Passions - Aerial Silks
February is the month of love and instead of love for people, I wanted to share a passion of mine. Last week it was aerial sling and this week it’s aerial silks. Similar things but also very different. Sling is one piece of fabric tied at the top with a special knot. Silks is two pieces of fabric tied at the top together and left side by side. You can separate them, use them together, or apart. However there is nothing to catch you, if you screw up, you fall and I screw up a lot. Take these two photos below. In the left one you have me landed on the mat. I am grinning at the teacher but I fell out of the position and thankfully, was basically on the ground when I started so it wasn’t a long fall. But I wasn’t suppose to slide out and end up on my butt. The right picture I twisted the wrong way and the teacher thankfully caught me before I fell and helped me out. She is awesome and silks are hard. A teacher you trust and enjoy makes a big difference when it comes to this type of class.
This class is my least favorite of the classes I am taking, because it’s hard and there is no faking your way through it. However it is also the most satisfying. Nothing beats that moment when after six months of hard week, you finally pull off that move you haven’t been able to understand since the beginning. I honestly don’t recommend this until you’ve gotten comfortable with the fabric from classes like aerial yoga and also have a bit of faith in your arm strength. Most teachers won’t start you very high off the ground so you will always be safe, but having some confidence makes a huge difference. After that it’s all about repetition and learning how to move.
Out of all the things I have done this past year, silks top everything at number 1 as the hardest. It is all upper body strength. Your arms do the majority work in the beginning and you must be able to hold yourself in. It’s squeeze your leg into a pike position and hold the fabric unmoving in the crease or lift yourself over, so the fabric is twisted around your waist and held. I’m not anywhere close to holding anything in place yet, but each class I’m a little closer. Honestly if it wasn’t for the teacher I probably would have given up on this class already. As mentioned Jess Flying Yogi is pretty awesome and I am stubborn. Over time you learn to make better use of your legs and they start to take some of the work from your hands, but it takes time to get there. And we haven’t even talked about inverting yet.
Inverting is basically taking yourself from normal feet on floor to head on floor. You are now upside down. Everything upside down is backwards and confusing. Rights become lefts and over is the most confusing concept. This is, of course, something that varies from person to person. But I have definitely taken some time to figure it out. The hardest part is getting inverted. Core strength is key and what you think is the right way is usually the opposite. For example, pulling with your arms to arch your back and lift your legs seems like the way to go but it’s actually a pushing action and arching your back is the least helpful thing to do.
How is this different from silks? Besides the fabrics being cut up differently, most of differences comes down to strength. Many of the moves are called the same thing and can be done with slight variations between the two different forms. Taking both classes helps build each up to be stronger, at least in my mind.
The biggest question I get, is if it’s so hard why am I still doing it? And there is no right answer. I love it and I love finally getting that thing I’ve been wanting. It’s fun and a challenge. Exactly what I wanted out of it. If it was easy it won’t be worth it. Plus having a class full of good people makes a huge difference. Comments like, that’s beautiful or you totally got it are always appreciated.
Would you try it? What’s your thoughts on doing something challenge week after week with little improvement?
I’ve got one more of these passion aerial posts coming up for next week! Hopefully you’ll stick around!