Active Living, Arts, Balance, Classes, Down time, Get involved, Places, Student Life

Well, That Was a Lot Harder Than it Looked: Circus Silks @ U of T

I walked into my first circus silks class at the Athletic Centre last Friday pretty confident (largely due to the fact that I found my way from the AC change rooms to the Lower Gym in the Benson building on the first try).

Essentially the layout of the Athletic Centre and, of course, University College. Good luck. Background Source: watchervault.com

Essentially the layout of the Athletic Centre and, of course, University College. Good luck.
Background Source: watchervault.com

I wasn’t arrogant — I know I know nothing about aerial silks, but the instructor asked if I had done anything similar or notable and I mentioned that I’ve been coaching gymnastics for over five and a half years and used to do aerial yoga.

This is aerial yoga. 10/10 would recommend. Even if just for the awesome Instagram photos you’ll get out of it. Source: yearningforyoga.wordpress.com

This is aerial yoga. 10/10 would recommend. Even if just for the awesome Instagram photos you’ll get out of it.
Source: yearningforyoga.wordpress.com

Anyway, we started with a warm up. It was very à-la gymnastics. I felt like I was taking one of my own gymnastics classes. Jiu Jitsu doesn’t work some muscles the way that side kicks with pointed toes do, however, and I felt that right away.

There were 4 of us there, I think there may be a couple more in the class who didn’t show up yesterday. It’s a small class by necessity, as the gym only has one silk set up. As a result, we rotated through stations. We had a conditioning station (doing planks, superman holds and the like), a mini-silk set up using one of the gymnastics bars (the Lower Gym is the gymnastics gym at UofT and I felt right at home!), a rest station and a silk set up with the instructor.

silks-3

Source: vimbly.com

I was a little behind, having missed the first class the week before, but I caught up rather quickly. I learned that I’m more inflexible than I thought, and that this art takes incredible grip strength. Coming from Jiu Jitsu, I thought that should have been the part where I excelled… it wasn’t. My hands protested something fierce, but it was definitely worth it!

It’s a fun challenge, and when you master a new piece of the puzzle it’s really satisfying. I recommend it 100%! It was also a pretty good workout between the conditioning and the strength and balance it took to tangle oneself in the silks. It may look pretty but that doesn’t make it easy. I have a new found respect for aerial silks performers already.

The class is an hour long, which is both sad because I want to do more and probably wise since it’s really hard work. I can’t wait for next week though!

As a gymnast and a VERY beginner aerialist now, I wholeheartedly agree. Source: pinterest.com

As a gymnast and a VERY beginner aerialist now, I wholeheartedly agree.
Source: pinterest.com

Now, I feel like this post would be incomplete if I didn’t add in the “part where Annette embarrasses herself.” After we wrapped up class I had to get back to the change rooms to bundle up before heading home. I made my way in that direction thinking to myself “Hah, I’ve got this route down pat.” I went through a set of double doors and I heard them click behind me. I didn’t recognize the place as somewhere I’d passed through on my way to the lower gym, so I went to turn back. The doors were locked. My only option was another set of doors at the bottom of the stairs. As I made my way towards them I felt it getting colder. I had a good feeling I knew exactly what was past those doors, but what choice did I have? I pushed them open and sure enough I was outside, in view of New College, freezing in my tank top. I explained this to the front desk staff later so they’d let me in to get my stuff and they weren’t even a little surprised. I’m telling you, the AC is a labyrinth, it’s not just me!

Anyway, let this serve as a testament to the awesome classes available at the AC, but also to the secret athletes aerial silks performers are. Check back next week for updates and possibly a photo or two (I’ll be trying really hard to conceal my “this is really hard” face).