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For a water-light workout

Splshing about to be fit: Jenifir and her students  

The day is hot and the journey to Play, on Sarjapur Road, feels like eternity. I finally reach my destination. To my horror Jenifir K. Sharma, the instructor has kept the class waiting! I am two-and-a-half hours late. As I walk towards the pool I find the students, mostly women, splashing around in the pool like children.

I quickly squeeze myself into the swimsuit and rush towards the pool. Embarrassed that my bulges, all in the wrong places will be seen, I plunge blindly into the pool. Then, horror strikes – I only know to sink, not swim.

I flail around, for an instant forgetting where I am and think my end has come. Then I hear Jenifir’s soft voice, “Please don’t panic. Find a wall near you and try to stand on your feet.” I am helped by two women to stand close to a wall in the pool. Embarrassed with my dramatics, I want to bury myself, but the pool is transparent and does not help. “It has happened to all of us,” Jenifir says comfortingly.

The music is turned on and the thumping beats from the stereo makes you want to groove. Jenifir stands on the platform and shows us the moves, which we try and follow in the pool. She first makes us walk across the pool so that we get a sense of body balance. The best part about being in water is that it makes you feel lightweight. Soon after this she makes us do simple, warm up exercises, which include hitting the water as though we were cutting a cake.

Then we shift to leg lifts and graduate to slow jumps. If you are not used to water, it feels disorienting.

I try and move slowly, sometimes cheating by not lifting my legs.

But, Jenifir immediately points her finger and shakes it warningly. So I get back to being sincere.

After a few minutes of this we start grooving and dancing to some rap numbers. Jenifir makes us swirl, wiggle, turn, jump and move in slow speed. I start to feel comfortable as the water reaches my neck and have kind of managed to find my balance.

But, once the speed increases, I lose my balance and grab the nearest wall and refuse to let go of my life support. Jenifir, however, does not give up. To persuade stubborn, frightful people such as me, she plunges into the water, grabs hold of my hand and makes me move, teaching me some simple tips on maintaining balance and helping me overcome my fear of water.

After almost 40 minutes, we form a circle and stretch out again. The class has officially ended. Yet, some women continue to float, while some splash around excitedly. I have to rush back to work. So, I inch my way carefully towards the steps and climb out of the pool and reality strikes again – I am not as light as I felt in the water.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 2:53:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/For-a-water-light-workout/article14583597.ece

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