The Graceful Art of Aerial Fitness…

If you’ve ever been to a Pink gig you’ll be familiar with her spellbinding ability to combine flawless vocals whilst hanging from the ceiling twisted up in aerial silks and effortlessly flying through hoops.  More than just entertaining, it’s a little bit spectacular and a little bit magical.

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On Saturday, Bloggers that Slay invited me to an Aerial Fitness taster session at Skylab Studios, a small but perfectly formed dance studio in the heart of Camden.  I was excited to find my inner gymnast and learn how to gracefully glide through the air (ahem…)

The mirrored studio is fully kitted out with hoops, silks and hammocks that hang from the ceiling, and enough crash mats to make you feel pretty safe.  After a 10 minute warm up, our instructor, Astra, took us through the 4 key poses we needed to learn; tuck, straddle, pike and needle.  I was familiar with these from yoga, and they’re all quite simple…at least they’re quite simple with the security of the floor beneath you and gravity in your favour…

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We started on the hammocks, they’re a bit like silks but instead of 2 separate pieces of silk hanging down, they form a loop to help support your weight – perfect for beginners right?! ‘Sitting’ in the hammock the trick was to bend your legs like a frog and use your core to flip yourself upside down in a straddle position.  It sounds easy, Astra made in LOOK easy…but it wasn’t easy.  In fact it was really bloody hard!

With a little help I finally managed to get myself upside down so once there, I thought I would just hang out for a bit…

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We swiftly moved on to the silks where Astra showed us how to hang from them (again, a lot of upper body strength required) and hook your feet through to a pike position then hang upside down in a needle shape.  Soooo I got little further than this…

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Finally it was time to give the hoops a try.  I had high hopes that these would be easier than the silks but I was wrong, so very wrong…  There’s a particular method of getting up onto the hoop (of which I fell at the first hurdle, quite literally) which involves more upside-down-ness before flipping yourself up into the hoop and doing the ‘showgirl pose’.  So we’ll call that the plan for lesson 2 shall we?!

It’s safe to say that nothing about aerial fitness is simple or easy.  It requires a lot of core and upper body strength and it will definitely hurt to laugh or sneeze the next day (I suggest surrounding yourself with adequately dull people to limit the pain).  Despite its challenges, aerial fitness really is SO MUCH FUN and clearly has many fitness benefits to help improve strength and flexibility, I’m definitely keen to give it another go.

Many thanks to both Skylab Studios and Bloggers that Slay for having me, it was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!  If you’re keen to give aerial fitness a try, the guys down at Skylab are super friendly, super patient and welcome beginners.  You can find out more here.

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