I recently opened an aerial yoga studio. I begin each class by introducing students to their partner. Their partner is a piece of silk, a piece of fabric, some call it a sling or a hammock. Whatever you call it, its purpose remains the same: to support, to lift, to carry, to hold, to stretch.
I encourage my students to rely on the sling, to trust it, to use it, to maintain contact with it at all times.
I tell them to let the sling do the work, all they have to do is relax and breathe. Of course make an effort to move into the poses, but they can and should use the sling to help them. After all, it's their partner.
The silk will help you get into poses you might not be able to accomplish without it. However, it doesn’t necessarily make the poses easy. There may still be discomfort as you sink deep into a stretch, or channel every muscle to maintain balance. But you are able to push yourself farther because the silk is there.
When the silk is gathered like a rope and you rest your entire body weight into it, it’s tight. Your tendons aren’t used to the pressure and feel awakened. But with repetition, that tension goes away.
To get better at the poses or feel more comfortable with them, you have to practice. In order to advance or accomplish difficult goals, you must spend time with the sling. And when you are done with the session and fully submerged in the silk, you can relax. You can rest.
So today I prayed bigger than myself. I asked for something more than usual, knowing nothing is too big for my God.
And He spoke to me. “I am the sling.” Wowzers. So simple and so true. The similarities overwhelmed my thoughts.
He is. He is like the sling in every way. We have to believe in Him. We have to trust Him to carry us. And sometimes that’s hard (just like trusting a piece of fabric to hold us while we hang upside down… I get it). But if we don’t take that leap of faith, we don’t progress. We don’t know what we are missing. We miss the possibilities.
He will stretch us. Our lives won’t always be easy, and sometimes it’s downright painful. But, He never lets us go, and uses hard situations to make us stronger.
In Him we find balance. In aerial yoga, we find balance in our slings. The more weight we put in the sling, the easier it is. We must understand that God is here for us and the more weight we put in His hands, the more balanced our lives become.
Contact. If we lose contact with the sling, we’re prone to fall. But if we hold onto that silk with all our might, we won’t. Similarly, we must seek out God and keep a constant connection with Him through prayer, study, fellowship and Church. Spend time with Him so that we may know Him and see His glory in every moment. Don’t let go.
Then finally, we can find rest and recover in Him. If the sling is only on one point of our body and we begin to relax, we will stretch. But if our entire being is in the sling, we can truly rest. God doesn’t want just a leg, or an arm. He wants all of us.
In the cocoon of the sling there are no distractions. We can’t see what’s happening around us and we aren’t worried. Our minds are clear and our bodies are relaxed. We trust it, we believe in it, and we must actively get into it to receive peace.
I’m so glad He spoke to me. See, when you know who He is, you're able to discover who you are. I thought the slings were beautiful before, but I will never look at them the same again.