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Honor your Body| Resolutions| Aradia Fitness Loudoun

Aradia Fitness - Loudoun, Northern Virginia Pole Dance Studio

Honor Your Body

Honor Your Body, we have reached the beginning of a new year – a time of reflection and rebirth. This is the time that we set our intentions for the rest of the year through the making of resolutions. Unfortunately, these resolutions can sometimes be unkind toward ourselves, focusing on perceived flaws. Or they can be unrealistic – setting ourselves up for disappointment, which is also unkind. I’d like to take the month of January to discuss realistic resolutions, that come from a place of respect and compassion for ourselves and for our bodies.

Self Love

Self love is important to me, and I know that it is important to Neelam, which is one of the reasons I was drawn to Aradia as an instructor. I’m very happy that this blog series can find a home here, where people are passionate about breaking cycles and healing.

 

For our next resolution topic, I’m going to discuss how to HONOR YOUR BODY.

 

At some point in the future, we may be able to upload our consciousness to the cloud, and never have to worry about bodies again. But until then, we are stuck with them, so we might as well make the best out of the situation.

 

Our body is our vehicle, it takes us from place to place and allows us to perform tasks. It also keeps us alive, and provides pleasure through senses.* We only get one, so let’s respect it and take care of it. 

 

  • Your body is not a problem to be fixed. Thinking of it as such does a massive disservice to this wonderful creation and puts you in a negative and oppositional mindset. Your body is your partner, not the enemy. That is not to say that you shouldn’t ever work towards change – change is natural! Work towards whatever makes you happy and healthy – but work with your body, not against it. And don’t think of the end state, whatever that goal may be, as the only acceptable or worthy state. Appreciate every stage of the journey, and know that bodies are constantly in a state of change. Hour to hour, day to day, and year to year. 

 

  • Treat your body with compassion and respect, the same way you would want yourself to be treated. It’s part of you isn’t it? We can consciously develop healthy attitudes towards our body by actively thinking of the things we appreciate about our bodies – what they can do physically, the sensations they give you, the way they look. Take some time to think about those things, and mentally thank your body. Even better – treat your body while you do it. Take a nice bath, massage a sore muscle, rub in some nice lotion (we polers know how to appreciate lotion day) – whatever it means to you to treat your body to something nice. Once you are in the habit of thinking positively about your body – take it to the next level and look at it in the mirror while you do it. Appearance is often where we get the most hung up, so being able to appreciate your body while looking at it is a really big step. And being able to appreciate the way your body looks? I wish that for you, more than anything.

 

  • Take care of your body – keep it healthy and meet its needs. Part of loving something is taking care of it. Giving it fuel that makes it feel good and run well (see previous blog on intuitive eating), giving it rest that it needs to recover, keeping all the parts moving well and feeling good, keeping it clean and sanitary. I’ve come to think of these things as less of a chore and more of an act of care for something I love. And when you take the “have to” out and put the “want to” in, it becomes more enjoyable, requires less mental effort, and frees you from some stress. Which leads into my last bit of advice:

 

  • Find a way to move your body that brings you joy. Exercise should not be a punishment. That mentality will set you up for painful behavior cycles and disappointment. I don’t even call it exercise anymore, because of all the negative associations I’ve grown up with. I just call it moving my body or physical activity. It should be fun, something you want to do, a treat for yourself and your body. It should make you feel healthy, strong, and empowered. Try out everything, even if it’s new or scary, until you find the activity that does it for you. We have plenty of options right here at Aradia for you to try.

 

Progress, not perfection – and self compassion, always.

 

*I understand that disabilities and chronic illnesses affect these statements and create a more-complex-than-average relationship with bodies. I’d love to hear from people who struggle with these issues on how they handle honoring their bodies.

 

Lady Curvicorn

 

Aradia Instructor Lady Curvicorn has spent years researching self compassion and intuitive eating, and has used that experience to create a list of compassionate New Year’s Resolutions. We will be sharing her blog series with you throughout the month.

 

Be Brave. Brave enough to be Uncomfortable

The TEDWomen lecture by Luvvie Ajayi hit home with some truths about people and women in particular. One of the most difficult things to do is to create uncomfortable situations. You know that queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach. Everyone standing around, not willing to make eye contact. No one knows exactly how to respond to the uncomfortable comment without making people even more awkward. So, what do we do now? Nothing, right? Everyone acts as if nothing happened and we go on about our business.

Be Brave enough to be uncomfortable

Be Brave

How many of us are brave enough to create these situations? For example discussing pole dance or sensual movement in a group or for that matter with your friends. Right, not many. Let’s take a look at why we as women don’t want to speak up and speak out. How many times as a child are we told don’t say anything if you don’t have anything nice to say? Or it’s impolite to interrupt others? Women are taught it’s our role to make people feel comfortable and welcomed. We want people to like us. Our whole lives we’re conditioned to not to create unpleasant situations.

