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The REAL V-Day – Taking Care of Your Lady Bits in Aerial Circus

Baby Janes Quad trapYour Furry Fun Patch and the Aerial World: A Primer

If you’ve ever gotten (ahem) really, really close to your apparatus (“that fabric owes me dinner!”), or encountered a surprise steel bar where you’re pretty sure it ought not be, today’s post will be near and dear to your… heart. Also? Let’s see how many euphemisms we can come up with for lady parts!

First, circus has nothing on 50 Shades of Gray. I can attest to being 50 shades of purple, blue, red, and yellow, and I didn’t even get a private helicopter out of the deal. Those bruises, abrasions, and ouchies aren’t limited to polite places like arms and legs – oh no. Your dewy nether-regions are fair game! So, let’s dive face-first into the wonderful world of Aerial Gynecology!

What Could Go Wrong?

Circus means doing some crazy sh*t with some wild apparatus. A number of moves will involve fabric, rope, or a metal bar sitting veeeery close to your passion purse. These sensitive membranes should be treated with an extra helping of respect and protection! This list is by no means exhaustive, but here are a few things you may encounter on a semi-regular basis. Unless you want to totally ruin your weekend, it helps to be prepared.

  • Labial abrasions – if you’ve ever had one, you neeeeeever want another! A labial abrasion is a small abrasion, sore, burn, or scratch on the outer labia caused by friction or tugging by the apparatus. This can be outside on the furry bits, or (way worse) inside on the mucous membrane. (** Not labial, but I’m lumping it in here anyway: a common spot for small skin fissures or abrasions is right at the top of your butt crack. See atomic wedgie below.)
  • Bruising/soreness on the vulva or inner thighs – exactly what it sounds like.
  • Yeast infections – you + sweaty leotard for several hours a day = Monistat
  • Bladder infections – nope nope nope. Just so unpleasant.
  • Atomic wedgies – these are often hilarious for your classmates, but not so fun for you. Especially if you get an abrasion or soreness from it.

 

General Care and Protection of Your Twinkle

To keep your hoo-hoo happy (that one’s for you, Bobby Hedglin), keep the following in mind.

  1. Exercise an extra bit of care when positioning apparatus near your intimate folds. There’s a sweet spot (no, not that one) you want to aim for between the vulva and the inner thigh, which accommodates many moves. You can also squeeze your butt cheeks nice and tight to create a natural “no-go zone” of protection against atomic wedgies.
  2. Coconut oil or another unscented, very plain oil can be really useful in easing the discomfort of skin splits or abrasions. Remember – no scented stuff near your delicate flower.
  3. If you’re prone to yeast infections, you have a lot of options. First, get it diagnosed and treated STAT. For prevention, what works for one woman may not work for another. Hit the basics, like making sure your under-britches are 100% cotton, and that you’re not hanging out in a sweaty crotch situation a minute longer than necessary – even if that means changing training clothes mid-day. If that doesn’t work, have a look at your diet (google anti-candida diet), your birth control (certain pills, spermicides, and lube can upset the balance of flora or pH in the vagina), and your partner (especially if he’s uncircumcised, he may be passing candida back to you). Ain’t yeast a party?
  4. Don’t douche or spray it with stuff – you will make your love canyon unhappy. It’s self cleaning, and an irritated pleasure garden doesn’t mix well with aerial work (or anything else, for that matter).
  5. If you find yourself getting fun vaginal or bladder infections frequently, your first order of business is to ditch your bacterial super-highway thong. I don’t love thongs for day-to-day aerial work (give to me ALL the granny panties!!!!). That said, if you love ’em, go nutz! But if infections set in, it’s a place to start.
  6. Don’t wax on aerial day. Your first full Brazilian should not correspond with your first lyra class.

 

In closing, do everything you can to keep your snatch sassy and happy. Have a GREAT Valentine’s Day, and I love love love you guys!!!!! Love and pull-ups, Laura

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.

 

Are You Ready To Go Pro?

