Flight Club: A Review

I took a class called “Flight Club” at Yoga Salt in Venice Beach.

Inspiring photo outside of the Yoga Salt studio

Oxford Dictionary definition: This is not a real thing, but you can read about it here.

My definition: A humbling experience in which you realize that everyone in the world is better than you at yoga.

The instructor: Unlike any yoga instructor I’ve ever had, Brock Cahill, a self-proclaimed “gravity cowboy” walked through the room with a band of followers. He greeted his regulars, and you could tell by the way their spines all straightened to perfection when he walked by that he’s someone to respect. He started out the class with a few OM chants, and I was thinking to myself, “Wow. This guy is totally going to hold such a cool space. I’m totally going to be able to do mad handstands by the end of this class.” He led the final OM and the class fell to silence. “Let’s begin,” he said. “Forearm plank.”
WTF. Who starts with forearm plank?? No seriously, who starts a class with one of the most uncomfortable postures? I’ll tell you who. The Gravity Cowboy.
Now after the first 20 minutes of abdominal hell, we moved on three-legged dogs and side crows and hurdle poses and a bunch of weird combinations I had never heard of or seen before in my life, and that, my friends, is when I realized why he has such a cult following. This guy knows his stuff. He can lift himself into poses with such ease that it’s almost unspectacular that he can cue it at the same time. His cues were spot on, and I felt like I could go deeper into poses that day than I could before. All-in-all, a great teacher and I definitely want to take more of his classes.

The most worked body part: Core. Obviously. Because do you want to know what sucked? The fact that the 20 minute forearm plank was NOT the core series.

The core workout: Let’s just say for each set, he starts at 1, ends at 10, and then repeats.

Favorite pose: I love hurdles pose to chin stand. Because my core felt like it was going to disengage and run away from my body, I was able to focus on the different muscle groups and figure out what I could relax in the pose and transition…like my face.

Least favorite pose: Navasana – Boat pose – This pose hurts my legs more than it works my abs. Note to self — figure out what I’m doing wrong.

The biggest take-away from class: The importance of engaging your back muscles when inverting. I have this horrible tendency to dump all of my weight into my shoulders. Throughout the class Dylan Drew (Brock’s assistant? TA? disciple? yoga demi god?) walked around and offered feedback and suggestions. This was really helpful because he started tapping on the muscles that needed to engage. When he told me to squeeze my back muscles together to engage them, I felt that magical “weightless” feeling everyone talks about, and then the muscles gave out and I fell.

The biggest thinking point from class: I should probably hate core less.

Best part of class: Seeing all of the Flight Club regulars flow from pose to pose was incredibly inspiring. These people clearly know and trust their body so well that “difficult” poses aren’t struggles at all, but rather a gateway to other poses and sensations. It was amazing to watch (and yes, I spent a lot of time watching).

Worst part of class: Dylan Drew in all of his sexiness tapping my un-enaged (read: squishy) belly when upside down to remind me to “engage my abs.” So embarrassing.

Most interesting sensation(s): Letting my body “keep going” in a pose and see what the pose “naturally” turns into.

Biggest distraction: Dylan Drew in all of his sexiness walking around class and giving adjustments.

Biggest challenge: The entire class was a challenge, but I think the biggest challenge for me was accepting the pose I was in. When Brock would make his (insanely impossible) suggestions and the whole class would just do it like it was nothing, it was really hard to me to stay in the pose before it. I had to accept that my body was just not at the level of flexibility and strength needed for some of the poses, and that it was okay to stay and work in the previous pose. That’s the sort of challenge that I felt like I really needed in my life — the challenge to not judge myself based on what everyone else was doing.

Biggest breakthrough/realization: Inversions involve back muscle. Who knew.

What I looked like after class: Like I’d just died and came back to haunt the world.

All in all, this class was amazing. Inspirational, intense, energetic, slightly heartbreaking, and a killer work out.

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