When I first announced to various people (including my Uber driver and my barista) that I had started taking Lyra classes, the reaction was pretty much the same. Everyone was a little bit surprised, including my Uber driver, who clearly is the best judge of what is normal for me. The one thing everyone seemed to agree on was that it was ‘ a bit sexy of me’. My 88 year old Nan said she never had to work that hard to get a husband. She was slightly horrified when I said I was actively working towards never having a husband.
I found this response of ‘sexy’ daunting, not as daunting as paying my credit card bill or checking my credit score, but still daunting.
“Did enrolling in Lyra classes mean I suddenly had to become a sex symbol? Like a young Dita Von Teese, but with chafing between my thighs and a fear of discomfort that prevents me from ever wearing a corset?”
Originally I never thought Lyra classes would be about being sexy or not, I figured I’d learn how to use my body in a different way, in a really nicely decorated room, and I could be as sexy or as unsexy as I wanted to be in the process. I could also get some great photos for my Instagram that I could pretend were candid. But my family, friends, co workers and Uber drivers assumed that by pursuing this particular form of exercise, I must be wanting to embrace a whole new sexy image. The truth is if I wanted to become sexier, I would stop eating so much garlic sauce and then complaining that it makes me feel gassy on dates with my boyfriend.
I found this reaction off-putting. Not as off-putting as when my bogan uncle announces his real thoughts on ‘boat people’ at Christmas lunch, but it made me a little wary in the beginning. I can remember feeling anxious in the first lesson, worried I would feel totally out of my depth. I’m the type of person that zooms in very closely to any photo of me in swimwear I upload on the internet because I’m terrified of a nip slip or a stray pubic hair. I think it is great when people show off their bodies and I actively follow Instagrams where people do, but it’s not for me. Some things I like to keep between me, and pretty much all women’s change rooms near the beach. I’ve never been able to change into ac bathing suit while keeping my t-shirt on, just not enough coordination.
I think the secret to feeling sexy isn’t about how limber you are, or how elegantly you can swing in a hoop, although I’m not pretending that wouldn’t help. Being sexy is all about feeling good about yourself. Confidence is sexy, and as I get older I’m finding men who don’t just own Ikea furniture very sexy. They are even sexier if they can do their own laundry and don’t text their ex girlfriend. Sexiness is all about how you feel about yourself.
It was my fourth lesson this week of Lyra, and the thing I’ve enjoyed most about the class is that it’s a really nice experience. There are six of us that turn up every week and although we don’t know each other outside the pink walls of Sky Sirens, we all cheer each other on. Everyone has different levels of experience, and everyone finds different positions harder, and other positions easier. Full disclosure, I find every position hard. But we have fun, we share some laughs and everyone appreciates a Britney Spears song. I would say I appreciate a Britney Spears song the most, but it’s not a competition (but if it was I would be the winner.)
This week I was wearing a white bodysuit with a newspaper print to class (get it, because I’m a journalist?) The bodysuit was not particularly revealing, but it was something I would not have felt confident enough to wear to my first lesson. Mainly because the main colour is white, and white is a pretty revealing colour. It shows every lump and bump, or as my Nan loves to say, “Show’s what you’ve had for breakfast.” A lovely saying, I implore anyone to use.
“Feeling confident enough to wear this bodysuit made me realise that Sky Sirens is the kind of place that allows people to feel comfortable enough to expose themselves, to whatever degree they want to.”
One of my favourite things about Sky Sirens, besides the feather boas hanging on the wall that I like to wrap around my neck, while I tell everyone my drag name would be “Avon From The David Jones Cosmetics Counter,” is that everyone wears what they feel comfortable in. Some people come dressed in beautiful lingerie, while other people are in activewear, and some people are in a mix of both. Basically, you can reveal as much as you would like or not like. I found this very comforting when I first started at Sky Sirens. I also have noticed that even by week four, that as the weeks go on and people feel more comfortable they tend to dress a little bit more revealing. It’s quite nice to watch the evolution of someone’s confidence, kinda like watching Miley Cyrus after Hannah Montana officially ended.
During my class this week I fell out of the hoop, as I was trying to master a move called the mermaid. Spoiler, I did not master that move. Basically you need to lean your body away from the hoop and keep your legs together, but I find it hard to drink my coffee and double tap Instagram photos on my phone at the same time, so it was a bit much for me and I fell out of the hoop and onto the safety of the plush, red crash matt. My instructor advised I sit out for a few minutes to make sure I hadn’t hurt myself, she was very concerned about my health and I was very pleased that I got to rest, though I was disappointed I didn’t have any snacks to eat during my time off.
While I sat on the sidelines I watched my fellow beginners attempt the move I had failed at. It hit me in that moment how much strength is involved in doing Lyra and how much bloody hard work is involved. I watched as my class struggled, and achieved and failed, and used all their muscles to lift themselves up into the hoop time and time again. In my group some people wear lingerie and some wear activewear, some tend to learn moves and then spend time working out how to pose, some don’t bother and just move on to the next thing. Later, after I was sure I hadn’t injured myself I rejoined the group and continued trying to tackle the hoop, with the encouragement from my class mates.
One of the great things about Sky Sirens is that it’s a space that allows you to be yourself. No one is discouraged or encouraged to be sexier or less sexy. If you want to sit in the hoop and pout, fabulous. If you want to treat it more like a vigorous workout routine, fabulous. If you want to wear lingerie, fabulous. If you want to wear head-to-toe activewear, fabulous. It’s not about being anything, you can comfortably be yourself. The thing is, there is no pressure to be sexy at Sky Sirens. But I’m learning moves that make me feel stronger and capable, I’m starting to feel just a little bit graceful, I’m more in tune with how my body can move and look. Perhaps my Uber driver was right.