Hello, Dear Danglers! This week I have such a treat for you – the FABULOUS Allison Williams! Enjoy!


 Are You Ready to Go Pro?

GripIt finally happened. Someone clicked the contact button on your brand-new website and asked you to come perform at their event. This is it—the big time. Your teacher has finally said, “Yeah, that act is ready to perform.” You’ve joined some Facebook groups that talk about professional practices; you’re up to date on Laura’s blog. And you’ve noticed, Hey! Professional rates are pretty high! I’m gonna make bank! Or at least finally pay myself back for the thousands of dollars I’ve spent on training…

Whoa, Sparkle-Party! Don’t throw that triple yet!

It’s true, there’s a substantial push in the aerial “industry” for charging appropriate professional fees. Being aware of the going price, not undercutting your fellow performers, and being willing to say to a client, “That’s what aerial entertainment costs. I’m sorry you can’t afford me.”

But are you ready to be in that price range? Are you, in fact, a professional? Find out with this simple quiz!

TRUE or FALSE?

  • You know the market rate for different types of event, and you’re comfortable asking for it. You can assess the non-cash value of certain performing situations.
  • You own your own equipment and rigging. If you offer a particular act, you own all necessary equipment to execute that act.
  • You are comfortable rigging in a variety of situations (ceiling points, exposed beams, freestanding rigs). Even if you don’t rig your own equipment, you are able to judge whether a rigging situation is safe.
  • You can adapt your act to a variety of heights, moods, themes and performance lengths. You know when to say, “Sorry, that act won’t fit, I’m out.” Or, “Sorry, that act won’t fit, how about this other act?” Or, “I don’t do that act, but Cindy-Lou does, why don’t I put you in touch with her?”
  • You can guard your own safety at the event by being kind but firm about what un-contracted extras you are willing/not willing to do. You are flexible and try to give the client value for money. You will sometimes do un-contracted extras that are safe and a minimum of hassle, or in exchange for something else that was contracted.
  • You don’t ask if your friends can come to the event.
  • You own costumes suitable for varying levels of formality, and can adapt to many themes or color schemes. You have a list of your measurements that can be provided by hitting ‘reply’ when the costume person asks for your measurements, rather than four days later after you go buy a tape measure.
  • You own necessary accessories/consumables like rosin, tape, dance belt, theatrical makeup, hairspray, and clean, modest, whole cover-up/warm-up clothing.
  • You have a hairstyle that works with your costume, the theme and the act, and you can do your hair in the time allotted. You have a makeup look that suits your act, is visible from the audience, and stays put.
  • Your warm-up adapts to the available space and cleanliness of the warm-up area.
  • You know not to hand your own card to the client and you know why. You know not to talk to the client unless you are there alone or you are the designated person who talks to the client.
  • You have a short, “agent-friendly” (no contact info) video clip when someone needs to show you to the client before booking or for performer approval. In the clip, you are wearing a costume and performing a routine.

 

BONUS: You are able to smile at the client and say “of course!” when they ask if you “do that thing where you wrap up and come down real fast.”

11-12 TRUE: Congratulations, you’re ready to ask for professional rates in exchange for your professional-caliber performance!

Less than 11: Sorry, you still have some things to learn!

 

The good news: these aren’t difficult to learn. If you’re not ready yet, start putting in the time. Ask professional performers if you can come to a gig as a stage manager or gofer, be genuinely useful, and watch how they work. Ask your school for performance opportunities where you can go as an intern or junior performer, and work on someone else’s equipment and wear someone else’s costume while you learn how to do the job. If you’re young enough to work for crap pay, apply for an official internship.

Start saving up for costumes and equipment. Take a rigging workshop. Practice makeup in the mirror (that’s the fun one!). Next time you’re in a student show, make sure you get good video from a couple of angles. Ask your teachers about their most recent performances. Role-play responding to client requests, reasonable and unreasonable (it doesn’t feel dumb when you do it in the car).

