involved a certain amount of coordination that I do not possess. Dahlia was patient and also very good explaining where my hands and legs should be placed. Everyone in my class did my ego a service by clapping when I finally managed to get myself in a hoop. It did feel a bit like being clapped for finishing a race last, but I’ll take any applause I can get.
We all kept practising how to get in and out of our hoops. I would still very much call getting in and out of a hoop hard work, I can also admit by the end of the exercise it didn’t seem as daunting. I would still rather be standing on my own two feet then balancing on a hoop, but I’m hoping this feeling changes with time, confidence and perhaps after I ice my vagina. There’s a lot of leaning your vagina onto the hoop, often by accident.
The last thing we did in class before I was allowed to go back to my beloved Netflix was to learn a bit of a Lyra routine. I have watched "Coyote Ugly" a lot in my life time, so clearly I felt prepared for some moves. Turns out I was not. Our instructor went through the routine where Dahlia basically danced a bit while holding a hoop. She made it look incredibly easy but when I tried to do the same it was exhausting and I wondered if had asthma or if I was just unfit. We practiced it four times and my performance was still worse then Britney Spears' dancing at the 2008 VMAS.
Class wrapped up and I was chugging on my water bottle as if I was an extreme athlete. Still, I did feel quite smug that I had worked up a sweat. I did not leave my first Sky Sirens feeling like Dita Von Teese but I also did not leave crying. I actually felt a little bit refreshed, exhausted, sore… but refreshed. I have hope in my heart that one day I might be so good at Lyra I won’t pretend to fall onto one of the crash mats to give myself a two minute break.