Learning The "Ropes": A First-Timer's Experience

I had no idea what to expect when I walked into the studio for the first time. I tried yoga once before and it wasn't for me, I'm not an exercise buff, and not particularly flexible, so when Zina invited me to try a beginner class, I was unsure. My only interaction with the studio was in an administrative capacity--why did anyone think I could climb around on silk ropes without injuring myself? Nevertheless, I decided to give it a shot, if only for the possibility of hilarious stories later.

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The first thing I realized is that everyone is too busy holding their own poses to point out how silly I look. No one laughed at me, and as I realized that self-deprecating humor wasn't necessary, I began to relax and ease myself into the stretches, supported by the hammock.

The second thing I realized was that the hammock was my friend. Like I said, I'm not super flexible--I can't even touch my own toes. The hammock was like a friend that gently pushed me in directions I didn't know I could bend. I swanned, stretched, and Peter Pan'd with the best of them. Even when my hands were bound up and stretched behind my head, I felt like I was flying, unrestricted by my own body.

My body was very present, however, and the third thing I realized was that I was carrying tension in muscles I didn't even know existed. Stretching and posing with the hammock eased out the vicious stress knots in my shoulders and neck faster than any massage ever has--and even with the post-exercise soreness, I was soothed and present in myself.

So maybe I'm still not an exercise buff or able to twist myself into a pretzel. Here, that's ok. Learning how to cause the hammock to work with my body instead of being intimidated by it took all of five minutes. Once I got there, it felt amazing, and I completely forgot my lack of skill or flexibility. I was there, doing what was best for me, and I can't wait to do it again.

--Jacqueline Bryk

Do you have a funny experience or want to share your love for Aerial Fitness? We would love to hear your feedback. Share your story below.

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