Most of all, be brave about being ignorant. If you see something you don’t understand, ask (privately, politely, and after the gig). Read online discussions. Listen more than you talk. Be humble. Be helpful. We—your fellow aerialists—want you to learn these things. We want you to be professional. It makes us all look better.

Allison Williams is the Artistic Director of Aerial Angels. (www.angelsintheair.com)

 

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.

 

The Sound of… Silence? What Can You do About Aerial Queefing?

Ghetto StrapsOh yes, I absolutely am going there.

A lovely Dear Dangler recently sent me this query, and I wanted to throw this out to you, Hive Mind.


Queef: noun: an expulsion of air through the vagina.


 

“I am stressed and embarrassed about doing straddle inverts, as well as other general invert moves.

The problem is that with the damage from my pregnancy when I invert my organs move down towards my head causing a vacuum and sucking in air, caused the dreaded queef.

I love silks, it is my joy at the moment but I was so mortified the first time it happened.  I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but I am constantly stressed about it. 

Do you have any recommendations to help solve the problem???”

 

Pre-pregnancy, when I would base trapeze, sometimes this would happen to me (we called me “Queen La-Queefia, and joked that I could propel our roll-around-the-bars with the force of them). It tended to happen when we were returning to trapeze after a short hiatus, so I suspect I was allowing my pelvic floor muscles to to relax a bit.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom for this quizzical queefer? It’s awful when something like this stands in the way of something you love. OK, Hive Mind! GO!!!! If you have any thoughts or recommendations, please leave them in the comments below! Love and pull-ups, Laura

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.

 

Last-Minute Gifts for Your Favorite (Nicely Naughty) Aerialist!

Stayin' tight with the Baby Janes! Photo by Kenneth Feldman, www.pfdigital.com

Stayin’ tight with the Baby Janes! Photo by Kenneth Feldman, www.pfdigital.com

Ho ho ho! A deliciously sassy seasonal greeting to you all! Just in case you’re like me, and have left every bit of your holiday shopping until Christmas Eve, here are my top-pick last minute gifts for your favorite aerialist! Enjoy!!! Love and pull-ups, Laura

  1. Gift certificates for circus classes!!!! (shameless self promotion) In the spirit of giving more experiences and LESS CLUTTER, I am a huge champion of gifts that encourage sassiness and bad-assery.
  2. Streaming circus stretch videos! Fit & Bendy has come out with two great stretch videos (streaming, or streaming + DVD). “Get Bent” and “Bendy Body” – check ’em out!
  3. Dyna-Flex! This funky little contraption strengthens grip, and shores up stabilizing muscles in the wrist, elbow, and shoulder. I love mine!!!
  4. Thera-bands Plus Door Anchor! Do your conditioning anywhere – perfect for the aerialista on the go.
  5. Rock rosin! I sew pretty little baggie-covers for mine. If you’re handy with a sewing machine, it’s a fun way to add a personal touch.
  6. Kettle of Magick’s Muscle Salve! Made by an aerialist for aerialists. I can’t wait to try it!!
  7. Massage or acupuncture certificates! Check around for recommendations in your area.
  8. Etsy handmade aerial goodness! Everything from necklaces to aerial prints, you also support artisans and craft-makers.

 

Happy shopping!!! 🙂

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.

 

Why I Think You Should Absolutely Perform for Free

Chris Delgado & I bust a move at the Big Sky Works Holiday Show last year!

Chris Delgado & I bust a move at the Big Sky Works Holiday Show last year!