Breaking that mold can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Some people have confidence built in or they’ve been brought up in environments which promote expression. For those of us who don’t, we can start small. Find your voice in something you’re highly passionate about. You can begin in a less intimidating environment such as a blog or vlog, no direct human contact. Sometimes it’s even bigger baby steps like telling our kids, NO! Lol.

At our studio it is our endeavour to provide a safe place to try and begin our journey. Talking in an environment where people are more accepting will ease the pressure of learning to have uncomfortable conversations. Building our confidence to be comfortable in our own skin helps to fortify that little girl inside who’s afraid to speak her mind. Take a deep breath, be brave, and speak your truth.

 

Link to Luvvie Ajayi’s lecture

https://www.ted.com/talks/luvvie_ajayi_get_comfortable_with_being_uncomfortable

 

This Is My Body

THIS IS MY BODY.

I am a movement artist, an aerial dancer, an instructor, a performer… and, I am a woman.

One thing I see in men and women of the world is a tendency to honor our intelligence, attractiveness, kindness and creativity. We embrace our very HUMAN-ness, give warm smiles to others and tell people to be themselves, because who you are is BEAUTIFUL.

I love this way of thinking. I am so grateful that our society recognizes our strengths and flaws and journey. Yet there is still one piece of our human puzzle that is so commonly omitted in the world of public appearances. While the rest of our spirit is bathing in the sunlight, our sensuality and our human figure at its very basic level is often cast in the shadows and shrouded so that not a line or curve can be seen, at risk of offending or drawing in an unwanted gaze. It is our raw bodies and sexuality that we pretend does not exist, that it is not a part of our daily lives in so many ways.

Today, I challenge that body “modesty”. I challenge our society’s sexuality-shaming tendencies. I am human, I am woman, and I am a sexual being with curves, lines, boobs and an ass. Heck, I even have a vagina! *gasp* And while I won’t spill all of my sexual habits and interests casually to any passing stranger, I am not ashamed to have them. To deny that side of me is to deny who I am. I for one, refuse to do that.

Photo by RTP Photography. Model: Emma Reyn.

As a pole and movement instructor, there is a special opportunity I have to see so many wonderful humans come through our studio doors from where they are in life, in need of *something* which has brought them to me, and then to watch as they slowly transform and unfold into new, amazing, and magical creatures.

We all come to these classes for so many different reasons. But one thing I see so clearly when I walk into Aradia Fitness is women (and men) choosing to truly embrace their bodies, to share this little piece of their souls to our community, and to be truly open with each other (and let me tell you, there is no shame when it comes to our body talk!). Maybe this is the only place we feel comfortable with so much openness, or maybe the students that come in are already wild and free and can’t help but bring with them a shine that infects us all. Whatever the case, it fills my heart to see my pole family every night finding new ways to respect their bodies and express their souls, and for many to express that sensual side of themselves which is too often thrown under the rug of shame and guilt.

Never be ashamed of who you are. Life is an adventure.

When I started my personal journey at Aradia Fitness so many years ago, I was a speck of dust in a room full of diamonds. Shy, quiet, and extremely self-conscious. To wear even a bathing suit out in the world made me squirm endlessly, and to even think about sexuality of any sort turned my cheeks bright red like a tomato.

But I found my home that very first night at Aradia Fitness, and for me, it was the first step on my path to feeling like a woman, a lioness, and a magical unicorn.

Pole fitness is not only an awesome workout, but it’s also a great way to make friends that can encourage and inspire you daily.

It was the beginning of my journey to truly appreciating myself, finding my confidence, and shining my brilliance for the world to see. It didn’t matter where I came from or what I looked like, and every piece of encouragement from my newfound pole family challenged those voices in my head telling me that I was not worthwhile. Soon those voices became quiet whispers I could ignore while I conquered the world (and the pole) for a while.

Every hip circle, hair whip, and heel clack became my battle cry for sensuality. Every invert became my defiance to the doubts of my strength. Every turn on the pole was a new expression of myself discovered and actualized. And feeling that sense of self is what led me to teaching, in hopes that I might inspire that same sense of self for others.

My fellow humans, this is my challenge to you. Find that voice in your brain that is screaming negativity, fear, doubt, and shame. Turn your music up, and then turn those voices WAY down. Be yourself. Your whole self. Body and soul. Wherever you are today. At least for a few minutes, or maybe an hour while you’re in your safe space with your pole fam.

You have my permission. Not that you need it. <3

Emma Reyn is an instructor, performer, and figure art model. Come meet your sexy side in her Sultry Pole classes, work on those lines and curves in our FlexAbility class, or get moving with her in Pole and Lyra classes!

Article Written by Emma Reyn, Instructor at Aradia Fitness Cary in Cary, North Carolina

May 30, 2017