Monday, February 23, 2015

In Rhythms Yoga: Trying Something New

As a yoga teacher and ongoing student, I feel the need to learn something new, become a beginner again and continue to grow physically and mentally. Starting something new is humbling and can lead to new beginnings, meeting new people and potentially creating new health habits. Recently, I decided to enroll in an Acroyoga class at Aerial Revolution for beginners. I wanted to push myself outside of my comfort zone in order to continue my mental and physical growth.

The description of the class on the website sounded interesting, and I had experience and currently teach partner yoga presently. I have also studied the philosophy of yoga as a teacher. I thought that I would find some success and familiarity in having studied some of these areas before this class.

The description read:


 “AcroYoga blends the spiritual wisdom of yoga, the loving kindness of Thai massage, and the dynamic power of Acrobatics. These three ancient lineages form this practice that cultivates trust, connection and playfulness. There are 7 main elements that make up the practice: circle ceremony, asana, partner flow, Thai massage, therapeutic flying, inversions and spotting, and partner acrobatics. Their highest aim is to bring individuals into a state of union with themselves, with each other, and with the divine. From this place of mutual support the true self can be realized, celebrated and shared for the benefit of all.”

As I arrived at the studio, students began to congregate, sitting on the carpet of a large warehouse with an extremely tall ceiling. The room was filled with a combination of circus apparatus: ropes, swings, silks, and related props. There was a couple practicing a hula hoop routine with music in preparation for an upcoming show.

The students that I sat with were excited and anxious  to get started. They shared stories of their experience. Some had been practicing on and off for a couple of years. They told me that I would be intrigued by the nature of the practice, both challenging and fun.

Our teacher was also the owner, Jessica Flores. She lead us through a warm-up in order to properly prepare the body for our antics. We did lunges with a twist, push-ups, standing splits and hand-stands across the room. We ventured over to the beautifully colored “silks” hanging from the ceiling. There were about ten of them hanging down, with two lines of silk hanging from each “station”. Jessica moved us through a warm-up on the silks to open the shoulders, grabbing onto the silks while moving and opening the area of the shoulder girdles.

The next portion of class, she demonstrated how to wrap the silks in order to practice upward movement or “climbing”. She explained, that this was much less about arm strength and more about the technique in the feet, legs and strength in the core. She also encouraged us to point our toes for aesthetic reasons, but also to best utilize the muscles in the legs, toes and hips. Climbing up the silks, was quite challenging for me, the silks would move back and forth with each climb and it was a challenge to “pinch-off” the silk in order to elevate higher. I do intend to return in order to one day master this skill, building muscle memory.

The other students in class were helpful. They were very encouraging and friendly, as was our teacher. She demonstrated each “skill”, with a smile and ease. She floated, climbed, kicked up and over, and around the room moving on the silks like she had real wings.

As a yoga teacher, I was in awe of how much core strength was necessary for doing these kick-overs, pull-overs, and maneuvers. I learned that Jessica’s experience included: being a former club gymnast, a power tumbler, a cheerleader, a circus performer, a solo trapeze aerialist, a yoga teacher and a coach teaching competitive gymnastics for over eighteen years. This experience explained a lot as I watched her move with such ease and grace.

Despite moments of challenge and frequently laughing at myself, I did experience moments of success. At one point, we were instructed to wrap the silks around both ankles and open the legs into an aerial version of the splits. This was a familiar pose that I often practice in yoga on the ground as opposed to in the air.  For a brief moment, I imagined myself as a performer, both graceful and strong. It felt as though I was flying and I noticed that as I was in a “suspended splits”, I could get a deeper stretch in the hip flexors, groins, and hamstrings without the ground below creating a “platform” for my pelvis and legs.

As I was leaving, Jessica gave me an Aerial Silks Level 1 mastering card, in which we could work on one skill at a time and have the instructor check-off our mastered skills. Some of the skills were: pullovers, 5 skin the cats, modified pulls ups, pikes, a regular climb, a Russian climb, a cocoon, sail, straddle, ankle hang from cross back, angel, and more. I knew that I had a long ways to come before mastering these skills. I searched for the box that read: showed up for class, or tried a new activity, but to no avail.

To learn more about Aerial Revolution’s classes, workshops and performances, go to http://studiorevolutionsd.com. They are located at 5370 Napa St., San Diego, 92110.

Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga and breathing techniques.

Namaste,

Christi Iacono, 500 hr. cert. yoga instructor and owner of In Rhythms Yoga

Christi Iacono is a 500 hour certified yoga instructor, kids yoga instructor, and owner of In Rhythms Yoga. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mount Streets. She guides adults, kids and families in the ancient tradition of yoga. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her daily personal practice. She is passionate about  sharing her experience, inspiration, and dedication with her students. She is committed to being a life-long student and teacher of the practice. Christi carefully works with each student in order to find the variation that best serves their body. Work to find the balance of effort and ease in every posture, “sthira sukham asanam.” Yoga is accessible to all.

IRY offers regularly scheduled vinyasa and yin-based classes on, Sat., Sun. (Yin-Yoga) and Wed. mornings as well as Tues. and Thurs. evening classes.

Donation-based yoga class:
Sat., March 7th, 9-10:15 am, proceeds donated to NEDA, National Eating Disorders Association.
*Christi uses Young Living Oils at the studio to enhance yoga class, meditation and in her home.  Visit http://www.apothecarysociety.com/ciacono to learn more.
*Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the full yoga schedule, instructors and for private lessons.










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