When I tried... Aerial Silks
Now, I have never, ever liked PE. The thought of PE in school would make me feel physically sick. I’d make up elaborate excuses until I was given the blessing in Secondary school of ‘bad knees’ and a note from the doctor that anything impact was bad. It was literally like winning a Golden ticket. (Side note: Fast forward 25 years and turns out all medical advice they used to give in the dark ages was totally wrong and I still have fucked knees because of said wrong advice but that’s another story) Anyway, I love the circus and I’ve been learning hoop tricks for over a year. My favourite of any cabaret show is the aerial hoop. It would be dreamy, I thought, to be able to do that. But there was little glamour in the crash mats and the realisation that I’d accidently put myself into a gym class where the primary objective was to climb a rope!
However, Flying Fantastic welcomes all levels and it turned out that half the class were total beginners like me. Phew! After a warm up we were split into small groups around a silk and Maisie our teacher showed us the first move. Our task was to simply lift ourselves up the silk from a hanging position - the latissimus muscle that runs down from your shoulders down your back is the primary muscle involved in a pull up. I know this because I am a massage therapist, yet it turns out that I have rarely, if ever, worked on this muscle or, indeed, this movement. Two sets of 5 pull ups and I knew that I was in trouble. But the group was super friendly, I was partnered with two lovely girls called Maria and Claire. Both infinitely more adept than I was, but we were all very supportive of each other and we took in turns to try what we'd been shown.
A couple of moves in and for the life of me I couldn’t quite get my leg over (if you will) to flip myself into the upside down position we’d been shown. Maisy and Maria were giving it all their encouragement but I had a massive fail. I had some flashbacks to school - felt embarrassed for a minute.. then realised that fuck it, I’d tried, it was my first time and so what I couldn’t do it. I’d get it another time.
When I first started hula hooping I could barely keep the hoop up but now I can, plus a few tricks! In school, we’re graded on our ability and that can put us off a shit ton of stuff for life (hello art classes, languages anyone?) But what I realised during this class, where I really was in the bottom of the bunch, is that it really doesn’t matter where you are. Just showing up is the most important part. Never judge your beginning to someone else's middle.
My arms were aching and my hands stinging but we were all smiling. The second half of the class was actually easier that the first - we were shown how to climb the rope and glide into a couple of poses that looked super impressive but were actually not that hard. (See evidence below that shows you really mustn't ever trust a photo haha).
By the time we class ended, I felt proud that I’d tried and even though it was so hard - and really, I was so crap - I’d had a really nice time. Maisy was encouraging and demo’ed everything super clearly. The atmosphere was really friendly and no one judged anyone’s ability.
I will most definitely be back. 5 Stars ***** A great alternative way to bust your muscles.
Check out Flying Fantastic: www.flyingfantastic.co.uk
Note: 2 days later - oh. my. god. My arms are so sore I can barely raise them above my head. This is a KILLER arm workout. :)