Hello Dear Danglers! The holiday season is upon us!!!! The mistletoe is hung on your trapeze, those cranberry bar thingies are back at Starbucks, and people are lining up to jingle our bells – it’s a festive time of year. It’s a season of generosity and giving, so I thought it might be a great time to talk about something near and dear to my heart: performing for free, and why I think you should absolutely do it…

Perform for Free

… when appropriate. Now, you’ve heard me rant and rave about not performing for free – what gives? Well, you do! You give your time and talents to a worthy cause! In this case, the “cause” I want to chat about is our circus spaces. Most studios have showcases several times a year, and this is a FAN-FREAKIN’-TASTIC time to donate your performance time. Consider:

    • Aerial studios aren’t rakin’ it in hand over fist. In fact, many are barely squeaking by here in NYC. Insurance costs just to open the door are astronomical, plus rent, plus equipment, plus marketing, plus admin, plus instructors…. you get the picture. These showcases allow them to get ahead just a tiny bit (or, for some, allow them to make the rent that month).
    • Giving back is important. Sure, we pay for space in these studios, so it’s not like we’re not giving. But this is special! This is support with your whole body and heart. It means something!
    • These showcases are the PERFECT time to trot out a new work-in-progress to see how it will play in front of real people, or a chance to do something silly or experimental that no one in their right mind would pay you for. I have to be Serious Snowflake or Enigmatic Elf all blessed season, so it’s a real treat to throw on something ridiculous and dust off the old acro act for a night!
    • When you do a showcase, you’re a part of a community that is fluid and always growing. Welcome newcomers, and say hi to old friends you never get to see! It’s also an awesome time for friends and family to come see what you’re dangling from these days.
    • Aspiring professionals NEED performance time, and this is the perfect way to get it! You can hone your circus and performance skills in a supportive, low-risk environment. Bonus? You need photos and video for your demo reel, and this is an easy way to get some great footage.
    • Not ready to perform? Buy tickets and show your support from the audience!

 

No, my head is not where you think it is. OK, it is, but it's not like that. OK. Glad we had this conversation.

No, my head is not where you think it is. OK, it is, but it’s not like that. OK. Glad we had this conversation.

Ask around! Find out when the studios in your area are putting shows together and GET IN THERE!!!! If nobody is doing showcases, organize one your own durned self! This is a time when you should absolutely, positively work for free (though I always find I’m compensated generously by having awesome places to train). Love and pull-ups, Laura

CLICK HERE to support The Muse in NYC! Move the Muse! 

 

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.

 

“Grazing the Sky” – CIRCUS FILM!!!

Happy Thanksgiving, Dear Danglers! I’m still in a turkey coma, so please enjoy this quick blurb about a CIRCUS FILM that’s coming our way! Watch for it – I can’t wait!!! (** before you ask, no, I had absolutely nothing to do with this film – I just wanted to get the word out!)

“Grazing the Sky”

Grazing the Sky (2013) Poster“Grazing the Sky” takes a revealing look at the incredible physical exploits of circus acrobats, and finds compelling stories of men and women confronting adversity – including the real risk of severe, debilitating injury. The price of life in the limelight includes years of study and practice, an iron discipline, an ongoing commitment to learning new skills, and constant travel far from home.

Director Horacio Alcalá follows eight different acrobats from all over the world, intercutting interviews with artfully staged footage of his subjects performing breathtaking feats with poise and grace.

Horacio Alcalá, who has been involved with the circus arts for seven years, including with Cirque du Soleil, travelled to 11 different countries over the course of five years to capture these stories. He finds a new reality where aspiring circus performers can learn their craft in specialized schools rather than through family apprenticeships. The trapeze becomes a metaphor for life ambitions, given contrast and poignancy by the ever-present risk of a fall.

Cinema on Demand info – http://gathr.us/films/grazing-the-sky 

 

GRAZING THE SKY Trailer www.grazingthesky.com from Camara Boreal on Vimeo.

ACL Tears and Other Injuries: Guest Blogger Chriselle Tidrick!!!

