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My New Obsession: Aerial Silks

Oh my! Is April over already? Typical of me to drop the ball and reject this blog after I committed to writing regularly again. School, work, home, blah blah blah. I dropped the ball. End of story.  My apologies.  Let's  try this again...
 

A lot has happened in the last three months, but I won't bore you with that.  So I'll jump right into my new obsession.

Over a year  ago, I found out aerial yoga and aerial silk.  I saw a video of these women gracefully and flawlessly moving on the silks that were suspended from the ceiling. It looked heavenly!  I didn't make it to my first class until this past Saturday when I discovered that they taught Aerial Silks classes in Studio 9 which was 15 minutes away from me.


The first thing I learned was that  Aerial Silks and Aerial Yoga were two totally different things. Aerial Yoga was birthed when a yoga instructor and an acrobat looked for ways to challenge a yoga class using silks.  In Aerial Yoga, it's basically doing the same ground yoga positions on the silk, in the air.  It takes more effort to stabilize yourself on the silk.  Aerial Silks have been used in the circus (think Cirque du Soleil), theater, and dance.  In an Aerial Silks class, you work on progression and sequences, how to lock yourself in the silk, climb up, roll down, swing, and so on.  I'd say that it's a form of dance.  

The next thing I learned was, "You will get some bruising tomorrow. Don't worry, it's perfectly normal."  My instructor smiled as she told me this and summoned me to a beautiful long purple silk cloth dangling from the ceiling 16 feet above us. 
Oh... but how can these beautiful silks bruise me, I thought.  I would find out soon enough.


When you look at Aerial Silk videos, you will see that the silks are parallel to each other, not tied together.  For the beginner class I took, the instructor tied the ends of the silk together creating a swing to hold me.  First, she made me get acquainted with the silks.  She showed me how to position myself.  Where to position the silk on my back, where to put my hands, and how to lean back on the silk and fall backward so that I was upside down- feet apart, legs hip level, parallel to the ground.  She told me that unlike yoga, my feet had to be pointed (nailed it!!!).

Then she said, "Ok, the silk will hold you, so you can let your hands go."  Excuse me?  Just hang upside down without my hands?  "Are you sure?" I asked. 

"Yes, just make sure your legs stay straight and wide apart like this by your hips, and your toes are pointed.  Otherwise you will flop down."

Nervously laughing, I asked, "Can I just focus on getting this form down before I let go?"

"Of course, I want you to be comfortable," she said.

LESSON TO YOU: When trying a new class, NEVER EVER EVER be embarassed to ask if you can modify a move, or take it slow, or have the instructor show you the move again.

My instructor adjusted the knot on my silk because my head was too close to the ground.  I practiced getting on and off the silk on my own, making sure the knot was rested just where my coccyx bone was, and flipping upside down, feet wide, by my hips, parallel to the ground, feet pointed.  Hanging on to the silk with my dear hands as if my life depended on it.  Mind you, I was only a few feet away from the ground.



Once she saw I have gotten a hang of... well, hanging upside down, she said, "You got it!  Let's try letting go again.  Give me one hand at a time."

I gave her one hand.  Waited.  And then, took my hand back from her.  "I'm not ready yet!"


She didn't push me any more and moved on to get us warmed up and stretched.  Like any workout, warm ups and cool down is important.  We stretched our lower body using the silks while being on the ground.  Then she showed us how to stand on the swing, one foot on, the other foot on the ankle of the one on the swing, the knee for that foot in front of the silk and then letting our arms open up.  It was freeing!!   After a few more stretches, we stood on the silk with both feet and stretched our lower back (see picture).




Two more things I learned about silks: 1- your feet arches will hurt from standing on the knot; 2- your hands will hurt from gripping the silks.

We went back to hanging upside down.  I felt comfortable enough to wrap my legs around the silk while upside down.  On one of my tries, without any prompting, I let go of the silks and dropped my hands. 

She also showed us how to fold forward on the silk, with the silk resting just below our hip.  Once we got a hang of doing this, she showed us how to flip around so that we are on our back again and moving to the upside down position we've been working on.  That was my favorite part.  And I felt comfortable with the silks by that time that I stayed in the upside down position, hands off of the silk, and my legs wrapped around the silk.  I could have spent my whole day swinging and flipping on those silks.  BUT just like that, the hour was over. Where did the time go?!??!?


She walked us through leg and spine stretches on the ground.  We also worked on our wrists and flicked our fingers open and close.  

I'll be honest.  When she said it was time to stretch, I thought, "Bummer, that wasn't really a workout."  I thought we'd be doing more.  Aside from my hands hurting from gripping the silks, my sides and back from leaning on the silks, and my feet from stepping on the knot, I didn't feel like my muscles were worked out at all.

Fast forward to Saturday night- I started feeling it on my shoulders, arms, legs, sides.  The next day I noticed very slight bruising on my sides (by my hips), under my belly button, and on my thighs.  Nothing too bad.  I definitely did work my muscles, too, because my body ached when I woke up on Sunday.  I shouldn't have underestimated what I did and taken my muscle recovery drink after class.

