The Circus is Painful

Aerial Silks

The circus is painful.

After you tempt fate and survive a hot yoga class, you begin to feel like you can do anything (okay, maybe still not kickboxing…), or at least I started to think so. I mean I sat in a room for 90 minutes that was 105 degrees and put myself in awkward poses, what could be harder….

Aerial Silks.

It was one of those things I had watched on reality shows like “America’s Got Talent” and thought to myself, I could never do that. It’s true when they say “Never say never.” Bella Forza, a studio in town, offered a groupon for a month of unlimited fitness classes and two aerial silks classes a week for half of their regular price. I had completed a month of vinyasa yoga and another month of hot yoga, so the natural progression would be aerial yoga? Of course, I couldn’t go on this adventure solo, Amanda returned the favor of me risking my life in hot yoga with her and agreed to get the groupon too.

We took a couple of the group fitness classes (i.e. hardcore abs and a barre class) to get a feel for the studio and people there. Then on a Thursday after work, for some reason it’s always on a Thursday we start an adventure, we took our first introductory class. We had noticed the young women who were the instructors for the silks classes had insanely ripped upper bodies. Their arms and shoulders were like nothing I had seen in person before. They looked like the gymnasts in the Olympics.

There were only four of us in the class and the instructor. Considering my lack of ability in the first class, I was very grateful for the small class size. The instructor showed us some simple moves. Since the class required so much upper body strength, she actually started with some of the harder moves first so we would still have strength. I learned very quickly that big-bottomed girls may not be cut out for aerial silks. The first couple of moves we tried I felt like I had an anchor and just couldn’t get my feet over my head.

I should preface that I never took dance, or gymnastics, or any other sport that required flexibility; I played softball. And by “played softball” I mean I sat on the bench mostly and boosted the team GPA. So, I struggled. Despite the the struggle to grip the silk and lift myself up into a “bird’s nest” pose or a “Runners pose,” it was still fun. Although, after sending my family a picture, they made sure I knew to not quit my day job and go tryout for Cirque Du Soleil anytime soon.

Straddle Pose of aerial silks

This was the very first class we took. We mastered the straddle pose…actually it was just the only one we could almost make look right. Notice I wasn’t far off the ground. This was also the picture that triggered my grandmother to say “Well, we know she won’t be joining the circus anytime soon.

There was a particular pose we tried that the silks cut into your upper thighs. As I pulled myself into the pose, I quickly got back out and said “oh man, that really hurts.” The instructor was quick to tell me “the circus is painful.”

You know you are working out in the aerial silks class, but you aren’t slinging weights around so you don’t feel like it’s some crazy strength training you are doing. However, once you go to sit in your car after that first class, you know you worked out.

After the class, Amanda came over to my house to practice for a job interview. We both got in our cars. As I placed my hands on the steering wheel, my arms were shaking all the way up through my shoulder blades! By the time I got home (it’s only a 15 minute drive) I couldn’t lift my arms above my chest. No wonder the instructors had mad muscles and they kept emphasizing the need to continue to stretch through the night. There’s no way to not have crazy muscles if you practice regularly like they do.

I had made a white bean chicken chili for dinner that night. Looking back it may have been a bad idea.

There Amanda and I sat on my couch so proud that we could say we had taken an aerial silks class. Our reward for taking the class…not being able to lift our spoons without pain to eat our chili.

Aerial Silks

After a month of classes, we could actually pull ourselves up without a boost. If you can’t tell by my face, this pose is so painful on your thighs!

The circus is painful. Working out in general can be painful, but if you want to achieve your goals, sometimes you have to push through the pain. Or rather, you need to be willing to push through the uncomfortableness you may experience when trying to reach your goals to get the result you want. I think to myself all the time when faced with a tough situation, “the circus is painful.” But if you push through, you could be a beautiful aerial silks acrobat flying through the air, up and down the silk, like there was never any pain.

If you live in the Lexington, Kentucky, area and want to try aerial arts, I would highly recommend Bella Forza.

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4 thoughts on “The Circus is Painful

  1. I’ve always wanted to try this! I totally think trying new classes can be an adventure/motivation but I have pure terror at the same time when I imagine actually dangling from silk. Kudos for being brave! For what its worth- your attempt seems far more graceful than I could ever imagine being!

    Xoxo K

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    • Thanks so much for the kind words! It was a lot of fun. There are a lot of moves you can do that are beautiful and don’t require dropping. I would absolutely suggest taking a class or two if you have interest. I won’t lie though, the first couple of classes are painful but fun! It’s just important you do something you love, that’s all that really matters.

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  2. I can imagine! It seems like every time you try something new you have sore muscles you never knew existed…I can only imagine what this would provoke! I remember not being able to move after my first pilates experience.

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