Nikita C., Software Developer on Aerial Hoop

Hi, my name is Nikita, and I am a software developer and yoga teacher. I grew up in rural Ireland. I moved to Dublin when I was 16 to study Computer Science in college and have been working here since.

Outside of my job, I’m an aerial hoop enthusiast and analogue photographer. I initially wanted to study art and design at college, but I didn’t think I could cope with the potential lack of job security and stability that creative careers are stereotyped with. I’m glad to learn that that’s not always the case, but back then I didn’t have anyone with a creative career to ask for advice.

My next choice was Computer Science. I started playing video games and using the Internet at a relatively young age, so I saw the value of technology and wasn’t intimidated by it. After getting my BSc, I did an MSc in Computer Science to bolster my knowledge. My first job after graduating was in management consulting, as I wanted to learn more about the business world while using my technical skills. After that, I switched to product development and have been doing that since. I like how varied my day-to-day work can be, and the current company I work in is full of talented and friendly people.

Aerial hoop had been in the back of my mind since a couple of years ago. During my yoga teacher training, someone mentioned to me that they had tried it, which sparked my curiosity. At the time I was fully immersed in yoga and occupied with the teacher-training course, so I didn’t check it out immediately. I had wanted to build my upper body strength and found pull-up progressions boring, so I thought that hoop would be a good way to do it. I signed up for a 5-week term of aerial hoop classes at the end of February of this year, and tried out aerial silks in a workshop last month.

To me, aerial feels like a blend of dance, circus arts, and yoga. I have no background in dance at all, so it’s very refreshing for me to approach strength and fitness while keeping in mind rhythm, choreography, and how it looks to an audience. It’s different from yoga in that yoga is focused on your mind and the internal state, rather than performing for someone. I’m not a performer and don’t like attention by nature, so it’s an interesting endeavour for me.

I think that fostering creativity can benefit many, if not all, careers. Creativity is a component of problem solving and innovation, which are driving forces in technology. Aside from that, it’s important to me to have a hobby or interest completely unrelated to my career, to give my brain a break from it.

My goal initially was to build my upper body strength and be able to do solid push-ups. Now my main goal during class is to have fun and enjoy myself while improving every week. Maybe I can be part of an aerial performance one day.

I practice in a studio which has all of the equipment needed for aerial hoop and silks. Usually, there are around 10 people in one class, which makes it easy to get feedback and help. I practice once a week. It would be a dream to have my own home to install a hoop in, so that I could practice whenever I want!

Like I said before, I signed up for a 5-week term. I’m about to start my fourth term now in the intermediate class, which my teacher encouraged me to join. It was challenging at first, but now that I’ve built up enough strength and technique to do a proper routine I’m excited to build on it every week.

A lot of moves require courage and faith that you can do it, especially when you first try it. I believe that the skills I learn from it are transferable to other aspects of my life. If I can climb onto a spinning metal hoop, flip upside-down, and hang from it with bent legs (double knee hang), and if I can recover from the countless bruises that occur when you first start practicing, then I can use the same courage, faith, patience, and resilience to work through new challenges in my job.

The classes I attend are free from competitiveness and full of supportive, friendly people. That helps me cultivate a sense of light-heartedness, as I have a tendency to take work too seriously sometimes.

You don’t need to strong or fit to try it – you will build that up as you practice. My teacher Leanne Cummins is very positive and encouraging, which creates an amazing atmosphere in class. We help each other take videos and photos as we practice, and when someone gets a move they’ve been struggling with, there’s often a celebratory cheer and clap.

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