Aerial Review: Learning to Fly

So as I mentioned yesterday, I’m on a kick of engineering a new kind of typical for myself in terms of new things to try and do. I went to my first aerial class last night! It was fun and for reflection’s sake, I thought I would share!

One thing to note: I try to include some shitty photos taken on my phone with posts but, alas, all of the pictures I have are doing splits in the air with my butt hanging out and if I won’t send my Dad a photo of myself, I won’t put it on my blog.

I’ve done a lot of yoga in various formats and although it now bores the ever-living shit out of me, I’ve been in a lot of athletic spaces and I’m pretty picky about the environment and nature of instructors. It’s not as easy as it looks to direct people and it takes true, unbridled talent, empathy, and patience to actually make an impactful instructor.

The location of the aerial class was in a small, industrial space in a little forgotten stretch of New Orleans across from what was once a rubber factory manufacturing facility. I thought it was pretty neat because there was a huge garage door that opened up to all of the silks and ropes and hula hoops hanging from the ceiling, so when you’re walking up in this relatively sketchy area it’s rather comforting to see immediately that you’re in the proper place.

The instructor was a little too relaxed for my taste. In my experience a lot of local businesses  and classes in New Orleans are often sparsely attended so business owners get a little lazy, if I’m being perfectly honest. The instructor gave the three of us in the class a few quick little exercises on the silks before moving onto more grandiose options, which was fine, but it just seemed rushed and lacking a real base knowledge for best practices when getting on and off of the ropes or securing yourself in poses.

I was itching to get off the ground and when I began doing the frog and star pose upside down hanging I kept having trouble with the silks burrowing down into the flab of my love handles. It was increasingly difficult because it felt like the flesh was getting bruised and when I was finally upside down, I was stuck with stretching and moving and coordinating to get the silks down to my lower hips past handle-region.

The sensation of hanging upside down was cool and there were some nice stretches to be had, but oddly enough I still didn’t feel that beginner’s sensation. Maybe because after doing a lot of upside down poses in yoga like wheel pose it wasn’t a shock to me to be upside down. It was totally luxurious to be able to use your body weight and the silks to stretch deep into random poses, though.

However, once I came up from being upside down HOLY SHIT the headache, like holy fuck. I never, ever EVER get headaches and since I never get them, I’m a fuckin asshole and assume no one ever gets them so I lack the sympathy for people with chronic migraines. Holy shit, I will never EVER doubt them AGAIN. This headache hurt so bad I thought I was going to barf or pass out, I’ve never been in that much head pain. I asked the instructor if it was normal and she was wishy-washy about if it was, and I wanted her to just tell me simply, “Yes, people get them” or “Rarely, not really” instead of being like “Well” “Maybe” “Sometimes.” It was unhelpful and if it’s not common, maybe just tell me and I’ll get the fuck down because I don’t want to hurt myself.

I went to go refill my water bottle and there was no water in the cooler, which is typical of said low-key business owners in Nola. They gave me a free bottle and I chugged it thinking it would help my head pain, which it didn’t. Oddly enough I felt fine when I was actually upside down, but coming up was the fucking worst.

Also… the instructor kept doing this thing where there was another worker present making some sort of presentation on her computer, so after telling us what pose to attempt next the instructor would walk away, look at the computer, talk to the other girl and leave us all literally hanging until we asked for her help with something.

Overall, I liked aerial and I’m sore today but I’m really hoping that my next experiences don’t entail copious amounts of headaches and sub-par instruction. I plan on sampling a few different studios, too. Any aerialists please give me feedback, I would love to have notes for beginners!!

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