The following are some questions that are common amongst beginner aerial yoga silk artists:
Is strength required as a beginner in the aerial arts?
In short, no, upper body strength is not a requirement when starting out in the aerial arts. It is, however, easier to progress if you already have the strength when you are beginning. Almost all aerial instructors will take on the assumption that brand new students have never done anything like it before, and are therefore not used to pulling, lifting, or pushing their own weight.
You will usually start in a sling or hammock which is a length of fabric tied in a knot at the bottom to help you get comfortable with the fabric before expecting you to support your own body weight.
What should I do in order to prepare for my first class?
Almost all types of exercise, including cardio, will help you prepare for your first aerial arts lesson. Your upper body and core will be heavily focused on, so preparing by targeting those specific areas will surely prove to be advantageous.
In terms of the types of exercises you can do, pull ups are the most effective in training your upper body, while hollow body holds and leg lifts are the most effective for core training. An alternative to pull ups if you do not yet have the strength are horizontal rows. Always remember to take extra care in focusing on keeping proper form in order to prevent injury. A great resource,
believe it or not, is Reddit! Check out /r/bodyweightfitness for some exercise programs that will couple well with aerial practice.
I want to try aerials but I’m afraid of heights!
It’s alright! Almost all aerial teachers will begin by teaching you wraps and techniques while you’re still on the ground. Afterwards, the instructor will have you try the same trick on the silks from one climb, then two climbs, as you are ready.
It should be your instructor’s utmost concern to keep you safe. If you find yourself thinking otherwise, it might be worth it to look for another instructor.
Even if you begin practicing aerial arts with a fear of heights, you will soon find that climbing to the top is easy because you’ve gained the confidence to do such tricks. There are many aerial artists who are afraid of heights but they are comfortable in their silks anyway because of all the preparation, practice, and training they had done in their apparatus beforehand. If you have control over your body and your silks, it is unlikely you’ll feel uneasy at the top of the fabric, even if being on a ladder still makes you nauseous.
What if I’m terrible at aerials?
Just like starting out in any field, there is a great chance you will leave your first class feeling like to botched it and that you did not perform to your expectations. This, however, does not mean that you will be terrible at the sport!
There are some things you should keep in mind (and never forget) when you start practicing the aerial arts. They are also great things to keep in mind whenever you feel frustrated with yourself:
- Aerial arts is an incredibly difficult skill to learn. A professional aerialist will surely make every trick, spin, and inversion look simple, but that is their job! It is understandable that this can be confusing for a beginner since everything is hard at first, but that’s the nature of the sport; if it were easy, then it wouldn’t be so intriguing and cool!
- Learning aerial arts is not a contest, nor is it a race, and it is important not to compare yourself to others. Who cares if the former gymnast in your class is sitting beside you, doing a straddle perfectly, while you can’t even hit 90 degrees? Everyone will progress at a different pace, and everyone have different strengths and skill sets.
One person might be more flexible, another will be stronger, another will be able to see a trick once and be able to do it, and another might be all of these things. While the latter person might be extremely lucky, it has nothing to do about you. If you find that you simply cannot understand or perform a trick in class, and you are getting frustrated, let your instructor know and ask if you can move on for now. Many gyms will have an open practice time where you can then tackle the tricky move.
- Setting goals for yourself and accomplishing them should be the most important aspect of going to aerial class. Whether it be to have fun, learn a new skill, perform, or gain strength, always remember what your goal was.
What do I need to wear or bring to my first class?
1.Leggings or footless tight fitting, stretchy pants that cover the back of the knee.
2. A shirt that covers your torso.
3. Remove belts and pieces of jewelry that could get caught on the fabric.
4. Footwear does not matter because you will be barefoot in the class.
5. Water! Lots of it!
I feel sick after my first class
While you might actually have the flu, it is common to feel extremely beaten up and exhausted after your first aerial class due to the lack of physicality and inexperience. It is likely that this is just your body’s response to the spike in intense activity. Some things you can do include taking anti-inflammatory meds, drink water, take a hot bath, and gently stretch.
What should I do in between classes?
Work out your upper body and core in order to prevent your body from feeling like what was described in the previous section. Stretching on a regular basis will also be very beneficial. Just remember to exercise with proper form, and not to overstretch as these can cause injuries.
Where can I find a studio near me?
You can look it up on Google or your search engine of choice! Just be sure that the studio has specialized insurance, plenty of crash mats, and that they are willing to talk to you about their teaching qualifications and rigging techniques.
How do I get my own pair of silks?
I would not recommend setting up your own silks at home, especially if you are beginner. Aerial arts is inherently risky and becomes extra dangerous when the silks are not rigged by a professional and when the skills are trained improperly. I urge you to train at the studio before attempting it at home, especially if you intend to learn from the Internet.