MY VERDICT:  IT WAS FUN!  So much so that time flew so quickly and I didn't even think I was working out.  It felt like we were just hanging out and playing around with the silks!!!!  I will definitely go again. Unfortunately, one class is $20.  They have a package which is 4 classes for $70 or monthly unlimited classes (including their pole dancing classes) for $100. I don't plan on trying pole dancing any time soon and I can really only go to the Saturday morning class.  So I will probably just purchase the 4 class package.

 
My first Aerial Silks class was like an amazing first date and all I've been thinking about is the amazing feeling I felt flipping and hanging upside down.  I'm smiling thinking about it. I highly recommend that you give it a try!

Until next time...

Dare to be fit!

<3 Marie 

Healthy Taco Bar (with clean, homemade taco seasoning)



Yes, I am aware it isn't a Tuesday but Taco Day or Taco Monday doesn't sound as great as Taco Tuesday. I could have waited to publish this on Tuesday, BUT I only post on my blog on Mondays and I don't want to skip this Monday again (I skipped last Monday because I wasn't feel that great last weekend AND my 10 year old had four friends sleepover). 

Besides, this Taco Bar Menu is perfect for any day!  We actually had tacos on Thursday this past week. Tuesday was a snow day and Mama Marie wanted venison stew. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe!  You can even double the recipe if you're entertaining (great for Super Bowl Sunday!!!).

Ingredients:
1 1/4 lbs of ground grass fed beef or ground turkey
Homemade taco seasoning (see below)
1 Tsp Olive oil or coconut oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 can tomato sauce
Shredded lettuce
Guacamole
Pico or fresh tomatoes, diced
Small/medium red onions, chopped
Organic cheese (omit if paleo)


Taco Shell Options:
Organic taco shells
Organic blue corn tortilla chips
Romaine lettuce


Directions:
1. Heat oil in a non-stick pan or skillet.  Add onions, cilantro and garlic.
2. When onion is translucent, add meat and cook, making sure to break up the clumps of meat.
3. Stir in tomato sauce and taco seasoning. 
4. Set the table with the meat, and various toppings and shells. ENJOY!



Homemade taco seasoning
1 1/2 - 2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 Tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp Himalaya sea salt
Onion powder

In my home, with the exception of my 10 year old, we prefer making taco bowls so we skip the shell and just pile on the meat and veggies!!! YUMMMMY!!!!

Top 3 Reasons People Quit Their Fitness Goals (and How to Get Rid of those Excuses)

It is mid-January, and I have received messages from people saying that their resolve is starting to wane.  Sadly, these friends of mine are not alone.  Only 8% of people achieve success in their resolutions.  For this post, I will give you the top 3 reasons people quit on their fitness goal and my tips on how to counter those reasons (in no particular order): 
REASON #1: NO TIME
Life gets in the way. You work a full time job.  Your kids play sports and have after school activities.  You have a home to clean.  And on and on and on and on.  I hear you. I'm right there with you.  However, I am able to fit in my workout.  Why? Because I work out at home.  If I had to go to the gym or a class, I wouldn't workout.  From the comfort of my home, I can pick out whatever workout I want to do (depending on the amount of time I have) and when I workout.  Sometimes, I workout in the morning after I read my Bible.  Other times, I workout right before I go to work (I do a quick shower after without washing my hair- thank God for dry shampoo!!!).  Other times, I  work out at night.

There are so many options that will allow you to work out from home in as little as 30 minutes (sometimes even less!).  All you need to do is have the initiative to push play.
When I tell people to workout from home, they often respond, "BUT I WILL NEVER TAKE THE INITIATIVE, I NEED TO GO TO A GYM OR CLASS." My question is WHY?  If time is the reason you are not working out, try working out from home.  You just need to make it a habit.  Why not try working out from home for 3-4 weeks?  And if you are looking for accountability, let's talk.
 

REASON #2: NO MONEY

You don't need a gym membership, a personal trainer, or a fitness class to get fit.  Again, if you work out at home, you will save a lot of money.
     > Use your stairs at home or work for some cardio.
     > Do body weight (no equipment workouts).  Check out my Facebook page for workouts you can 
     do anywhere.
     >Hike, walk, run, play ball outside with your family.
    >Try low cost home workout programs  (take advantage of the free 30 day offer).



REASON #3: WORKING OUT IS BORING.
     >Find an activity you enjoy.  I'm not a runner, so as much as I would love to work towards a half
     marathon, I haven't done it because I don't like running.  Dance. Do martial arts. Play volleyball. 
     > Find a workout buddy. 
     > Change things up. Try something new away from your regular routine. (see find an activity you
     enjoy).

Don't let life get in the way of your health.   If you are serious about getting fit but just need a boost to get going, why not join me and my friends for our next faith based fitness in the Faith, Fitness, and Fellowship Community What are other reasons that you can think of?