I was fortunate enough to receive flexibility training at Cirque-ability from Alixa Sutton (choreographer of contortion for Cirque du Soleil and flexibility expert) a couple of weeks ago. Since her workshop I have been using her tips and flexibility exercises almost daily. I feel like I’m getting into my body in a whole new way, here’s why;
1. Alixa had an amazing understand of mind/body connection. So she was able to connect physical restrictions with physical or emotional trauma. She understood that you should not push the adult body into difficult stretches, but rather invite it to stretch further through massage and patience. This made increasing flexibility seem possible, not scary or leading to potential injury.
2. Alixa NEVER went near the mid back. If you are not naturally “back bendy” like me, back flexibility (or lack there of) can be really intimidating. I always felt like I would push my mid back, and strain to get my toes to my head. This always left me feeling achey, and I would be nervous when attempting anything with my back. Now I understand how to use my back properly. Alixa really focused on opening up the shoulders and hips! Since her workshop I have been doing a lot of her shoulder stretches and I’ve been feeling awesome and its improving my walkovers, handstands and I can get my toes to me head on the floor or in the air with NO PAIN or STRAIN!
3. I considered myself to be a pretty flexible person, and I am… but not as well rounded as I thought I was! Alixa pointed out imbalances from over use of one side (which c’mon aerialists, we’re all guilty of that) and another big one for me, was that from all of my dance training I had over developed my ‘turn out’ but trying to keep my legs parallel was so difficult! I’ve put extra effort in to train both sides since then and am making a goal to choreograph a routine where I alternate between my left and right leg throughout! Working both sides, or training your complimentary muscles is something I know I should do, but it’s easy to let it slip. This was a good kick in the butt I needed.
I could continue to rave about the workshop experience I had, but even that won’t do it justice. If you can ever book a lesson with her do it! Her experience and knowledge is unbelievable and applying her exercises to my aerial practice has led me to an even deeper understanding of my and how far I can go. Take a class with her if you can no matter what level of flexibility you are. She has tips and ideas for everyone to help keep you safe, balanced and moving!