Monthly Archives: August 2016

Exploring Jersey: Aerial and Acro Yoga

One of the ladies in my writers group thought I might be interested in trying out Aerial Yoga. I’ll admit, I had never heard of it before and probably looked at her dumbfounded when she mentioned it to me. I asked her to repeat what it was called. Twice. 

Once I got home I googled it. It is a thing! I kind of felt stupid that I had never heard of it. I’ve been practicing yoga off and on for several years now.  I started while I was recovering from PTSD, because it’s it’s very healing for the mind, body and spirit.  But I had never taken it to this level. Literally.

Aerial Yoga uses a silk hammock (or swing) that hangs from the ceiling to help support your body as you go into various poses. There’s an eloquence and grace to this type of practice, maybe so not much when I’m doing it since I’m like a bull in a china closet most of the time.  

My friend showed me a few poses to warm up with and get comfortable. Boy, was I awkward at first (which isn’t really new since I seem to be a little awkward in general). Wasn’t quite sure what to do with this fabric dangling in front of me. Do I run and jump on it and go “weeeee,” while I’m flying in the air?  Because that’s what I wanted to do, but I didn’t. I’d save that for another day.

We started out by straddling the fabric and moving our bodies and fabric until we were in a cocoon. Couldn’t see anyone. The only sounds I heard were from our instructor verbally guiding us and the It felt isolating, yet peaceful. As we progressed into more advanced moves & poses, I kept having this sinking feeling in my stomach that I was going to fall on my head and not be able to catch myself, and someone would have to call 911.  

During the second week of classes, I began to relax and feel more comfortable. Even letting out a “weeee!” as I was wrapped up in the hammock swinging, which made our instructor chuckle. Even though it was a level 2 class, we went into some more advanced moves. When our instructor asked if anyone knew what “flipping the bird” meant, I said, “probably not in this context,” which made him laugh. Again.

Flipping the bird was pretty cool. Started out by sitting on the floor, gripping the silk with both hands and pulling my body up and over the silk, doing a back flip and landing with my stomach/hips on the silk. I got it in my first attempt. Although it probably wasn’t very pretty since it felt like my legs were flailing around to kick over. But I did it!   

While I thoroughly enjoyed the Aerial Yoga, I absolutely fell in love with Acro Yoga! It was like cheerleading for adults! But without the pom poms and megaphones.  

The class began with all of us sitting in a circle, which felt like a huddle before a game. We all introduced ourselves and stretched. The stunting started out with bases on the ground, feet in the air. Flyers, pressed their hip bones onto the base’s feet and went flying.  We were quite simply playing airplane, like I did with my nephews, but for the first time ever, I was a flyer. It was so awesome!   

The other stunts grew more complex and challenging. Most of them, I had no idea what I was doing. But the bases and spotters were very gracious and informative, verbally and physically guiding through the moves. Some of the moves where I’d flip upside down felt a little disorienting. Couldn’t tell where I was. I felt like I was underwater and not quite sure of how or where I was positioned. But it was so exhilarating! The biggest adrenaline rush I have ever felt practicing yoga or any other fitness activity, which is perfect for me since I’m such a thrill seeker.  While I get an intense adrenaline rush, I also have to slow down and move into poses with a gentility that does not come natural to me. 

 I had no idea my body was capable of doing the things I’ve been able to do in Acro Yoga. Can’t wait to see what else I can accomplish! There will definitely be more Aerial and Acro Yoga classes in my future!
Namaste y’all! 🙏❤️

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Writing Jersey

After a month of being up here, I started to have the urge to write again. This is a part of me that had been largely dormant for years.   Like a sleeping giant resting and waiting to be awakened. Guess I had an extended period of writers block. 
 I was finally inspired!  

So many new sights and sounds and experiences seem to have restarted, recharged my creative spark!

During the bulk of the 10 year period I spent recovering from PTSD, I wasn’t able to concentrate on reading, much less write and create new work for others to read.

If I did try to write anything creatively, it was stale like day old bread and in bits and pieces like trail mix, except it didn’t mix well or leave a good taste in the mouth.  

Good writing gives the reader something they can bite into, chew on, devour. And everything I was attempting to write was words that I didn’t want to savor. I wanted to spit them out and yell, “Yuck!” And then go brush my teeth so the taste wouldn’t linger.  

Since my writing skills were so rusty that nothing could get them going, not even WD-40 (because I’m from the country and that is how we “fix” everything that duct tape doesn’t work on). 

I googled (because I use Google or Google Map to find everything I don’t know) local writing groups. There were numerous groups, far more than I expected. Sorting through them I found one for creative nonfiction that wasn’t too far away. They were meeting the following day at a public library (which makes it a pretty safe place to meet a group of strangers), so I planned to go.  
Boy, was I scared. A group of complete strangers was intimidating enough. But this was a group of writers! I wasn’t really a writer. I wasn’t actively writing. I have a lot of nerve thinking I’m a writer.  Pfft.

I’ve published a little of my writing. The bulk of it was while I was a Journalism student at Baylor and covering sports for the Baylor Lariat. Since then, I’ve published a few of my old poems online on the Heal My PTSD website and this past spring, my poem, “Doll Face” was printed in a collection.

Nor was I really submitting my work. I was on the brink of having a final draft of a collection of my old poems, “Invisible Veils: Revealing the Destruction of PTSD.”   

 

Getting ready for the meeting took some time and effort to mentally prepare for. And I wasn’t quite sure how writers were supposed to dress. Do I wear business casual? Sporty? Trendy? (Although I’m not really all that trendy these days. I’m more of a minimalist and wear a lot of black so I don’t have to put too much thought into my clothes. So that wasn’t an option.) Leisurely? Was I supposed to wear lace and a long flowing dress since I’d written poetry?

I settled on a pair of skinny jeans and a practical black v-neck, 3-quarter sleeve sweater and some black sandals my niece had given me while I was still in Texas (because she had outgrown them).

I remember walking in that meeting room, holding my breath and fidgeting my right hand. There were 2 men there and they greeted me and were very friendly. More writers started trickling in. Surprisingly, I was early, which is not like me. I like to arrive just in time, but this was a new place to find (and so I find myself having to leave earlier than I’d like to most places I go now).

During introductions, I shared that I was new to Jersey and that my intent by coming to this group was to get back into writing regularly. I wanted to turn the one story (about my recovery from PTSD) I’ve written in the past 10 years into a memoir. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do that at this point. I just knew I wanted to do it.  

I was the first one to share my work since I was new. And for the first time ever, I read outloud my story of recovery, “Disorderly Life: Recovering from PTSD.”
My voice was shaky and cracked a few times. My heart was pounding. I kept my eyes down and focused on the words on the screen on my phone (since that is what I use to type most of my work if I don’t use a computer at the library) because I was too afraid to see anyone’s reaction.  

When I finished reading, the entire group applauded. I was taken aback by this reaction. The writing was raw and terrible. This piece needed a lot of editing. I vaguely remember the comments, not because they weren’t good. Quite the contrary. The feedback was so positive and encouraging. I just couldn’t wrap my head around these writers applauding MY work.  

The most encouraging comment came from a woman who said she could see the chapters unfolding as I read and that my story needed to be written and shared.  
And that is just what I’ve been doing ever since!