The Lab: 7 Ridiculous Exercises We Made Up on the Commune

Jun 07, 2020

I danced classical ballet for 15 years before I took a yoga class. One lithe sport to another — easy transition, right? A decade later I now explain it like this: In a professional ballet company the only thing that matters is how it looks to the audience (and, really, the artistic director). In yoga, the only thing that matters is how it feels to you. Like the political spectrum, which arcs around until the extreme right and left seem more similar to each other than the middle, yoga and ballet are so different that they start to look a lot alike.

It has been a long journey from caring about form to valuing function (and fun!). Now I value how a movement feels, and what it does in my body, not how it looks. 

Which is an extended way of saying, Julia and I like to make up weird exercises. Out here in the mountains, who is to judge? 

Here’s what we’ve invented recently, from least strange to strangest:  

#7 - Make a Rectangle

Why do chaturanga after chaturanga when you can play with foot-to-hand drills?

#6 - Boyfriend Squats

Julia gets strong, and I get to pretend I’m 5 years old and playing Airplane.

#5 - Adduction Pull-ups

Who said only your hands can go in the rings? My inner thighs were sore for a full two days after Julia showed me this one.

#4 - Rock Press

The two most important aspects of this exercise are smiling and not dropping the rock on your head.

#3 - Partner Dips

Julia is getting quite a leg workout at this point.

#2 - Scrub the Yurt

The curvature of the yurt is perfect for externally rotated squats, though it does feel slightly invasive to the yurt’s personal space.

#1 - Bat Hang with Rings

My thighs get stuck, but Julia seems to enjoy this immensely. 

#0 - Huff-Puff

This one doesn’t even count. It’s like a three-animals-in-one toy where you twist segments until there’s an alligator head with a zebra body and lion haunches. Wim Hof holotropic breathing combined with Kundalini yoga arms and a piece of electrical conduit to self-massage my calves. But you know what, it does the trick.

What exercises have you invented lately?

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