The Mind-Body Benefits of Aerial Silk
For me, the stress and pressure of Covid-19 has pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and try new things. Like aerial silk — a gravity defying workout that has you hanging from aerial fabric attached to the ceiling. Although I’ve always had aerial silk on my bucket list, I never had the time or motivation to make it happen.
My first class was super fun and offered me a creative way for me to relieve stress while stretching and moving my body in positions I never knew were possible. Being that I’m not an avid yoga or pro dancer, I found aerial silk to be challenging. And when I finally worked my body into the proper aerial positions, it brought a sense of accomplishment that encouraged me to take more classes.
After speaking with aerial silk instructor Kyla Ranney, I learned that I’m not alone in my experience. Lots of people love aerial silk for its inclusivity — it’s a workout that anyone can enjoy — and has benefits that reach far beyond improved physical strength. From increased flexibility to better overall well-being, here are a few of the reasons I highly recommend taking an aerial silk class.
“Exercise, in general, is always a great way to relieve some stress,” says Ranney. Exercising improves your body’s oxygen use and blood flow. Repetitive motions during a workout can distract your mind from worries and negative thoughts, instead, redirecting that attention to your body. The result? An increase in clarity, energy, and positivity. And trust me — when you’re trying to adjust your body to do the Figure 8 foot lock — an alternate single foot lock Ranney describes as being a “little bit easier” to pick up compared to climbing — you won't have the time to worry about anything else.
Improved Core & Upper Body Strength
“I think that silk is great for people who both love exercise and achieving something from your exercise,” says Ranney. “It’s going to build your upper body strength tremendously, and you're going to do a lot of things you never knew you could do.” Ranney remembers when she first tried aerial silk and how she struggled with even getting her feet off the ground. After taking classes consistently, the ability to invert and hold yourself upside down becomes possible — and liberating — and the repetitive act of climbing, gripping, and pulling yourself up is a workout all on its own. Although you might feel sore after your first few classes, you’ll gradually realize how much stronger your body is becoming.
Warming up before an aerial silk class — or any workout for that matter — is key to avoiding injury and improving flexibility. Think full-body stretches that prepare your body to take flight. Using your body weight in conjunction with the silk is key. By doing this, your body will have the freedom to move more freely — ridding it of any stiffness while stretching your joints and ligaments. “You will find things in the air that make you more flexible or will help you get into different areas [of your body],” says Ranney.
Sense Of Community
No need to be intimidated — aerial silk is great for all body types. For Ranney’s part, she’s seen first-hand how the aerial silk community has become more inclusive. Because everyone is floating off the ground, moving in their own way, there’s no judgement — just a sense of togetherness. It’s a safe space to learn and become more in tune with your body and your personal goals. “It’s a fun way to exercise, and you’ll get a lot of positive reinforcement,” Ranney says. “You’re not just having to exercise on your own, which I think is really hard to encourage yourself during this time.”
Working at your own pace and making sure your body is comfortable is the first step when implementing aerial silk into your routine. And surrounding yourself with others who are also down to try something new — and get a little stronger in the process — offers a motivational push to have fun, lift yourself on the fabric, and become the Cirque du Soleil star of your dreams.