Chriselle Tidrick, Above and Beyond Dance

Hello Dear Danglers! This week, I bring to you……. A GUEST BLOGGER!!! The amazing Chriselle Tidrick from Above and Beyond Dance recently shared her ACL rehab story with a reader, and generously allowed me to reprint it here. If you’ve torn your ACL, or have another serious injury, I hope her words inspire you to keep going, heal up, and be smart about it! I’ve seen her work recently, and you would never believe she’d ever had an injury. She was incredibly diligent in her PT, and made healing her second job. I love how she doesn’t sugar-coat it! Love and pull-ups, Laura

I unfortunately, do have a lot of experience with knee injuries.  I tore my ACL in 2012, and I hate to say but it’s a very challenging injury to deal with.  You can certainly get through this and return to a full performance life.  (Thankfully, I have.)  But, it takes a lot of time and a lot of work.
 
In terms of the injury itself, let me share a few things which you may already know, but which I wish I understood more fully when I tore my ACL.  Every orthopedist has a slightly different method of bringing you back after ACL surgery.  I happened to have a very conservative orthopedist.  The drag of this choice is that it took me longer than many others to make a full recovery.  The good thing is that he was really making an effort to protect me from re-tearing the ACL.  My understanding is that if you re-tear the ACL, your chances for making a full recovery are significantly diminished.  Like you, I asked very early in the process how soon I could expect to return to aerial.  My doctor recounted a horrifying story about how one of his patients returned to aerial too soon and completely ripped out his surgery.  Needless to say, this kept me from pushing too far too fast.  For me, it was a little over a year before I was back to training, and even then, it was a gradual process of strengthening and rebuilding my comfort level in the apparatus. (My knee is much more sensitive to torque than it used to be.)  For a long time, I had to switch to doing a lot of elements on my non-surgery side (which is also my non-dominant side).  That said, I understand it makes a difference whether you opt for an autograft or an allograft.  If you have an autograft (the doctor uses your own tissue– usually hamstring or patellar tendon), I understand that the healing time is shorter than for an allograft (donor graft).  I opted for an allograft because I had a previous injury on the leg with the ACL tear, and I didn’t want to further compromise that leg.
 
Right after surgery, you are going to spend a lot of time on a knee machine which takes your knee passively through range of motion.  I think I was on that thing for something like 6 hours a day.  If your orthopedist functions like mine, it will be a week or so before you start PT.  You will be shocked to discover how quickly your leg muscles atrophy.  Your early PT exercises will be very gentle and very simple, and you will very gradually build up to more full movement.  Once I was able, I spent about 2 hours a day, 5-6 days a week doing my PT exercises.  I quickly discovered that my desire to keep my aerial muscles in shape was supplanted by a desire to get my knee functioning properly, and my time and energy was mainly directed to doing as much PT as my body could handle.  I could carefully do chin-ups, chin holds and shoulder shrugs, and I used a rope pulling machine at the gym, but I really opted to keep my focus on the knee rehab.  As soon as my knee was stable enough, I did spend a lot of time also doing floor barre and Pilates.  Since you have a doorway bar, you can probably add in L holds pretty early on, but just be careful not to stress out your hip flexors too much.  They’ll be pretty stressed from schlepping around on crutches!
 
I am sure this doesn’t apply to you, if you are already asking about aerial training. It sounds like you are the kind of person who will regularly do her PT.  But, honestly, for anyone not serious about keeping up with PT, I’d seriously consider living life with a brace and not doing the surgery.  Granted, this choice means you will never be able to return to aerial training, but if you don’t do your PT you won’t be able to go back to it, either…
 
Let me also stress that it’s important to work with PTs accustomed to dealing with dancers/athletes as you go through this process.  Our rehab needs are different from people who have more sedentary jobs, and you will definitely need guidance about what is or is not safe for your knee as you return to training.  I was lucky that one of the 2 PTs I worked with at Harkness Center for Dance Injuries does aerial training.  She really walked me through my return to aerial.  Her suggestion to me was that I start with static trap/lyra and then progress into fabric.  I will say that there are definitely more positions involving uncomfortable torque in aerial fabric, so you’ll want to be really careful (go slowly!) as you explore those.  I am sure your PTs will tell you this, but hamstring strength is key as you return to aerial.
 
