I have never been as aware of my body as I am now in my Intensive Flying Workshop. Why? Because I am acutely aware that I could injure myself as I push strength and stamina to their limits, flipping, squatting, and doing splits as I hang from the trapeze. After the 2nd class my arms were sore. This drew my attention to their movement throughout the day, and made me take regular breaks to encourage release of muscles in the arm and torso. As the week progressed my arms were still sore and uncomfortable. I became worried that I had damaged a muscle, tendon, or ligament, and almost decided to skip the next class. But on Thursday (the day before class) I started to feel change in the muscles, and movements, so I went to class and chose to be conservative about what I would do. In class, I was sure to take a break after each flight give my rest and do some gentle movements that I learned in Feldenkrais class in order to remind myself of structure and function. It seemed to work. I managed to learn a new trick, and get caught by the catcher.
This experience has helped me to tune into the more subtle messages from my body that may be signs of overwork or poor movement. The very signs, that if attended to are an opportunity to check-in on movement habits in order to avoid going down a painful path toward injury. Perhaps I have taken my physical well-being somewhat for granted because I have not been injured, although I have experienced pain and discomfort resulting from less than accurate movement. Even though I have moved beyond these discomforts, I cannot stop listening to the messages from the body.
Staying healthy over the coming nine weeks as we fine-tune our flying skills is on my mind, not only when I’m hanging from the trapeze, but through the movements I use each day. I am amazed at how learning to fly on the trapeze has expanded my overall physical awareness. The process of moving through the day is joyful and yet another opportunity to learn and grow.