I was definitely starting from the bottom.
I decided to do it for something different, to push me physically to what I had been used to and step me out of my comfort zone. Training for triathlons and then only running was easy in comparison - triathlon was about consistency of training, pushing harder, resting, getting nutrition and race strategy right. Now I found myself having to remember to point my toes - the ballet class I took as a 5 year old came to mind when I was sure I was pointing my toes but apparently I wasn't. Having to put my hands at certain heights for each movement, to trust my arm strength, to build my arm strength, to figure out how the hell I got my butt over my head and flip myself up - all a mental challenge. Pilates had given me body awareness and an ability to use deeper strength and it's stood me in good stead so far, but it is not easy by any stretch of the imagination.
Climbing the silks was a huge fear to overcome, having never liked or been good at climbing ropes as a kid it took a lot of self talk to get up there. I had to trust my left foot to hold me, after my disc slipped 4 years ago my left foot isn't as strong as the right and here I was climbing up and asking it to please flex and be there for me. My heart beats faster climbing up to the top which is maybe 25ft, than when I used to do 1 minute sprint intervals.
The lyra was not my favourite in the beginners course, it dug into my legs, was a harder surface to rest on and felt more enclosed than the others. I would have continued with it, when I watch the others somersault themselves around and up - it blows my mind, and yes it digs into them too they simply get over it.!
The trapeze was the piece drew me in, it's like being a big kid at the playground!! It also combines strength with grace but was less complicated (in my mind than the lyra) - the give of the rope in contrast to the hardness of the bar, something about it I love.
Luckily the Saturday morning beginner class became a Trapeze 1 class - but the silks, I wanted to do the silks - I had a fear of them and I wanted to face it. So I find myself at the Aerial Fitness Studio on a Friday night twirling myself round, a Saturday morning swinging about and then Wednesday lunchtimes practising it all to keep it in my movement memory. I love every minute of it as afterwards I wobble on my bike as I pedal away with sore arms (no I'm not cycling with my arms....).
Having taught Pilates for 13 years, I often wondered where Jospeh drew his inspiration from for many of his moves. Now I know. They are not all for joe blogs on the street or not functional for their lives is a better way to put it maybe. For someone into the aerial arts however - I finally got it. I put my work head in action and you'll find me now at work at The Moving Body doing moves in the past I would not have bothered with. Single leg circles have taken on a new meaning, trying to get my hamstrings to work and hold more than they are used to has left them screaming the next day for a break. My arms some days don't know what hit them as I try to hang of the Trapeze table by one arm - and I still can't....
I love having a goal, something to train for and embarking on this new hobby has given me that - and the bonus is that I understand deeper the strength that Pilates teaches the body. Strength, grace, quiet composure, fluidity, control, balance and co-ordination all come together in the air and on the mat.
I have a new found respect for circus performers, Cirque du Soleil and all the other similar performers out there. The skill it takes to do what they do to amuse us the audience is worth every penny paid to sit in the crowd in awe.
The physical body never ceases to amaze me, what it is capable of with practise and training and in conjunction with the mind and positive teachers and positive self talk, and a lot of determination, we really can achieve much more than we ever thought ourselves capable of.....