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Learning To Spin Without Tossing Your Cookies

ImaginAerial Duo Lyra

ImaginAerial Duo Lyra

I’ve done my share of spinny acts, most often with a bucket offstage in case of “too much of a good thing”. Love web, lyra, single point trap, and other spinning apparatus, but afraid of the up-chuck factor? You should be, it’s very real. Here’s how to get off to a good start, and keep your cookies where they ought to be!
First, some fun info about why we throw up when we get too dizzy. A doctor I met a few years ago in a trapeze workshop had an interesting answer: poison. Apparently, a number of poisons make your head spin and disrupt your orientation, so your body’s natural response is “Aw, hell no! Get that OUT of here!!!” And there you have it – you cast up your accounts and live to see another day. Whether that’s true or not, it can be a real drag to have to sit out half your aerial class with your head between your knees. So here are some things that may help:
  • ginger (my personal fave is the Trader Joe’s crystalized stuff). Eat a bit before class and see what happens!
  • experiment with closing your eyes. This makes me more nauseated, but I know some aerialists who swear by it!
  • fix your eyes on your apparatus. Don’t try to spot the way you would in dance, you’ll look like you’re having a seizure. Just focus on your hoop or rope.
  • If focusing doesn’t help, try this! Blur your focus as much as you can (this one works well for me).
  • start slow and keep at it. The more you spin, the greater your body’s ability to acclimate – don’t give up! Be persistant and think of the pounds you will have lost in a few weeks!


Bottom line? Rome wasn’t built in a day. Spinning the way we do simply isn’t natural, and your body will let you know in a dramatic fashion! You can and will get used to it – just keep a bag handy while you learn. If you’re a spinning apparatus enthusiast, what works for you? Post it in the comments below!  Love and pull-ups, Laura


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24 comments on “Learning To Spin Without Tossing Your Cookies”

  1. Sy Reply

    Love this post! I’m a single-point trapeze artist and spinning endurance is a major part of my job description. To corroborate: it may feel like you will NEVER stop being nauseated but it does get better and it can disappear completely- even for the most sensitive. Once you achieve optimal spinning endurance, keeping some spinning in your regular training regimen is crucial. A long break from it can make you have to start all over (booooo!). Any and all ginger products are good during you acclimation period: Chinese ginger candy, ginger tea, ginger capsules, and yay, crystallized ginger! If you hate ginger ( *cough* weirdo)- strong peppermint tea is a good second.

    • Lewitwer Reply

      Awesome, Sy!!! Ugh yes – every time we take a break from spinning, it’s like starting from square one (though it does seem to take much less time to re-acclimate). Great info – thank you!!!

  2. Steph Reply

    I used those Sea-Bands things- the acupressure wristbands that help with motion sickness. You can get them at any average pharmacy (CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, whatevs) and they really do help. I used them AND ginger to get through a rough patch and i felt sick afterwards, but not nearly as bad and the feeling went away a lot faster.

    Though the Mythbusters also proved that a Placebo is just as effective for motion sickness… Maybe it is a placebo effect, what do i care! It works!

  3. Tucci Reply

    Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water-as always-but especially before spinning. Avoid coffee and black tea before spinning.
    I find the less caffeinated I am in general and more hydrated the better the spinning!

  4. @CircusofHumaniT Reply

    We have a joke in my class about ginger and spinning. If we know we’re spinning the question is “Did you bring the ginger?” Being a “ginger” you’d think I’d be immune to the nausea but I’m a spinning wuss in my “old age”. Maybe I haven’t given it a fair chance. I can’t stand feeling sick. So, thanks for these creative suggestions. I plan to try them and share with my girls.

    • Lewitwer Reply

      It’s interesting – there seem to be “spinny people” who love to spin, and folks like myself who will take great pains to avoid it whenever possible. I just know to give myself a really long rehearsal period for a spinning piece to reduce the likelihood of an Unfortunate Incident. If I were smart, I would keep training the spinning after the gig, but alas – I always let it go.

  5. Fallon Reply

    In addition to everything you mentioned, I found a homeopathic that works great if you take it before you start spinning. It’s called Cocculus Indicus. You can get it at Whole Foods and the natural section of some other grocery stores for about $6. 🙂

    • Lewitwer Reply

      I love this tip, Fallon! I’ve never tried it – off to Whole Foods! So helpful!

  6. Lauren Reply

    I just got back from my class and I am dizzy! The good news is last week I actually got sick from spinning around the lyra but this week I seem to have gotten used to it more. I will be sure to stock up on ginger next week Laura. Thanks for the great tips as always!

