Product review: Shannon McKenna's E-Manual - Alignment Upside Down: A Practical Manual for Hanging Upside Down
One of the wonderful things about travelling to a new city every 3 months or so, is meeting a variety of people in my industry. Not just the Health and Fitness industry but also in the Circus Arts and that beautiful cross-over niche that exists between these two complimentary disciplines. Shannon McKenna (@the_artist_athlete) is one such superstar whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Atlanta last year and she has recently released a manual for aligning yourself upside down...
So I thought I'd give it a bit of a read through and let you all know what I thought!
First of all, let me say that this is something that resonated with me straight away. For years I have been teaching people to 'embrace upside down as the new normal' and 'stop fighting being upside down' - in a way trying to get students to understand that upside down is just another version (different orientation) of Upright and in fact is still a Vertical of sorts. SO it came as a breath of fresh air to read this manual, which features snippets of physio goodness from none other than Cirque Physio's Jen Cane and to see that other professionals were teaching the same concepts of inverted vertical alignment.
The main points I thought I would address...Who will benefit from this manual? To what level of student is it aimed at? Is it worth it ($49.99)? And what did I get out of it personally...
As a whole, I would say that this manual is perfectly suited as complimentary (if not foundational) reading for any level aerialist (hmmmm who was it that always says the basics NEVER stop being important??) and even as a physiotherapist myself, I got some great insights from it. Shannon's tone is informal without any anatomical jargon/buzz words but rather informs you simply of the necessary physiological information you actually SHOULD know (or want to know) as a budding aerial student. In terms of content - it offers exercises to build awareness, stamina, strength and endurance but only covers the alignment of basic shapes such as tuck, pike and straddle. As a former gymnast however, I know that these shapes (as well as dish and handstand) creates the basis for almost every other move - well worth the price tag in my opinion! From the perspective of a fellow performer on multiple apparatus, I learnt some important tips for preserving grip strength and how to orient my shoulders better for inverted shapes. Learning about "The Shelf" which is a really great way to explain the anatomical recruitment required to support upside down alignment, as a teacher who is always on the hunt for better ways to breakdown and explain physiological concepts, I will certainly be recycling this concept - thanks Shannon!!