Archive for In the News

Voler jusqu’a ses reves / Let Your Dreams Fly!

March 26, 2013 Comments Off on Voler jusqu’a ses reves / Let Your Dreams Fly! In the News, Uncategorized

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Heather is honored to be featured in the March 2013 issue of  ‘L’Actualite pharmaceutique’, the Quebec Pharmacy News journal distributed to all pharmacists in Quebec.  Some of you may not know that Heather is also a pharmacist, with a Master’s Degree in Pharmacology (get the reference to ‘Helium’ now?  Originally licensed in Quebec, Heather now maintains her Ontario pharmacy license by practicing there 5 weeks a year.

Read full article (in French) here: LAP03_026

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In Our Circles, In Our Circles: How to Spin Without Losing Your Lunch

March 9, 2013 Comments Off on In Our Circles, In Our Circles: How to Spin Without Losing Your Lunch Ask Mama Silk, Classes, Performance Tips, Training

A concerned lyra student asks:  Mama Silk, how can I not toss my cookies when I start spinning? I almost threw up on the subway platform after lyra class last week. Help!


Good question, concerned student!  The short answer regardless of apparatus is: build up slowly, and practice till you get your sea legs (I mean your air legs). But let’s investigate the spin phenomenon a little closer:


Your brain gets information on its position in space from visual (eyes), kinesthetic (touch) and vestibular (inner ear) sources. When conflict arises from what you see, what you feel and what your brain perceives, you end up feeling crappy.

With respect to your ears, there are three semi-circular canals in each ear, one for each plane of movement (up/down, left/right, front/back).  These fluid-filled canals in your head tell you which way is up and which way is left and right so you know if you’re standing up or lying down.

Semi-Circular Ear Canals

When you spin, the fluid in these canals will spin around.  If you stop suddenly, your body stops, but the fluid in your ears is still going.   You think you’re still spinning, but your eyes are telling you that you’re not spinning. Your brain gets very confused and you feel sick. And, the ’tilt and rotate’ combination frequently used in aerial choreography is extremely challenging for the brain’s processing systems.  The scientists call it ‘aberrant  vestibular inputs’. Tourists call it “Stop slamming on the brake, cabbie!” Aerialists call it ‘Oh, my God! I’m so barfy!”

south park queasy

Scientists think some of these phenomena may harken back to our caveman days.  The same inner ear balance mechanism that is responsible for seasickness also handles the body’s ability to detect ingested poison; the signals sent to the brain when a person is spinning or seasick are the same as those sent when a person has eaten something dangerous, and the body’s protective response to poison is vomiting. Therefore, when you’re seasick, you vomit. Same goes for smells. I always feel worse at shows with lots of sensory overload: flashing lights, loud music, food odors (or worse, somebody else’s body odor), diesel fumes from generators, etc, are likely to make me feel more barfy.


  • Freshen your breath.

I got this tip from an old boyfriend who was a bosun with the Canadian Navy.  If it works for the sailors, it can work for us aerial beauties.

Keep a small travel toothbrush in your training bag, or some sugarless gum so you’re all minty before you spin.  [Remember to spit the gum out BEFORE class or performing.]

  • Smell something pleasant.

Keep a small handkerchief that’s been scented with lavender oil, or some other smell you associate with comfort. Breathe in the scent to help clear your channels.  Move away from strong odors. [Or nicely tell your classmate to please go buy some anti-perspirant].

  • Train yourself to ignore your brain.

With repeated practice, you can train your brain to ignore the conflicting input it’s getting from your fabulous aerial gyrations.   Astronauts do it, and so can you.

Start by spinning slowly, right side up, then upside down, WITH YOUR HEAD IN A FIXED POSITION. Look at something stationary, like your hand, or the lyra.

Then repeat, with a soft focus, and then with roving eyes, right side up and upside down. Add  head tilts, and finally head rotations while you’re spinning.

With repeated practice, you’ll find the method that works best for you. Some people swear by staring at a fixed point. Others prefer a soft focus, or even closing their eyes. I have a straps routine that involves orbiting and spinning and inversions and head tilts all at the same time.  When I haven’t done the routine in a while, I always feel a little off the first few times I rehearse until I get my sea legs again.

  • Stay hydrated

Keep your fluid intake high. Water is best.  Avoid de-hydrating drinks like coffee, and Red Bull.

porcelain god toilet barf Don’t come to class, rehearsal or performance hung over.  It’s unprofessional and dangerous.

  • Eat Right and Light

Eat light, easily digestible food before rehearsal or performance. Time it so you’ve digested before turning upside down. Avoid fatty, spicy stuff, unless you’re OK with the consequences.

  • Spin at the end of class or rehearsal

Save the spinning until the end of class or rehearsal. This way if you do get naseous, you’ve already worked on stuff.


Prevention is really the best medicine. Once you feel like crap, it can take a while to come back to normal.

  • Candied ginger

candied ginger

Delicious and nutritious (except for all that sugar). Keep a bag handy, and indulge as needed.

  • ‘Unspin’

When you touch ground, step off the mat and away from the apparatus and turn in the opposite direction to unwind. Or spin slowly a couple of times in the reverse direction.

  • Hop

Hop up and down while staring a fixed spot on the wall.  This may settle the liquid in your ears, and align the physical and visual input.

  •  Lie down

Sometimes I just like to lie down on my back, with my knees bent and my feet flat on the floor.

