© 2015 jen IMG_6414

What I Learned From Aerial Arts

I took an aerial arts class here with my friend Julz. Why? I don’t know. It sounded fun and hard, so I thought I would give it a try.

IMG_2457My friend Julz rocking the silks.

I was concerned that it might be bad for my back, neck and pelvis. I thought that I might re-injure myself (I have a preexisting injury from a car accident a year ago) but I decided I wouldn’t know what to expect unless I tried it.

I thought the most I could hope to learn would be how to do some really basic aerial arts/yoga, but what I learned was so much more.

IMG_2494Could Julz be any cuter?

Here is what I got out of my aerial arts experience:

1. Aerial arts reminded me that with a little practice and knowledge my body can do incredible and amazing things. If you would have told me a year or two ago that I would be climbing an enormous slick, silk scarf thingy, using only my hands, arms, legs and feet, I never would have believed that I could do such a thing.

2. Aerial arts might be even more mental than it is physical. I kept thinking, “I’m not strong enough to hold myself in the air. I can’t do this.” Then the teacher would come over to me and say, “Try this.” It would be just a little tweak and then all of a sudden I was doing it. And, I’d think, “Take that, negative internal dialog!” Then it would happen all over again. By the end of class, my internal dialog was beginning to shift to something more like, “I think I can do this. I just need to find the right footing, hand grip and strength.”

IMG_2499Julz is amazing!

3. Aerial arts reminded me that I am capable of more than I believed. I don’t have strong hands. My hands are surprisingly weak and always have been. I don’t have strong core muscles. I have a hard time holding my weight with my hands and arms. For me, most of my extra weight is in the lower part of my body. All of these reasons made it harder for me than it was for the 15 year old girl who was also a brand new student. She was like a monkey climbing the silks within 10 minutes of learning the technique. I struggled, psyched myself out and even fell down once, but I learned the basics all the same. This reminded me that I can struggle and I can still be capable.

IMG_2484

4. Aerial arts made my back, neck and pelvis feel better. There were a number of poses we did in the air that felt like the best stretch I’d had in years. There was one pose we did where we tied the scarves into a sling and hung upside down (I’m calling this the big butt pose, photo below), which felt like traction. It took all of the pressure off of my back, neck and pelvis and I was able to stretch from my neck all the way through the end of my spine. I don’t know this for sure, but it felt like it reset my pelvis too. My entire body alignment felt better after doing aerial arts.

5. My butt looks a lot bigger upside down in a sling than it does in the upright position. No need to expound on this. This photo speaks for itself.

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I read an article a few months ago that said that taking a vacation is one way of getting out of your routine and, sometimes, out of your head. It also said that taking a class offers similar results – more of a mini-getaway. It’s just enough to take you away for a few minutes, hours, or even for a whole day. Taking a class takes you out of your day-to-day worries and reminds you of your talents, strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Best of all, it’s pretty fun to try challenging new activities.

What are you teaching yourself? What are you learning? What classes are you taking? What classes do you want to take? Go sign up for that class right now. There’s no time like the present!

 

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