Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Am I an advanced beginner yet?

Well, despite the hangover, I had an amazing class on Tuesday (right after my last post). When we started class with a basic climb, something amazing happened. I climbed to the top of the silks! I was never one of those kids who climbed to the top of the rope in gym class, so this was big for me. I couldn’t believe that my strength and technique had improved so rapidly in four one-hour classes that I gained a skill I’ve never had. I feel like new possibilities opened in front of me! I could be a Navy seal now, right?

Something about starting out class with this win made me feel invincible. For the rest of class I just felt confident. On a fundamental level, I could rely on my ability to reach up, grab the silks, and hold my body weight with my arms and shoulders and upper back muscles. Everything after that felt like a breeze. Putting aerial dance locks around my feet from the air? No problem. Figure 8 foot locks with an extension? Easy peasy. A single foot lock with wrist locks sequence that involved planking in the air and letting go gracefully with one hand? No big deal. I felt confident, like the star of the class. I was always the first to volunteer to try a new exercise. I finally felt like I was DOING something.

After that class I was just chomping at the bit to get back on the silks. I also realized that I wasn’t that tired at the end of class. I have been holding off on renewing my monthly yoga membership (like, normal yoga, on the ground) until I see how this whole aerial experiment goes. Will I stick with it? Will it feel too exhausting to go regularly to both aerial and yoga classes? Will having two gym memberships break the bank?

But after I left Tuesday’s class barely sweating, I decided that I would need more regular conditioning and that cross-training would probably help me advance more quickly in aerial. So I both renewed my aerial passes at Aerial Arts NYC (buying a 10-class pass for $315) and bought a one-month ClassPass membership (10 classes for $135). The ClassPass will let me sign up for yoga classes at many studio around the city, staying flexible now that I’m living in Brooklyn, going to work in Hell’s Kitchen, and doing aerial in Midtown East. Pop-up yoga, anytime anywhere. Yes, I will go ahead and put one more tally mark in my "winning at millennial life" column, thank you. My bank account said no, but my aerial-induced adrenaline said yes.

I justified my ClassPass purchase with the fact that I can use ClassPass at Aerial Arts as well, even though the ClassPass spots tend to book up quickly. After buying all of these passes I snagged a spot in a Beginner Silks class on Friday, hoping that, if I can get my inverts consistently, it will be my last Beginner Silks class before I’m ready to move up to Advanced Beginner classes.

The day after my happy aerial class on Tuesday I went to a yoga class at Sonic yoga near my office, a nice challenging power hour that included lots of dolphin poses and forearm planking (hellooooo shoulders). I was really feeling all the aerial work during my upward-facing dogs. I was, strangely, feeling weaker and stiffer as I tried to extend up out of my shoulders and hold my body weight.

So when I woke up on Thursday morning around 6:30 am and tried blearily to decide what to do for exercise that day, you can imagine my surprise when I checked the Aerial Arts schedule on my phone and noticed that there was a free spot through ClassPass in a beginner Silks class at 6:00 pm at Aerial Arts NYC. Huzzah! A Christmas miracle! It has been super difficult to use my ClassPasses for aerial classes because the spots usually book up one week in advance. So I went ahead and clicked: “book,” before checking that I couldn’t cancel my Friday class the next day. Ah, well, I thought. This will just expedite the process. I’ll be climbing and inverting and moving up to Advanced Beginner in no time!

It all sounded well and good until I arrived at Aerial Arts Thursday evening. From the beginning of class I could tell something was just off. My shoulders felt tired. My climbs at the beginning of class stayed strong, but it was all downhill from there. My aerial dance locks, which I landed easily on my first try on Tuesday, were sloppy. After I couldn’t get the fabrics to loop twice around my legs on my first two tries, my arms got too tired as I hung from the silks, and I had to drop to the ground, defeated. I finally got them, but jerkily, one foot at a time. Then my inverts were a total mess. Forget about it. I felt like the weakest goofball in the class. 

I am also starting to notice some pains. My right groin hurts from so much climbing on my right side and the intense hip openings from splits suspended in the air (gravity really helps you get low, which looks amazing but can be dangerous if your flexibility isn’t there). I am noticing twinges in the backs of my heels when I do downward-facing dogs that weren’t there before. Isn’t that my Achilles tendon? Am I getting tendinitis? Is that an aerial thing?

I think doing 3 classes in 4 days last week was a big mistake. I felt too tired to get the most out of the classes and I'm nervous that by pushing my body too hard too quickly, I might end up with an injury just as I’m getting started. 

I’m planning to consult Lisa, my roommate and resident aerial badass and the creator of, to try to work on a smart and reasonable aerial / yoga regimen moving forward.