Some of you may be wondering what the heck your first class is going to be like. You might be a little bit nervous and apprehensive, or you might be super excited and can't wait. Either way I am sure you probably have a few questions going around in your head. Am I going to be able to do it? Will I be strong enough? What are we going to be doing? Well don't worry because every first class you do in anything can involve a little bit of apprehension and we have excellent teachers who are going to help you every step of the way. So just bring an open mind and a great upbeat, positive, enthusiastic attitude and I can assure you everything will be just fine.
I love it when people start laughing and realising it's such good fun!
My favourite part of teaching is seeing the transformation happen - people arriving all nervous and perhaps even a little worried about what they'll be doing in the the class ahead. But as soon as they start getting into it and realising that actually this aerial stuff is really good fun. They start to feel like a kid again - hanging upside down, swinging about in the air - sort of similar to being back in a playground. Only this time it's an adult playground! All the nerves have disappeared and instead there is laughter, big smiles and squeals and screams of delight. By the end of class everyone is usually feeling quite exhilarated and wanting more!
Ten things to expect from you first class
1.) You'll probably find out that doing aerial is not so easy as it first looks. If it was easy then it wouldn’t be half as cool and everybody would be doing it! Aerial is challenging and that is why we love it so much! It is such a satisfying feeling when you actually start to feel comfortable up there dangling about and pulling some badass tricks. But it's definitely not like that at the beginning. Everybody has to start somewhere and the beginning is always the hardest bit.
2.) You'll realise there is no such thing as instant circus. It takes time to adjust to being an aerial monkey, and unless you were born with natural monkey instincts from the get go it will take a bit of getting used to! So be patient with yourself and don’t expect to be climbing to the ceiling or mastering a straight leg straddle from day one. It takes time to build the strength and ability required to dance about in the air.
3.) You're probably gonna suck at it in the beginning! Unless you have been a pro gymnast or virtuoso ballerina in your early years chances are aerial will be one of the hardest things you'll ever do. Remember that a good teacher will make everything look easy – that’s their job, which makes it confusing for you the student, because everything feels super hard. But stick with it - the hard work does pay off. A few months down the line when you’re happy as larry up their in the air, you will wonder what all the fuss was about.
4.) You'll have to get used to some unusual terminology. Tuck, pike, straddle, hocks, invert, beat say whhhhat? These are all words to describe how we move our body through space. It's like the circus lingo and it may seem a tad confusing at first, but don't worry you will soon pick it up... There will also be a ton of weird and wonderful names that we use to describe the tricks - it's just how we do it in circus. It’s sort of like learning a new language, so don’t expect to fully understand what the heck your teacher is going on about if it’s your very first time in class. You will soon pick it up and it will sort of become second nature within a couple of weeks.
5.) You're going to find out that the impossible becomes the possible. Expect to be hanging and dangling, twisting and contorting into some very weird and wonderful positions, making some rather strange shapes with your body and at rather precarious angles, and if it's silks you're doing then you'll be wrapping yourself up in knots (or locks as we call them) that you may not have believed possible. Yes it’s all about making the impossible possible in aerial!
6.) You'll probably be a little disorientated when hanging upside down. Don’t worry if you can’t seem to figure out your right from your left, your up from your down or your front from your behind. It’s not you being stupid it’s just when you are moving about in 3-dimensional space it can all get a bit confusing. Again something that you adjust to pretty quick.
7.) You'll discover how to work at your own pace. This is super important - as everyone learns at their own speed. Remember it is definitely not a competition in aerial class. Do not be comparing yourself to others. Yes your partner may have gorgeous splits, awesome back bands and the strength of a bear but does it matter? Absolutely not! This is your class and your body and you are here to accomplish your own goals. Everyone has different strengths and learns at different speeds so do what you need to do.
8.) You'll learn to work as a team. You will be asked to work with a partner or even in three’s when you learn a new move. This is called spotting and it’s how we learn safely. Obviously there is the danger of falling out of a new move and this is how we manage this aspect safely. The spotter's job is also to help a flyer into a move, so don't worry if for example lifting you leg in the air seems an utterly impossible feat requiring muscles that you simply don't have. Help will be at hand as you learn how to do this.
9.) You'll probably get sore hands if you are doing hoop and achey hands if you are doing silks. Not a lot we can do about this really - it's just comes with the territory. Think about it for a moment - you are holding all your own body weight into your hands (maybe for the first time) - of course your hands will ache! And yes the hoop will rub against your hands and cause a burning sensation (and may even produce some small blisters). This is all completely normal and totally nothing to be worried about. A few weeks down the line your body will have toughened up and adapted, and this will become a thing of the past.
10.) You'll probably ache a few days after class. Aerial work is intense so expect to be sore a few days after, especially if you have never done anything similar to this before. Soreness should last 2-3 days, and can typically occur in places such as the fingers, forearms, upper arms, chest, back, and abs. If soreness lasts longer than 5 days, consider taking a break until completely healed. Aerial work is a unique fitness program because it introduces the body to the instability of suspension. The body must strengthen all the tiny stabiliser muscles that don’t normally get used and this is what causes the soreness (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). I've written a whole blog about this here if you want to learn more.
So there you have it - yes aerial takes a little bit of getting used to, yes you are probably going to find it hard at the beginning and yes it can be challenging, but... YES IT'S ABSOLUTELY, TOTALLY WORTH IT!
Ten ways to prepare so you can make the best out of your first class
1.) Avoid upper body work-outs the day before.
2.) Get enough sleep the night before.
3.) Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol the night before, hangovers and aerial? - they just don't mix well!
4.) Eat a light snack 60 - 90 mins prior to class so you will have plenty of energy but not feel full and heavy from a large meal, eg. eat a banana - prepare to be a monkey...
5.) Drink plenty of water before, during and after class so you stay hydrated.
6.) It's helpful to bring a water bottle with you so you can keep water with you during class.
7.) Arrive a little early so you have time to get changed and not miss out on the warm up.
8.) Wear the correct attire - we work in bare feet, long leggings are essential so the hoop and silks don't rub your skin (ideally cotton not lycra), tight fitting but comfortable gym clothing, no rings on fingers, and no loose jewellery that may get caught up.
9.) Do not attend if you are unwell or injured as this will only aggravate the situation. You need to be fully fit and healthy for aerial as it requires a lot of energy - mental and physical.
10.) Bring an awesome, positive, energetic and enthusiastic attitude. No negative vibes allowed in the studio! The more enthusiastic and energetic you are the better.