What can I tell you about coming back to aerial after being away for so many months?  Well, it was such a gradual process that, even though I was weak, I could gradually add in more and more strengthening activities at a pace that basically matched the kinds of skills I was allowed to do.  For conditioning, I mostly worked shoulder shrugs, chin holds, chin ups, inversions (bent arm and straight arm), and I did a lot of Pilates.  The hardest thing was rebuilding my endurance once my knee was strong enough to execute choreographic sequences, but that came back too, as it certainly will for you.  I am sorry to tell you that this will be a really slow, annoying and frustrating process, but everything really will come back.  At this point, I am as strong as ever and enjoying having a full performing life as a dancer, aerialist and stilt dancer.  
 
Wishing you a smooth recovery process.  Believe me, I feel your pain! – Chriselle 

 
 

 

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.

 

The Sometimes Student: Why Consistency Counts

Laura & Angela's Halloween show fun!

Laura & Angela’s Halloween show fun!

Are you happy with your aerial ninja progression? Seeing small but consistent gains in strength, stamina, and awesomeness? No? Hmmmmm. Are you perhaps sabotaging your success by popping in and out of training like a jack-in-the-box on steroids?

The Sometimes Student

If you train long enough, you will have to take a break, either because of life circumstances, finances, injury, pregnancy, the list goes on and on. It always cracks me up just a little when students come back after a hiatus and say, “Miss Laura! I’ve lost so much (fill in the blank – strength, stamina, hair, etc.)!” Of course you have, stop looking so shocked! If you don’t use it, you lose it. BOOM (that was the sound of some tough love being dropped). The remedy is simple – get your butt back to class and regain your Sassy Status – you’ve got this, and it is 100% doable. But, what about the Sometimes Student?

The Sometimes Student comes to class religiously for a few weeks or months, then drops off the face of the earth for a while. When they return, it’s all, “I’m going to be in class every day for the next six weeks! I can’t believe that I lost my invert! I’m going to train so hard!” Then, after a few weeks of training, ……. crickets. Aaaaaaaaand the cycle starts all over again.

A Fancy Quiz for You to Take – “Am I Consistent?”

  1. T/F  I do not stretch for weeks on end, then I have two hour marathon stretching sessions because I realized I lost my split and now I can’t walk because I overdid it and I’m fairly sure I tore my hammy.
  2. T/F  I haven’t done pull-ups in months, but I’m going to go do 100 of them as soon as I finish reading this post because I feel guilty. I will then be very sore and cancel my aerial class because OW.

It’s a short quiz. You know if this is you. 😉

Why Consistency Counts

If you’re swinging from the rafters solely for the sweet release of it all, or to torture your muscles in unconventional ways, then you won’t feel the Sting of Stuck-ness as keenly as someone who is really aiming to see meaningful progression. So, how do you get to a meaningful progression? Time and effort. There are truly no substitutes for just showing up and doing the work.

(** If you ARE coming to class regularly but not seeing the results you’d like, click here!)

We are an Instant Results culture. We want All The Things Right Now This Very Instant, and if I have to work for it, there must be something wrong with me, you, or it (confession: I fall prey to this, too – all the time). We want our internet fast, our weight loss fast, our food fast. But, circus training is kind of the slow food movement of the physical world. Muscles take time to grow, bodies take time to stretch, neurons take time to wire together to create amazing new patterns. Fast just won’t work here.

Sometimes, breaks are unavoidable. Sometimes, breaks are great and can actually push your training to the next level! But, if you’re not training consistently in the air, don’t be surprised when your results are wobbly. Consistency counts, friends! Do everything in your power to just show up. Love and pull-ups, Laura
 

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.

 

Move the Muse – Help!!!!

Hey friends! If you live and train in NYC, or even if you’ve come to visit and dangle, chances are good that you’ve visited The Muse – an awesome, friendly, and affordable circus training space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Thanks to the gentrification of the neighborhood, small businesses are being forced out of their homes to make way for condos, high-rises, and corporate dollars.

