If you're anything like me, sport and fitness were not things you gave two fucks about growing up.
In high school my designated sport was literally walking, where my English teacher would take a group of us for a stroll around the block on a Wednesday arvo. After school, my physio mandated I do Pilates because my core strength was so pitifully weak, that my pelvis and lower spine were being pulled out of alignment. In an attempt to avoiding my destiny of being 18 going on 80, I begrudgingly dragged myself off to a Pilates class full of Lululemon-clad, Northern Beaches mums. Little know fact, those classes are actually the tenth circle of hell.
Then, a friend introduced me to the addiction that is Lyra.
Lyra is essentially a steel hoop suspended in the air that you do tricks, pull shapes and dance in. Popularised by the likes of Cirque du Soleil, this, and other aerials such as silks and trapeze have been inching their way into the mainstream over the last decade, making them more accessible for us commoners to have a red hot go at. And a red hot go I have had.
Understandably, the next question is usually; why did someone who had avoided physical exertion at all costs, had the body awareness of a baby antelope learning to walk for the first time and the core strength of soggy bread, end up wanting to pay actual money to be taught how to deadlift her own bodyweight into a spinning steel circle? Well, since Lyra has shimmied its way to popularity, people have been adding their own styles to it and it is increasingly being promoting by studios as a form of dance, fun and creativity. I just so happened to come across a studio that was making waves by having a burlesque and body positivity flare to it, which appealed to me more than any spin class ever has. Personally, Lyra is not so much about exercise as it is creative outlet, social event and chance to escape from the monotony of the everyday.
Aside from the endless giggles and fun that come with aerials classes, there is the body positivity that feels inherent within the practice. It is not so much that you are actively trying to love or embrace your body, in as much as you look around a studio of diverse humans and see how Lyra accentuates everyone’s abilities. You can never perfectly replicate the pose of another person no matter how flexible or strong you are, purely because anatomical differences means every shape is individual to that persons body. Comparing yourself to anyone else in the class becomes a redundant form of validation or chastising, difference eventually just becomes your own style. Then there are the calluses that cover your palms and the purple bruises in places that ain't never been bruised before. But these are not blemishes, they are markers of accomplishment; analogous to muscle tone or loosing inches off a waist line, they are the physical manifestation of all your progress.
In our rat race where your success is constantly compared and lessened in relation to the person next to it you, there is something fabulously refreshing about picking a hobby so foreign to you, that you are undoubtedly going to be shit at it for a while. I guarantee being humbled by your own flailing body is unequivocally better than your local Pilates class. Plus, the buzzing feeling you get leaving class is not just basic endorphins, it’s the excessive amount of blood that rushed to your head as you spent half an hour hanging upside down, what a bonus.
Wanna give it a go? Check out where Georgie's favourite - Sky Sirens.