Tag Archives: trampolining

U is for upside down

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I’ve raided the archives again this week. This photo of me doing a headstand in the garden pretty much sums up my early childhood: outdoors, and upside down. Whether it was hanging in trees, rolling head over heels or walking on my hands I was never happier than when things were the wrong way up.

I remember one morning in primary school when someone bet me that I couldn’t stand on my head for the whole of break. Never one to turn down a challenge, I promptly kicked my heels towards the sky. Everyone else got bored after a few minutes but I was seriously proud of myself when the bell went. That, and a little bit dizzy.

It’s something that’s never really left me. I got very into trampolining in my teens, drawn by the prospect of somersaulting through the air. I learnt to fly forwards, backwards, tucked, piked and straight, twisting and landing on my back and front and feet. It was pretty awesome.

As I bounced into my twenties I still somersaulted whenever I could, but I’d hit a (virtual) ceiling. I couldn’t really learn new skills without proper training, and there was too much else going on for that. So I branched out, finding a circus school and working on my tumbling.

It all petered out a bit as teaching and later pregnancy and motherhood took over my time and energy, but I’ve still found ways to get my fix. Last summer I persuaded Leigh to take me and Arthur to circus camp : we spent a week in the rain in deepest darkest Cornwall juggling and tumbling and hanging from the trapeze.

And I’m back to trampolining too. I couldn’t believe my luck when we moved to Torbay and I found somewhere that was not only prepared to let adults loose on the trampolines but also timed it so the babies could do a gym session too. Arthur’s moved up to the toddler class now, but I still get to turn the world on its head every Friday.

There’s a metaphor in all of this. Something about seeing things from different perspectives, not accepting the common viewpoint, wanting to shake things up until they’re topsy turvey from time to time, just to see what happens. It’s liberating, for the body and for the mind.

U is for upside down.

 

Joining in with The Alphabet Photography Project over at PODcast. 

G is for gymnastics

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I loved gymnastics when I was a kid. From balancing on the beam and swinging on the bars to hanging upside down in trees and turning cartwheels on the beach. When I was fourteen I became drawn to trampolining – that sense of freedom multiplied by literally flying through the air. Then in my twenties I found a circus school in East London and took to tumbling. There was lots I had to re-learn, but somersaults and back flips were the perfect antidote to having to grow up.

When we moved down to Devon I was thrilled to discover that there was a gymnastics club in Torquay with classes for adults as well as children. My post-baby body hasn’t quite found the strength or agility to go back to tumbling yet, but it’s been brilliant to build up my trampoline skills again.

Arthur seems to be loving it too. He’s moving up this week from the baby group to be with the other toddlers, and is practising his forward rolls any chance he gets. He seems to get a real thrill from going head over heels – just like his mum.

I think gymnastics is a brilliant skill for kids to learn. It’s just an extension of playing, really – but it brings with it such self-awareness, focus and coordination. I think there’s something about pushing your body beyond its everyday range of movements and using your own body weight to build its strength that’s very empowering – and of course it helps keep you fit and healthy too.

So I hope Arthur continues to enjoy it, and I look forward to rekindling my own gymnastic ability too. I might never quite get back the level of skill I had when I was younger but that’s not going to stop me wanting to try!

Joining in with The Alphabet Photography Project over at PODcast.