In December of 2015, I was finishing up my 200 hour yoga teacher training and we had a guest teacher come to lead a handstand workshop. I didn’t participate, citing a shoulder injury I was working to recover from. It was only a half truth though. My other motivation for skipping the handstand work was that I had just found out I was pregnant with our second son. Opinions on whether pregnant women should continue to practice inversions vary from “No, not at all!” to “Absolutely, go right ahead!” and everywhere in between. While I personally think it’s perfectly safe to practice yoga while pregnant, I also think it’s probably not a good idea to begin working on something new and challenging that you don’t already feel fairly comfortable with. Ultimately, that’s what it came down to for me. I just didn’t feel strong enough in my inversion work at the time to continue it while pregnant, so I chose to err on the side of caution. I’m glad I chose to wait it out for the sake of the health and safety of my baby, but I admit it was difficult to watch everyone working on something that I really wanted to do. The teacher who was leading the workshop was from another local studio where they taught pole dance and aerial silks. As soon as I found out about the silks I promised myself that I would get on them as soon as I felt strong enough after pregnancy. It was right then and there that the goal was formed and set and I kept it in the back of my mind throughout my pregnancy.
To stay in shape during pregnancy, I continued practicing and teaching yoga, lifting weights, and using the elliptical. I took 6 weeks off after the birth of my son on July 28, 2016 and then returned to my mat in September of 2016. I picked up teaching my own yoga classes again and began attending a power yoga class which incorporated HIIT intervals. As a short term goal to help move me toward my goal of getting on the silks, I decided I wanted to be able to complete these added exercises without the need to modify. As I began to regain my strength, I also began expanding into other areas of fitness. Our fitness coordinator at the Y encouraged me to become a certified MASHUP™ coach and I was also interested in Barre. I became MASHUP™ certified in October, completed my IBBFA Barre instructor certification in December, and began teaching both in addition to yoga in January of 2017. Between the physical work of practicing and teaching and my dedication to choosing healthy foods to fuel my body, I have experienced a total transformation in terms of strength and physical capacities. I am stronger and more fit than I have ever been and I am continually learning about new things I can do now that I would have never imagined myself capable of before. For example, those inversions I wanted so badly to practice? Now I can do a double leg lift into my headstand, I can transition from crow to tripod headstand, I can experiment with new leg positions in my headstand, like finding garudasana legs while upside down, and I am working on getting both my forearm stand and my handstand away from the wall. This list isn’t about me showing off, there are still many things I want to achieve and many people who are capable of all that and much, much more. The point is that these capabilities are how I knew it was time to try the silks. I knew that I was finally strong enough.
So, in June of 2017, I looked up the schedule, found a time that I could fit in between the 10 classes a week that I am personally teaching, and showed up for my first aerial silks class! From that first moment where we slipped the silks around our arms like a backpack and flipped upside down into straddle, I knew I was hooked. It’s definitely paid off that I’ve worked to become so strong before trying it out. It’s made the work of climbing and holding myself up much easier for me. My instructor says she feels I should be able to advance fairly quickly because of my strength but I need to learn to stop overthinking it (story of my life!) and trust my body and the silks to work together. I love the challenge that this presents, I love the beautiful, graceful shapes of flying, I love the exhilarating feeling of practicing drops, I love the strength of the climbs, I love the change in perspective from the inversions. I am wholly enamored, to say the least. And the best part is the reward of achieving a goal that I set so long ago.
A year and a half, a baby and recovery from birth, two new fitness certifications, creating a job out of what I love to do, more inversions than I’ve ever practiced, and finally, I’ve been able to turn a dream into reality! I think the most important thing I’ve taken away from this is that our goals can sometimes seem so big or so far away that they can seem impossible, but they’re not! It’s not just lip service to say that you really can do anything you set your mind to. Sitting in that room in December of 2015, I could not clearly see how I would make it onto the silks, I just knew I wanted it. So, over the course of the next year and a half I kept taking small steps toward the big goal. It’s important to keep big, long term goals. But it’s equally important to break them down into smaller achievements that will ultimately add up to the big success.
What are you working on? Do you have a long term goal that you’re progressing toward? Are you ready to set one? Leave me a comment and let me know what you’re working on or send me a message and we can begin working together to help you define your goals and begin your journey!