Did you know you have muscles in your armpit? I don’t know what they’re called, or if they’re just arm or shoulder muscles muscling (get it?) their way in there, but I know they exist because mine hurt. Because on Monday I, against my better judgement, signed up for an exercise class called King of the Jungle at Brooklyn’s premier parkour, tumbling, and sedentary muscle ripping center, Brooklyn Zoo.
Brooklyn Zoo is an exciting place to people watch, because these particular people are in the air about 70% percent of the time. There’s a trampoline where people can spring onto a rope wall next to a dance floor where break dancers can use aerial yoga ribbons to practice their head stand spins. There are hurdles to jump over and bars to climb, and it would all probably be even more magical if it didn’t remind me what a hard time I have trying to touch my toes.
While I probably would have been able to spend most of the class watching more accomplished jungle kings leaping, it turns out I was the only person registered for this particular session, which means I basically had a private session with Yahya. Yahya has danced with Missy Elliot and speaks fluent Japanese. When I asked Yahya what his specialty at the Zoo is, he said everything. I 100% believe him.
The class started with me hanging from a bar. It should be noted I took up monkey bars a little later than my peers, waiting for a growth spurt that let my feet touch the ground while holding on, which makes the whole thing a lot easier on your arms. From the bar we moved on to a held handstand. Oddly enough, the change in perspective distracts you from the searing muscle pain so you’re not really sure when your arms are going to give out until you’re face down on the gym mat.
In this class, like all my exercise classes, I tried to be charmingly self-deprecating. I laughed lightly as I compared my arms to those skinny pencil shaped bread sticks you get at really fancy Italian restaurants. I talked about the time I once looked to the left too quickly and threw my neck out like it’s a joke. Yahya was very patient and encouraging and so I forgive him for following the handstand with crab crawls, trench crawls, sideways crawls, and other assorted crawls that left me wondering why babies aren’t jacked.
The class ended with some time on the trampoline, a light yet powerful rectangle that bounces you up from sitting to standing with no effort on your part. This was by far my favorite part of the class. Next week I’ll be taking an indoor surfing class, all for your amusement.