Lyra Review for the Beginner, or the Biggest Noob of All

On my quest for new things I tried my very first lyra class last night!

I actually thought it would be a silks-based class, like my initial aerial class was. I just thought it would be a silk sling hoisted up in the air with an instructor going over a different variety of poses. However, I was totally wrong.

A lyra is basically a steel hula hoop suspended in the air, that one would see at a circus, that people hang from or pose from or hop through. When I saw the hoop a good four feet off the ground I was like “Oh shit… I don’t think that little hoop can handle all this woman.”

I was wrong! The hoop COULD handle all of my woman, but that didn’t make the initial poses easy. The first step to get up into the lyra is to throw your dominant leg into the hoop and get the crook of your knee wrapped around it with the hoop deep into the crevice behind the kneecap. Then, you have to utilize your upper body strength to climb up the hoop to grasp the horizontal, flat top of the lyra while your butt rests on the bottom curve of the hoop. THEN, you are finally off the ground!

It took a few tries (and a mild injury to my knee) to get myself up into the lyra, namely because I have a severe mental block that says I have no upper body strength so I couldn’t even make myself put one hand over the other to climb the hoop. Once the instructor grabbed me and said “CLIMB!” I did! I was able to sit up and get to posing just fine but it was that mental block that was the most difficult to overcome.

If you know anything about lyra and aerial, we covered some basic poses and transitions: figure four, mermaid, star and a restorative pose where you basically find your balance lying flat against the lyra. Shockingly, once I was actually UP in the lyra I was able to navigate it well. I especially killed the mermaid pose and went full into it a bunch of times once I had my grip going.

It was an odd sensation because it brought back all of these memories of doing countless hours of yoga throughout and post-college, where I’d sweat in studios and ignore everything around me and find my weaknesses and engage my core and push just a bit harder and feel how all of my different extremities became one succinct motion with enough attention and focus.

It is one of the most amazing feelings in the world to master your body, to overcome it, sometimes, and see that you are so much more capable than you imagined. I felt that the first time I did wheel in a yoga class and when I did the mermaid pose last night suspended in a hula hoop.

One not fun thing? I had to cut myself off from trying to jump into the hoop one too many times because I started to get blisters on my hands, on my knucklepads. They’re not bad but they’re sore today. My knee is sore, random parts of my body I never paid attention to before are sore.

I really want to keep experimenting with aerial and, personally, I think I prefer the lyra over the silks. 😉


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