Meathook over to drop the tail between your legs, rehook, pass the tail over, big side sit up, oh and BREATHE.
Aerial training requires a LOT of concentration. You are managing many variables at once and doing so correctly is essential to keep you safe. So it is understandable that as we focus hard and engage our muscles, we forget to breathe, or end up breathing poorly as we train.
It may seem daunting, but you really can learn to work with your breath even in something as challenging and complex as aerial arts, and there are many benefits to doing so!
- Enhanced Focus and Concentration: Proper breath control helps you stay present and focused during your training, reducing the risk of anxiety or distraction. I can’t tell you how many times a student has bailed on a skill right as they were about to get it because they panicked. Working with the breath can help us get through fears and focus on using good technique to perform skills.
- Energy Conservation: Efficient breathing allows you to conserve energy, so your body is not working against itself. This way you can train longer and more complex sequences without tiring as quickly.
- Oxygen boost: your body NEEDS oxygen to support your high-energy movements, and fuller, smoother breaths will get you the O2 you need.
- Injury Prevention: Controlled breath can aid in injury prevention by stabilizing your core and helping you maintain proper alignment during movements.
Breathing Tips for Aerialists:
- Diaphragmatic Breathing: Practice deep belly breathing to engage your diaphragm. Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your abdomen to expand, then exhale slowly. You will notice that it is contraction of the core muscles that corresponds with the out breath. Therefore, breathing out while contracting the core allows your muscles to work naturally together and not against each other.
- Sync with Movement: Coordinate your breath with your movements. As a general rule, inhale during preparation and exhale during exertion or core contraction. For example, breathe out while inverting, in at the top of the inversion, and out as you lower back down.
- Practice Off the Apparatus: Use your warmup as a touchstone for your breath practice. Try breathing consistently as you do your floor warmup, and practice exhaling on exertion/core contraction so you get more familiar with the pattern.
- Establish breathwork practices outside of training: Consider practicing diaphragmatic breathing in the morning, midday, anytime you feel stressed, and before bed. This will help make it easier to access your more powerful and effective breathing patterns while training.