Bust the Winter Workout Blues with Learning2Fly

Learning2Fly aerial fitness studio in Mission, Kan. offers a challenging selection of unique classes in a welcoming environment to mix up the typical workout regimen.

Meg Schwartz, Layout and Design Editor

In the middle of winter, I require a little bit more motivation than usual to coax myself out from under my favorite cozy blanket and away from my hot cup of peppermint tea to make it to the gym to workout. I’ve recently found myself in a fitness rut — the typical treadmill or elliptical workout just wasn’t quite cutting it.  

In an effort to rediscover the enjoyment I’ve previously found in exercising, I browsed through some local fitness websites and stumbled across Learning2Fly, an aerial fitness center in Mission, Kan.  Aerial fitness involves using bodyweight on floor-to-ceiling silks hanging from hooks to create poses, hang upside down and climb.

I was instantly intrigued by the photos of the colorful silks hanging from the ceiling and of class attendees intertwining themselves around the silks in graceful poses. I recruited a friend and signed up for the intro to aerial silks class.

The first of many challenges of my experience was actually locating the building. The studio is easy to miss in the dark, as it has a small gravel entrance and little signage. The building itself, however stands out, as a unique, all-white dome structure that looks like it was plucked straight out of a fairy tale.   

Entering the studio from the harsh below-freezing weather outside, I was welcomed by the warm hues of bright orange and yellow walls as well as a heated floor and mini fireplace to keep the class’ muscles from becoming stiff.  With a large, full bookcase, cozy rugs and all rainbow everything, Learning2Fly is not the basic fitness studio.

Class began promptly on the large blue mat that spanned the majority of the floor space under the hanging, colorful silks. The class was full, with about 10 people who were mostly young adult beginners. The instructor began by introducing Learning2Fly’s two rules, one: no use of the word “can’t” is allowed, and if the word is uttered, the perpetrator would be “rewarded” with two push ups, and two: no speaking negatively. The class then went through personal introductions as we were led through a relaxing stretching sequence.

After finishing stretches, we rubbed sour-smelling resin on our hands to create grip and nervously approached the silks. We started off slow with a series of tucks and turns and worked our way up to climbing, standing on the silk and leaning over and even hanging upside down.  

To tell the truth, I went into the class assuming that it wasn’t going to be terribly difficult.  However, each move took a precise combination of focus, self-trust and muscle power.  I was unable to hold a few of the poses, but I finished the class feeling proud and accomplished.

What I found most difficult about aerial fitness was the self-trust and mirroring the instructor. I didn’t quite trust that I was going to be able to hold myself steady on the silks for moves like flips, and that held me back from attempting some of the higher level moves. I also had trouble working through the complicated steps of how to wrap the silks around my feet and how to position my hands, but the instructor was great at helping individually.

By the end of the class, my muscles were shaking and I was covered in sweat.  It was no doubt a great workout, especially for upper body strength.  We had the last few minutes to do freestyle poses and take pictures.

For the following two days, my upper body was so sore that I could barely lift my arms above my head or put on my coat.  I was amazed by how strong the muscles in my arms, back and waist felt after only one class.

Learning2Fly is an exciting way to spice up the norm and to challenge agility. A few tips for first time visitors: bring a water bottle (my mistake), bring a friend, sign up in advance on the website and plan on arriving a few minutes early for extra time to track down the building.

Prices for classes vary from $10 to $25 and, as an incentive to come back, the second class is free. The studio not only offers silks classes, but also aerial yoga and boxing.  Check out iamlearning2fly.com for schedules and sign ups. End that winter workout rut once and for all by intertwining strength, art and precision at Learning2Fly.