She Flies Through the Air...
As walked into the aerial yoga class, I couldn’t help but wonder, “How the heck did I get myself into this?”I almost left when I realized I was the only student above 25 but decided to stick it out.
I was good with the warm up and stretch that was done the old-fashioned way with both feet on the ground but started to get nervous when it came time to get into the silk (that’s what the young, hip folks call the sling suspended from the ceiling).
“This is where we’ll see who’s the strongest,” the instructor said. “Using your core and your upper body strength, pull yourself up into the silk. Do not use momentum. If you are strong enough, your silk shouldn’t swing.”
Oh, mercy. Epic silk fail. I got myself up but was swinging around like the woman on the flying trapeze. My classmates smiled in the way that young people do when they don’t want to make fun of an old woman trying her best. The instructor came right over and steadied my swing. She smiled the way a patient teacher does.
We held the first pose for a while. I liked it. You could go deeper into the pose for a really good stretch. I was seeing the value to aerial yoga. I wasn’t exactly graceful coming out of the pose and back to the ground, but my first exit was uneventful. I didn’t fall so I considered that success.
Time to try the next pose. I wanted to redeem myself so I sucked in my stomach as hard as I could and clenched my bottom. I put one foot in the silk. I grabbed on as high as I could and tried to engage all my muscles as I pulled up. This time I flew out in a circle like the swing ride at the SC State Fair. My instructor rushed over and steadied me for the second time. She mentioned that the harnesses were professionally installed. Was she worried or did she think I was? Either way, that was good information to know.
I did improve as the class went along. Towards the end, I was in a pose where I was hanging upside down. The pressure of my hips against the silk and the rope wrapped around my ankles was supposed to be enough to hold my weight, but my hands still held a death grip.
“Let go. Let go. Let go,” the instructor said. “No, no, no,” said my brain. Finally, when she promised to stand beside me and catch me if I fell, I released one hand and then the other. Voila. I was suspended. I felt like Zendaya from The Greatest Showman. In that moment, I felt strong and free. I felt strong and free for about three seconds until the blood rushed to my head and then my brain told me it might be time to hop on out of that silk so I did.
Overall, I was proud of myself for trying something new. I don’t think I’ll do aerial yoga on a regular basis, but I want to go back if they’ll have me. Before the class, I thought of aerial yoga as a novelty in the same category with baby goat yoga and pole cardio. I wasn’t expecting a serious workout. I was wrong. The next day my legs and arms were sore, and my stomach muscles were screaming: “How the heck did you get us into this mess?” Sorry, core muscles. I often wonder that myself.