I love being upside down.
Stop. I was referring to headstands….well mostly. There is something innately life affirming about being upside down. Seeing the world differently. Channeling all your energy into simply staying upright. Nothing else. Just staying upright. Besides, being on the wrong end of 30, anything that prompts my body to defy gravity can only be encouraged. I admit it. I am in the throes of a sweaty, twisted, spine tinglingly luscious love affair with yoga.
It wasn’t always this way. Yoga for me, a Muhindi girl, was like a having that guy in your life, for whom you have built a semi permanent in Friendzone. Until inexplicably, one day he leans close, and the smell of him, combined with the way his touch casually lingers on your skin leaves you feeling light headed and panting a little. It’s a slippery slope from there. You begin wondering what his lips feel like, and before you know it, your spine is arching off the floor as you exhale. To your delight, you discover he is dirrrttyy and like most torrid lovers, adventurous.
It is precisely this thirst for for non-vanilla that took me to the Shine Centre Studio. We are still talking about yoga. Stay with me. I was going to check out an Acro-Yoga class, a combination of acrobatics and yoga. Up until I got to the yoga studio, I had these grand imaginings of cirque du soleil-esque stunts. I walked in and saw two people in a complicated looking pose, one balanced perfectly atop the other, arms spread out, as if floating. My romantic illusions turned straight into fear, in the shape of a big ball of dread sitting in the pit of my stomach. I was shit scared. Maybe I had gone too far with this one. You see, I am a rather voluptuous girl, not the kind you lift and toss over your shoulder as she wriggles her cute behind, giggles and fake beats your back imploring you to put her down. Nope. Not me. Generally women like me will do anything to avoid being lifted, well really it is more about avoiding the attempt.
But, like I said, as with any demanding lover, I had no choice. There were four other people there. Two big burly men with bulging muscles, hopping into handstands as casually as if they were picking their teeth after polishing off a Tilapia each. Another smaller guy who looked like a bullet – compact and taut, and a tall, elegant girl who I later gathered was deaf. Then there were the two instructors. She was Australian, beautiful in a way that comes with youth and great health. He was Kenyan and looked like one of those acrobats from the shows they put on in those all inclusive resorts in Mombasa; the type with leopard print tights and a tiny tube top that exposes their glistening six pack. He was short, about five feet. She was tall, almost six feet. They had met at a teacher training in Spain. They were an odd pair. He smiled too quickly, but the smile never reached his eyes, whilst she had a smile that started in the eyes but only slightly affected her lips.
After the requisite niceties, the instructors then demonstrated the first pose. They faced each other and clasped hands, their bodies leaning backwards, away from each other, their other hands raised up to the sky, with all the drama of matadors entering a bull ring. Then he lay down on his back on the the mat. She hovered over him, holding herself up, with her palms on either side of his head, and her feet either side of his legs, her ass thrust up to the air. Downward dog, with a human underneath. Their eyes were locked intensely. I wondered, were they lovers? He placed each of his feet near her hips, and placed the palm of his hands underneath her collarbones, tenderly feeling for the right spot. They were still looking at each other deep in the eyes. All of a sudden, I began to feel shy. Like I was intruding on an intimacy that I should not have noticed. They took a deep breath in together, and as they exhaled, he straightened his legs and arms, and her body raised up to the sky. She was suspended in the air. The flyer. After a while, he brought her arms down, his fingers grazing the length of her shoulder down to her wrist, never leaving contact, like a caress. Yes. They were definitely lovers. And then he brought her down.
‘After you have flown, you need to show some love to your base’ (they are never referred to as bottoms, I learned very quickly!), and squatting, she grabbed his feet off the floor, and started shaking them around as if he had just came out of a bout with Ali. He started grunting, small moans escaping his lips. It embarrassed me. They sounded like sex noises. I could not help but blush. Being Muhindi, there is no subtlety in your blush. You go scarlet. The ultimate betrayal of your skin colour. Then of course, the mere thought that someone may notice, makes you blush even more furiously, until you are one red pulsing head, from the tips of your ears to the base of your throat. I was desperately hoping he wouldn’t open his eyes and see me like this. I didn’t want to acknowledge the awkwardness of the moment. I wanted him to have his pleasure, express his pleasure, and not judge me for my mortification in this pure (obviously non-pervy, what is wrong with me..) moment.
Now it was time for us to try. I was paired with the two muscle men and was relieved. These two burly men will have no problems flying even me. So we retreated to our corner, and dreadlocked muscle man looks at me and says ‘Ok, so you fly me first’.
What? This was not part of the plan. All rules dictate big burly man to fly woman. These are the rules of nature. It is against The Way It Should Be for woman, no matter how curvy and seemingly strong to lift a 120kg man up to the sky. But he was deadly serious. I told you this love affair was torrid.
So I lowered myself to the ground. He stood between my legs. I gingerly placed my feet near his hip bones, carefully trying to feel around for the correct spot. Gingerly. For a woman must always be gentle around a man’s nether regions. Ladies, I hope you are taking notes. Gentlemen, you can thank me later. To be frank, the caution was really for my own benefit. I had no desire to have my toe brush up against anything that might be erm awakened. Once I had established appropriate contact, I nodded my head, and he lowered himself down, until he was hovering over me, his face just a few inches from mine. It was unnervingly intimate. I didn’t know where to look, so I determinedly glared at that nondescript spot between his eyebrows. I could smell him. His sweat. His skin. His breath. I focused all my strength in my core, and straightened my legs. And as I lifted him, our eyes locked, and his face became gleeful. Utter glee and abandon.
I wanted that.
Then it was my turn. I lowered myself over him, acutely aware of my body. Could he see down my shirt? Did I have anything in my nose? Was I too heavy? What if I fall flat on my nose? Before I knew it, I was flying. And my mind finally shut the fuck up. I arched my back, and raised my face up to the air, my neck curving as I flew. And it felt good. And I stopped thinking.
So this blog is my literary equivalent for raising the 120 kg man. There are times when it might be uncomfortable, and awkward and unnervingly intimate, but hopefully there will also be delicious moments of abandon, and the possibility of that fleeting second when you shut the fuck up and you fly.