    • Lewitwer Reply

      Go Lauren go!!!! 🙂 Isn’t it amazing what your body will adjust to? Enjoy that ginger – hope it works! 🙂

  7. Genet Klasek Reply

    So I just went to my first silks class this past Monday. Knowing fully that I have motion sickness and being stubborn I tried anyway. Needless to say I spent have the class in the loo. I was thinking of trying dramamine as that works on the plane. Does Cocculus Indicus work similarly?

  8. Fallon Reply

    Genet- I would say it’s the homeopathic version of dramamine. When I was training, I wasn’t allowed to use dramamine and I now strongly discourage my students from taking it because it can make you drowsy, dizzy or have blurred vision, none of which are good when you are doing aerial! But I have found that cocculus indicus works well for me without any of those nasty side effects. They also have different homeopathics, talk to your Whole foods employee, they’ll narrow it down to the best one for you!

  9. Genet Klasek Reply

    I seriously even get queezy while on the swings 😉 I don’t give up easily, I will try it out. Thank you!!!

  10. Ria Reply

    Can anyone give me tips on how to control the spin on an aerial hoop, i always seem to end up with my back to the camera, unable to twist myself round….extended hocks splits doesn’t look great when all the audience gets is crotch!!!! any help would be awesome!! my first shows coming up in july and I’m dead worried about it!!!

  11. Kendrick Reply

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with
    the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?

    Thank you!

    • Lewitwer Reply

      Hi Kendrick! Check the bottom of the email – there is a link to modify your subscriber settings. Hope that helps!

  12. Emma Petkovic Reply

    I heard a similar story to the poisoning thing about feeling nauseous from spinning or motion sickness. It was a scientist talking on BBC Radio 4. He said that motion sickness is caused by an evolutionary hangover in the brain & that yes, your body thinks you have been poisoned so makes you try to be sick! To get rid of the “poison”. Basically when we were cavemen & cave women we didn’t have cars or trains, & we probably didn’t have aerial hoop either! So when the early human brain was evolving it never experienced fast speeds like this. So now when we do go really fast or spin really fast your brain doesn’t know what’s going on, what that sensation is & it decides for you “I must have been poisoned. I need to be sick to get rid of the poison” it’s our brains’ tricking us!

  13. Chris Hendrickx Reply

    My secret weapon? ZOFRAN! Prescription anti-nausea drug used most commonly for chemo patients. 8mg for me and I can spin for hours. Granted, might not be the easiest way to fix this, but since I have some medical history that warrants having it on hand, it’s the best thing ever.

    • Chrissy Reply

      Hey, I have Zofran! Fantastic! I’ve been trying to waltz into a spin with my dance trapeze and it’s been making me super queazy. Zofran is happening.

  14. Heidi Reply

    I’ve heard it’s a place in your inner ear which is liquacious when you are young, which is why kids love to spin. As you age it solidifies and you are more prone to motion sickness. I was always a carsick kid. After training Spanish web and single point trap I can now look at my phone for an hour in the back of a minivan. I’ve liquidated my inner ear! It’s great. But when I started I literally had to lay down, close my eyes and pass out every time after spinning, even if only for a few minutes. Train it, train it, train it.

  15. Francis Reply

    I made my own metod, I love spinning and made a swivel spinner at my cealing so I can spin when I want, I traind it every day so my body get used to it. Now I can spin 4 or 5 rps and not dizzy at al. I think indeed training is the thing to do just spin alot.
    If you want to no how to make a spinny let me no , its great to do, keep spinning !

  16. Jen MacQueen Reply

    Haha just found this post! I am a cyr wheel artist in Georgia and I teach cyr wheel to young people, and the dizzies are a DEFINITE thing. We train it out of ourselves. The method that worked for me (and for many others) is you spin for time…start with one minute, then 1:15, 1:30, etc. Once you can spin for 5 minutes with no effects, then you start changing your focus of your head…look right for 8 rotations, then left, then up, then down. Then start repetitions in 4 rotations, then 2, then eventually every half rotation gets a focus change. We also pop through the wheel to the other side and look up…that one was hard for me to not feel haha! Once we get through this whole progression, we find we can do almost anything without feeling it.
    Of course, cyr wheel performers only spin one direction. I sat on a lyra and spun the other direction once…just the once. After 2 rotations, i had to get off and put my head down, lol! Sigh…

    • Francis Reply

      Cyr wheel is interesting also, how you train the spinnings when you spin 5 minutes on the cyrwheel ? I spin just on my swivel bar for a few minutes every day I can spin now as long as I want.

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