We first spotted Aditi Deshpande, a student of Shree Samarth Vyayam Mandir, Dadar, and National Champion in Rope Mallakhamb at AIRPLAY, a first-of-its-kind festival of Aerial Acrobatics, Adventure and Dance, that was conducted by Natura. To say that we were fascinated by her Aerial Silk moves is an understatement. We get her to tell us why swinging from a rope can be the most fun and effective way to get fit fast.

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Aerial silk is a special type of cloth that is suspended from the ceiling on which one or more people perform aerial acrobatics. Aerial silk is also known as tissue, fabric, ribbon, or curtain. This is more popular as a performance act but it can also be used as an exercise tool, as it helps develop strength, flexibility, stamina, neuromuscular coordination and a variety of motor skills.‎ It is performed without a harness and one needs to rely on his/her own strength and skill,” explains Aditi.

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This discipline was first started by André Simard, an acrobatic research and development specialist for the Cirque du Soleil. He combined his love for fine arts and gymnastics in this innovative aerial arts sport which he then used to train his students to perform various tricks such as drops, upside-down splits, and flips to make for a very fascinating demonstration of human strength and agility. Don’t let the name of the workout fool you though. The fabrics most commonly used for the sport include chiffon, polyester and other synthetic nylons and not really silk.

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“Aerial Silk definitely gives you a completely different experience as you are performing all the moments in air, at least three feet above the ground and against gravity,” says Aditi. It is really a full body workout that includes strength, cardio and flexibility training. Your back, biceps, shoulders, triceps, chest, as well as your leg muscles get the benefit as you have to keep them engaged all the time, and also constantly keep them straight, pointed, lifted up or down, depending on the moves you’re learning. Upside down crunches, pull ups, shrugs, and climbing are some examples of the movements you learn. “And apart from the above benefits, it teaches one how to handle your own body, and while doing that your core becomes strong automatically,” she adds. Last but not least, it also helps you lose weight and tone your body.

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Aditi insists that as with any form of exercise, you really need to practice regularly. But anyone who wants to learn this form and is ready to put in the work, will benefit and can take it up. “With consistent hard work, the basics can be learnt in about a month or two. Proficiency starts developing within six months of regular practice. However, the ability of every individual will definitely play a role in all this. But for sure you will enjoy every bit of your training and it will give you tremendous confidence as you will learn to handle your body in air,” she says.

To know more about other such events conducted by Natura, you can email Nidhi Sachdev at nidhi@natura.net.in. For Aerial Silk classes, contact Aditi Deshpande on 9833699965 and mail her at adi_deshpande22@yahoo.com.