A couple months ago I was attempting a new trick on the lyra by myself. Before I knew it, I was stuck, spinning really fast, upside down, with my legs tangled all around the spanset. I couldn’t let go of my hands because I knew I would fall. So, before I panicked, I took a deep breath and analyzed the situation. I went slow, stayed calm and focused as tried several variations on how to exit the move. Eventually I did find a way out and back on the floor safely. Instead of freaking out I took a deep breath and applauded myself for my ability to act under pressure. I then got right back on the hoop.
I would never have been able to find a way out without screaming for help, If I didn’t know how to take a deep breath and focus. This was thanks to years of practicing meditation. I can’t recommend mediation enough for aerialists and pole dancers. In a sport where we move really fast, through spins and transitions, and in all different directions. It helps to have a mind that is centered, like a gyroscope.
Just as you would warm up your body before jumping on the pole or hoop, it is important to warm up your mind; Prepare for it to withstand the pressure of aerial.
Meditation is a practice. It can take years before you finally are able to sit comfortably and not be consumed by thoughts, so don’t be discouraged. Give yourself time. For this meditation you will be utilizing a mantra, or a motivating chant. Your mantra can be whatever you need to hear. Mantras are great for new mediators because the mind has one thought to focus on, rather than being completely empty. It is your minds job to think. Don’t judge or get frustrated if other thoughts pop up. Meditation is not so much about controlling the mind, as it is about providing space and time to free the mind of daily stress and distraction.
Remember your meditation is about YOU.
Find a comfortable position, either lying down, sitting upright, or even in your apparatus.
Close the eyes; Or maintain a soft focus on a particular spot(s) on the wall.
Take a few deep breaths, just to settle in.
Inhale for 3-4 counts. Exhale for 4-5 counts, or longer.
Start to notice any thoughts, positive or negative.
If your thoughts are more negative just take a note of them and push them out on the exhale.
If thoughts refuse to leave, or keep coming back, just keep breathing. They will leave when they’re ready.
Once you feel comfortable with most of your thoughts aside, start to feel how your sitting.
Feel the body.
What’s going on?
Is there any discomfort?
Are you floating or spinning?
Are you gripping an apparatus or tensing a muscle?
Just as you remove negative thoughts from the mind, remove any physical tension from the body using the exhale.
Know that you are safe, sturdy, and grounded; Even in the apparatus.
Start to feel the apparatus or the ground underneath you.
Feel how it supports you.
Start to sit a little taller, lengthening the spine towards the sky, and rooting down through the sits bones.
Take a few moments just to breath and feel.
Once you are at ease in your position, you can add a mantra.
Start to think to yourself:
“I am strong”, or
“I am powerful”, or
“I am balanced”, or
“I am grounded”
What do you need to tell yourself in this moment?
How the apparatus make you feel?
If you feel wobbly, use “I am balanced”
If you feel weak, use “I am strong”
Or you may use all the mantras until you find the right fit.
Repeat your mantra as much as you’d like.
Maybe after a few repetitions, the mantra disappears and the mind is quiet, but don’t force it.
When your ready to come out your meditation, tell yourself that you are ready for class, or for your day, or to master a trick.
Start to gently wiggle the fingers and toes.
Maybe build up to some larger movement.
Eventually, take a deep breath and open your eyes.