Taking what we learned from Leif’s Hug Harness Class on Shibari Study, we immediately retired to our rope room to test out what we had learned and see how the harness performed in suspension, getting a feel for it in comparison to the other arms front harness we had been using.
While it was fresh in my mind I was able to put together the harness pretty quickly and with no real issues, having learned from tying along with the class, I adapted slightly in adding a second rope before starting the top bands. This meant we weren’t left with a join on the front of the harness, giving a nicely balanced visual. The result being a bit of excess rope in the back of the harness that needed to be burned off in a way that didn’t add significant bulk to the rear. Adding an upline to the rear of the harness we embarked upon our first real solo face down suspension experience.
Due to the repeated use of mermaid ties earlier in the week we opted to go for a futomomo leg suspension, shifting the loading from the thigh to being split across the thigh and shin, giving Pixie a well-deserved break from her thighs. Initially working in a partial, with the uplines lifting her to just on her tip toes. This had the effect of opening Pixies hips, creating a small torsion in her waist.
After a momentary delight in the awkwardness of her discomfort I added an extra single column to her lower foot, lifting this into a full suspension. Although this beautiful image seems to show the depths of relaxation and blissful internalisation, Pixie expressed quite a bit of pain processing was required, mostly in her leg. A particularly useful feature of the arms front harness is the ability Pixie had to hold up her own head for comfort.
After 15 minutes Pixie descended slowly back down to earth to be released from her bonds, enjoy some necessary hydration and post rope cuddles and reflection.
Looking back at the photos of this session we were able to see some flaws in the application of the Hug Harness, mainly that the initial wraps were positioned too high on Pixies arms, reducing the stability of the tie. In addition to this the upline being placed on the upper wraps, resulted in the pressure from the suspension drawing the bands further up and a poor positioning. Actually tying the harness was comfortable and logical, although maintaining the bands under the munter hitches took some manipulation, we found these did compress further under load and lay less flat on the arm, again this added some addition pressure which contributed to the need to process through that discomfort.
However, all the issues were around the application rather than design of the harness and overall it’s a wonderfully simple alternative to the traditional box tie. As Pixie works with her hands reducing any risk on the radial nerve is super important to us, and the arms front positioning does this effectively. By reducing this risk it left me more able to focus on the experience and the connection between us, the main focus for our rope, and less on the need to execute a particular pattern.