A sixty-hour, Level One Silks Training class, how hard could it be? I’d been practicing Silks Yoga for 18 months already. I think it’s human nature to under estimate the quality of something based on the time you’ll spend on it. What I found to be true was that the time spent was very valuable. I’d like to share a little background and some gems from my training.
I first came to Silks Yoga looking for a physical practice. I was looking for fitness, but I found so much more. In fact, it was this revelation that perpetuated me to take the teacher training. What I discovered was so important to me that I want to help others realize these same things through their Yoga practice. If you knew me, you would be surprised that I made the decision to teach. I am not the type of person to put myself in front of people. I’m quiet, reserved and not overly confident. So, what was it; what was that important to make me move outside my comfort zone?
The answer is connection. I realized for the first time, in my quest for healthy fitness, that I had made a real mind, body and spirit connection and it was exciting to me. My time in the silk became my solace. A time of purification where I found peace of mind. From this experience I learned to except myself where I was, flaws, imperfections and strengths.
I was a bit shy, at first, of the ritual practices of Yoga. I came to understand that the physical part of Yoga was practiced for fine tuning you mentally and spiritually. I began to enjoy this magical spiritual connection and found inspiration, peace and bliss for my soul.
Who wouldn’t want to share this sense of freedom and bliss with others who are kicking off their Yoga journey. Now let me share my thoughts on Silks training. I was excited and nervous when I arrived for training the first day. I was up for the challenge of learning something new, but I didn’t know what to expect. To my surprise, I found the training to be a comprehensive learning experience. The instruction was great, and Jules did an awesome job dialing in on poses. We went over all Level One Silks poses, many times, until we became proficient. She coached us on how to correctly get into poses, where to be in respect to “plumb line”, what was important to cue and the correct way to cue it. We learned how to connect poses in a vinyasa flow and how to transitions from one silk series to another. We learned how to make physical adjustments and modifications to help students get in the pose correctly.
We didn’t just learn the technical side of the physical poses. We learned how to put a class together from start to finish, Breathing, intention setting, warm-up, heat-up, flow, rooting, inversion, cool down, Savasana, gratitude, Ohm. We received practical information about the silk and some Silk Yoga history. We studied a brief history on Yoga itself and became familiar with the Yoga Sutras and the bodies energy centers, the Chakras. All this information gave me “tools in my shed” to begin my new practice as a Silks Yoga guide. It also fueled my desire to learn more about Yoga and deepen my personal practice.
The biggest take away for me though was my voice. I realized that practicing and teaching are two different things. I had spent very little time in front of people speaking. Even more challenging was to “cue and do” at the same time. This skill was a stretch for me but a real confidence booster to get in front of a class and communicate. It wasn’t just instruction for the pose I was giving but I was learning how to help a student with the entire “art” of practicing Yoga.
Yoga gives you a sense of community. During our class time together, my fellow students and I practiced diligently together. In the silks we demonstrated our skill at cueing poses to one another. We spent time practicing together and we took time to encapsulate our training by journaling. I made some friends during my time in training maybe because we were kindred in our yoga journey. I’m certain this same sense of community will continue to blossom with the yogis that come to practice with me. It doesn’t matter what your role, whether student or teacher. What matters is that you’ve taken time to practice, to honor the higher power, others and yourself.
"The Light in me honors and respects the light in you!" - Debbie Whitman
It was immediately clear to me the benefits of this practice, for others not so much. Though the practice is becoming more popular and well known, it is still new to many. With it's newness comes a lot of preconceived notions about what the practice is and is not.
1, You should be an aerial artist to take an aerial yoga class.
Of course you become the worlds biggest yoga geek when you finish trainings. You want to share with the world what you've learned. Like clock work the first thing people said to me when I shared with them I had just been trained in aerial yoga, "like Pink at the music awards?" Yes...but not. First of all, I have never taken an aerial arts class to this day and it's been over 5 years since I've been practicing and teaching aerial yoga. Maybe I should, but I for the purposes of maintaining my efforts to find the yoga in the silk, I've refrained.
2. All Aerial Yoga classes are the same.
Not true. Some classes are only in the fabric and others are in and out. Certain classes require a yoga mat and others do not. There are some types that swing a lot in the fabric and others that refrain. Finally, the way that the fabric is rigged can be completely different. From the fabric having from one point to the ceiling or two or if the fabric is tied or like a hammock are all varieties you might get when taking a random class from somewhere you've never been.
3. All Aerial Yoga trainings are the same.
This is a big one friends. Some trainings are lead by aerialist that have no yoga training while others require you be a 200 hour certified yoga teacher to take the training. Furthermore some trainings are lead over one or two days while others are committing to upwards of 50-65 hours to understand the practice.
4. You should not attend an aerial yoga class if you have vertigo or nausea.
When I first opened my yoga studio we were lucky enough to have a journalist come out and do an article on us and our aerial yoga classes. She was very nervous to take the class having admitted that she was cursed with very bad vertigo. She placed her self in the corner so as to strategize herself to make the least amount of distraction if she were in need of a quick exit. I kept a close eye on her the entire class and was in shock to see her complete the entire class. That was 6 years ago and since that day she began exploring aerial yoga and aerial arts. She has a fabric in her home and no more vertigo.
I'm not saying that this is the case for everyone, I'm just saying give it a chance. Nausea happens to many during their first class. It does not mean that you will continue feeling sick every class. It could very well mean you are detoxing and this could actually be a positive sign.
5. Don't practice aerial yoga if you are pregnant.
Again I'm not disclaiming that it is the best practice for every woman. I believe we need more clinical studies and science based proof of course. But from my own personal experience I'm grateful that I had the practice through out my pregnancies. I've had two children and during both pregnancies I practiced, taught and led trainings up until they were born. My body felt different in the fabric through out each trimester and in general I personally didn't like staying upside down for too long. But I would say that in may ways it helped my body prepare for each birth.
Just passionate about the practice and feel compelled to share with the world.
Raven Clemente, as seen in Yoga Journal Magazine for an Unnata Aerial Yoga article. Read the article
Check out this video of founder Raven Clemente promoting aerial yoga through Denver Colorado's Channel 7 News!