Hello! I hope everyone is having a great week so far. I apologize for not having written much lately; I’ve been hard at work on my senior thesis, which is due in May. (I’m writing a book of short stories, which will NOT be published.) Anyway, I wanted to share an update about the bucket list I made for myself. I can now officially cross off “take yoga classes” because that’s exactly what I’ve been doing as of a couple weeks ago.
Two Thursdays ago, I took my first aerial yoga class in a small studio in NYC. Sacred Sounds Yoga is only a few blocks from my office, so I swung by for my first session after work. Let me just mention this before I continue: I am far from a yoga pro. The last time I remember taking a yoga class was in high school at least 5 years ago. But this new studio promised a relaxing hour-and-a-half of soothing yoga and meditation, so I gave it a shot. Armed with my pink floral-patterned yoga mat (which had been sitting in my closet, unused, since the day I bought it) and clad in yoga pants and a fitted tee, I was ready to be rid of the stresses from that day.
I can’t say I was nervous about the class itself, but I kept wondering whether I should wear my prosthetic hand or take it off for the session. I wanted to feel completely comfortable, so I ultimately decided to leave it in a nearby cubbyhole with the rest of my things. That worked perfectly well for all the aerial exercises we were taught, but I struggled a bit with some of the floor poses. Next time, I’m definitely going to have to keep the prosthesis on hand (ah, bad pun, sorry!) so I can distribute my weight evenly on both arms and not rely solely on my right side. Jen from Born Just Right suggested that I try using a yoga block next time to elongate my left arm without the prosthetic. I’m going to do that this week when I go again.
For a one-armed person, Downward-Facing Dog can be a real bitch (yes, there’s another terrible pun)
Besides the hand-or-no-hand situation, aerial yoga was pretty awesome. It’s a surprisingly relaxing experience to be hanging upside down from the ceiling with nothing but a silk hammock holding you in place. I’m being dramatic, though; the aerial poses really weren’t tough at all, and I think anyone with average flexibility would do just fine. And in case you’re considering taking up this style of yoga, here are a few tips I picked up in my limited experience with the practice:
– If you have an obvious physical disability, clear it with the studio before you schedule a session. I emailed the receptionist a few days before I went in order to make sure the teachers would be okay with a one-armed student taking their classes. I like to warn people that I’m a little different and reassure them that I’ll be fine with what the class requires of me physically. This prepares them with enough time so they don’t freak out about how to handle the situation when they see me.
– If you have long hair, tie it back (unless you want to sweep the floor under your hammock).
– Wear fitted clothing. I almost wore an oversized t-shirt to the session but wisely changed my mind at the last minute. If I would have worn my original choice, I definitely would have flashed everyone when attempting the upside-down poses.
– Get a pedicure the night before. This was me being purely self-conscious, but I kept thinking about how my toes probably looked ugly with the mostly-chipped red polish I’d left on after my last pedicure. You’re barefoot during the session, so make sure your feet look presentable.
– Clear your mind and leave all your nagging thoughts at the door. Seriously, yoga is SUPER relaxing. I was calm and mellow for several days after the session.
Those are all the tips I have for now. I’ll update you if any helpful advice pops up later. For now, I’m happy knowing that I can already cross my first goal off this year’s bucket list:
(First two images found on Pinterest)