The Muse lost it’s lease, and will be (temporarily, I hope!) closing it’s doors at the end of the year. Here’s where we come in. The Muse needs to raise $60K to transform an old warehouse into a new training space, and it’s up to US to make it happen!

Why Should I Care?

Because circus matters. Affordable training space matters. Community matters.

Think for a moment about how circus has changed your life. See? It matters.

We can’t wait for someone else to do it. If we pass the buck now, we don’t get to bitch when space is $40 per hour in NYC. We don’t get to whine about the lack of community, or how there are no training spaces in one of the arts capitals of the USA. The responsibility lies solely with us. BUT, HOORAY! That means we have the power to make this happen!!! We have the power to put our dollars towards something that is personal and meaningful! We are investing in our future as artists, as a community, and as the people we want to be.

Don’t wait. Do it now. Every bit counts, and every cent matters.

Invest in your future!!!


 
 

Click here to contribute! Do it now! 🙂

Postpartum Aerial Training Part 2 – Managing Expectations in the Air

For Part 1, Click Here! 

So, you’re no longer peeing your pants, your bits and pieces have mostly recovered, and you’ve gotten the green light to return to exercise from your midwife or OB. Fabulous! This is the moment you’ve been dreaming about! You’re going to soar! You’re going to twirl! You’re going to…. honestly? Cry. Or scream. Or both.

The First Weeks and Months of Training

Not inverting effortlessly (or at all) the first weeks back in the studio? Yep – me neither. But, before you hyperventilate, here are some things to internalize.

  • your ab muscles were just stretched waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out – it takes TIME for them to shrink back down to a place where they can work meaningfully.
  • how quickly you bounce back depends a lot on how easy things were before you got knocked up. Were inversions a struggle then? Easy peasy? How strong were those muscles before you took time off and stretched your abs over a baby the size of a watermelon?
  • you’re sleep deprived, and please believe me when I say that no one is at their strongest when they’ve been up every two hours with an infant. Even if you’re co-sleeping and breastfeeding lying down, or bottle feeding with your partner taking every other shift, you’re still tired. F-ing tired.
  • hormooooooooooooooooooooooooooones! Whoa Nelly, nobody talks about the hormones! Especially if you’re breastfeeding, you are a hormonal soup. You may be extremely emotional, or even still a bit depressed. Some hormones relax everything  – including your joints – and that affects how training feels. You may also struggle emotionally if training differs from what you’d envisioned.
  • did you bring the baby with you to training? Understand that a) everyone will want to see the behbeh and talk to you, and b) babies are not the best at letting you get stuff done. If you find that you can’t meaningfully train with the baby in tow, see if you can tank ’em up and have someone watch the little cherub for an hour. I know it feels like they won’t possibly survive the hour without you, but taking a bit of time for yourself sets a very necessary precedent – you are a person with needs too. Sometimes that gets lost in the shuffle. You’ll return renewed, happy, and enthusiastic, and that’s good for everyone!

 

Strategies for Getting Back in the Air

  • Time. Time time time. Breathe. There is nothing wrong with you. Your abs are shrinking on their own time.
  • Chat with your caregiver about diastisis recti. If you have a separation, you’ll need to be proactive in dealing with it. Click here for a great resource. 
  • Listen to your body, and pay very close attention to what it needs. Now is not the time to deal with where you THINK you ought to be, it’s a time to see where you are and trust that everything is coming together in it’s own time.
  • Record your progress – it may not be as slow as you think!
  • Exercise is good for you, which is good for the bebe! Negotiate with a partner, friend, or babysitter so that you get daily time to move your body.

 

All in all, it will take some time before you feel like yourself again (it took 6 months for me). It will happen, but not as quickly as you might like. Be gentle with yourself, mama! If other moms look like they have it all together, repeat after me: it’s an illusion. Check their purse – I’ll bet there’s a poopy diaper in it. 😉 Love and pull-ups, Laura

 

As always, if you like this post, share it on your blog, the F-books, Twitter, and wherever else you crazy kids are sharing things these days.