  • Dramamine

Spinning stimulates the cholinergic system,  producing: sweating, increased stomach acid, a desire to, um, ‘go’.

Dramamine is now available in two forms: dimenhydrinate and meclizine. Both are anti-histamines that help reduce the cholinergic reaction. Take as directed on the package – they can cause drowsiness, so don’t down it for the first time before driving to your gig, or right before you perform. See how you do on it in an un-pressured setting, first. And no post-ingestion imbibing, unless you’re taking the subway home.

  • Antacids

Keep a roll of Tums or Rolaids in your bag. Zantac and Pepcid are other good choices.

What works for you?

Mama Silk is always looking for new tips and tricks. Let us know what works best for you, so we can share it!

So spin, my darlings, spin. And create many beautiful things.


Mama Silk (and Lyra)




Just Another Reason to Come to Lyra Class!

February 18, 2013 Comments Off on Just Another Reason to Come to Lyra Class! In the News

Here’s why you should come to Lyra class:

FitEngine reporter Ashleigh says “It’s a great upper body workout and it was quite exhilarating to suspend from the ceiling and feel, briefly, like a dazzling Cirque du Soleil acrobat in a sequined leotard”.

Click here to read the full story.


CBS names Heliummm Top Fitness Class in NYC!

January 14, 2013 Comments Off on CBS names Heliummm Top Fitness Class in NYC! In the News, Uncategorized

It’s time to step it up in 2013 and take class at the top of the class – Heliummm named Top 5 unique fitness classes in NYC!

CBS Heliummm


What a Year It’s Been!

January 5, 2013 Comments Off on What a Year It’s Been! In the News


What a year it’s been! Thanks for making 2012 Heliummm’s best year ever. We couldn’t have done it without you. We are thrilled to welcome new clients and friends to the Heliummm Family. And, we’re looking forward to continued growth and great events in 2013.

Highlights from 2012 include:

  • Winning “Entertainment Act of the Year” from BizBash’s Reader’s Choice Awards – Thanks to all clients, family and friends who voted for us daily!
  • Appearing “Law & Order: SVU” – We even got to meet Ice-T and pat his dog.
  • Stories on Fox News 5 and CBS’s ‘Live from the Couch’ – Definitely working on our 15 minutes of fame
  • Writing a chapter “Entertainment That Reflects the Couple” for the e-book “Insider’s Know How – Planning Your Perfect Wedding” by Kizzi Nkwocha. – Available on Amazon. Click here.
  • New light up costumes
  • Presenting on aerial conditioning at the Circus Instructor’s Gathering
  • Being one of the three co-founders of the New York Aerial Teacher’s Alliance, with Adam Woolley and Laura Witwer

2013 is already shaping up nicely, with travels, features and great events with you!

Dare to dream and make those dreams come true.

Heliummm’s one of NYC’s Hottest Tickets in Town says Time Out New York

December 10, 2012 Comments Off on Heliummm’s one of NYC’s Hottest Tickets in Town says Time Out New York In the News, Uncategorized
We got an early holiday gift from Time Out New York. With so much to do in NYC, we’re thrilled to be named as “one of the hottest tickets in town”).

Watch us in the video for Time Out Offers.

Be sure to check out our classes here and even bring a friend. If your friend purchases a class card, you get a free class. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

And, be sure to tell your family and friends they can get you a Heliummm gift certificate in our online store. Click here for more info.

Thanks for helping us achieve new heights – we’re here to help you achieve yours!

Big aerial and holiday love,

Heliummm awarded BizBash New York Readers’ Choice Entertainment Act of the Year!

October 25, 2012 Comments Off on Heliummm awarded BizBash New York Readers’ Choice Entertainment Act of the Year! Biz Bash Readers Choice Awards, In the News

We won!! Thanks to your amazing support Heliummm has been named BizBash New York Readers’ Choice Entertainment Act of the Year! Awards were presented Wednesday afternoon at the New York BizBash IdeaFest.

A big thank you to all who voted and the following people who were instrumental in making the trade show and voting process a success:

  • My dear spouse and Heliummm President, Diane Jeep Ries for moral support, manning the booth
  • Laura DeBuys for fabulous marketing advice and a stellar email voting campaign
  • Cody Schreger for great salesmanship and being a great duo partner
  • Jamie Pirowskin for excellent administrative assistance
  • Katie Sue Nicklos for bringing my light up costume idea to life
  • Amy Hecht for graphic design
  • Madeline Hoak and Airin Dalton for working our new costumes on the Bizbash Trade Show floor

We are so excited – and so grateful!

Heliummm featured on CBS 2’s Morning Show!

October 8, 2012 Comments Off on Heliummm featured on CBS 2’s Morning Show! Classes, In the News

In addition to airing on “The Couch” last week, Heliummm is featured on CBS 2’s Morning Show!

Lisa Kerney tell us “It’s certainly not your average workout – aerial silks is the hot new way to work out that may have you joining the circus.” Click here to check out Lisa getting a lesson in the art of aerial dance.  It’s a workout disguised as fun!

We’ve been announced!

October 2, 2012 Comments Off on We’ve been announced! In the News, Performances



Our entertainer of the year nomination has been announced – – and the vote is on!

You can vote daily from now until October 21st at 11:59 pm here!

Please cast your vote today! We need your support!!

Heliummm puts CBS’s Lisa Kerney through the Aerial Dance Paces!

October 1, 2012 Comments Off on Heliummm puts CBS’s Lisa Kerney through the Aerial Dance Paces! Classes, In the News