Monday Musings: Current Obsession – Aerial Arts!

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A lot of things have changed since I last wrote about my favourite workouts. These days I tend to find myself spending my weekends at an Aerial Arts studio doing a bunch of different activities. A few months ago, I probably wouldn’t have think twice about letting myself dangle and hang in the air with props and upside down much less. No hands? Err yea.. Thanks but No Thanks!

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The first reason I wasn’t keen on it was fear. Fear of the height, falling down, making a fool of myself and all that comes with trying out a new thing. But what I realised from my first lesson, was that it’s not as scary as you make it to be. I guess we can pretty much say that about almost everything in life isn’t it? What once seemed scary to you just isn’t that scary any more after you’ve dipped your feet into it.

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Second was strength and not being good enough. In terms of strength, flexibility, flow, grace and everything that you think looks good when you watch an aerial performance. Okay so I’m not discrediting their flawless and impressing performances, but I’ve come to realize that SOME (definitely not all) of the credits go to tricking the audience into thinking it looks graceful with some helpful tips. But of course, the rest of it comes down to strength conditioning, flexibility, practice, practice and TONS of practice.

But don’t get intimidated just yet! For a newbie like me to want to keep coming back is cause I really enjoyed it. They make such great workouts and they’ve really helped with building my strength, flexbility AND confidence. I’m nowhere near any of those performers you see on stage but I’ve definitely come a long way from gasping and gaping from watching them. Now I’m purely in awe.

Here are the classes that I’ve been taking up for so far.

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Aerial Silks
Such great cardio AND strength training! Even just practicing on one trick gets my heartbeat pumping! This is the one class that I definitely sweat most in. A lot of upper body and core strength is pretty much required for sure. Pulling yourself up with no momentum and then inverting yourself upside down with just your arms hanging on without the use of your feet is a pretty tough feat that I’m still practicing for. Yeah… Conditioning is definitely a must. Flexibility is always great for optimal performance, but there is always an alternative to make a trick look beautiful too!

Two downsides to it are the pain from the foot locks and the silk burn. Foot lock is where your foot or sometimes both feet wraps and lock around the silks to support and hold yourself during the tricks. Silk burn… Well do I really have to explain? Sometimes tricks may have to lead you to slide too quickly without you fully controlling it that well… Hello burn! But even after all that, I’m still coming back for more.

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Lyra Hoop
From my (very short) experience on the Lyra, I found myself being more exhausted from the strength part rather than the cardio. Albeit some cardio burn happens, but most of it requires strength and confidence. Pull up is still one of my biggest challenges especially on the Lyra, but momentum can help too. Confidence is a key factor as well in making tricks look pretty with smooth transitions. One of the things my instructor taught us was even if you’re in pain, try to look as if you’re confident and in control. That way, your grace and flow shows. Flexibility is a helpful factor as well but as with the Silks, there is always an alternative.

One downside to the Lyra, is CALLOUSES. From just being in pain to being up on the Lyra with already dry and peeling skin and being numb. But having the dry peeling skin actually helps a whole lot. Especially for someone who always has clammy hands and sweaty palms like me, I need lots and lots of chalk to complete a routine.

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Aerial Fitness
This is a new class I’ve started to join and it helps so much with getting the strength training for done that is specific to helping me with the Lyra and the Silks. We use both equipments to develop the basic strength we need specific to both forms of art. They’re not just pull ups, they’re knee hangs, single knee hang, inversions, turns that all require strength pertaining to what Lyra and Silks tricks need. If your studio has this, I suggest you take it! Even if you haven’t taken up the other classes yet. Take them concurrently or even before. In any way, it’ll help more than you can imagine.

Aerial Yoga
It’s definitely the newest thing I’ve tried and I’m slowly enjoying it. It’s my least favourite but hey it’s interesting enough for me to keep trying. It’s a lot of strength development as well but the one thing I’m not very keen on is the pain of those hammocks when it’s on my hip or sacrum. Garh! My instructor says it’s all in getting used to the positions and the pain as well as getting the tightness in my hip to loosen up. But I guess we’ll see in time to come. 😛

So these are some recounts of my few months of aerialing around. Who’d have thought that I would find joy in getting my feet squeezed by silks and getting callouses from an hour of holding on to a hoop for dear life? Well, maybe not that. But I do love me some aerial arts workouts for sure. Believe me, it’s not as scary as it may seem at first.

Xx

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