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How Joining a Pole Studio Changed My Life (and It Can Change Yours, Too)

How Joining a Pole Studio Changed My Life (and It Can Change Yours, Too)
“Just go in.”
As it turns out, the voice inside me that won that day also happened to be the quietest. Under the delicate midday light of late November, I was sitting in my car outside the humble door of Aradia Fitness, nestled in a business park with children’s martial arts studios and music tutoring spaces, debating with myself whether I wanted to go through with an Introduction to Pole Fitness class.
One part of me was quite vocal about how I would certainly be facing skinny college-age women who would probably ridicule my physique, and how I would most likely make a fool of myself. Another part of me dwelled on the thousands of dollars I had already spent on dental implants as a result of a childhood injury of falling flat on my face—what if I fell and hurt or mangled myself again? These loud, obnoxious voices debated back and forth internally until a smaller voice cut through.
“Maybe you’ll have fun. Maybe this is what you need. Just go in.”
So I went in, and I was surrounded by an array of equally terrified-looking women, some of whom were indeed collegiate, but others who appeared to be my age and above. There were all sorts of bodies, some slender, some Rubenesque. We made nervous small talk until we were greeted by the studio owner, Neelam.
Perhaps it was something in the color of her eyes or the sound of her voice, but Neelam radiated amber and honey, as if she were sunlight personified. She told us a brief story about her own dance and fitness journey, and as she stood illuminated by the afternoon glow cutting through the deep red curtains, the whole place felt exotic yet inviting, a little ruby oasis in the middle of suburbia. While even the mere sight of poles felt intimidating at first, Neelam helped us relax. She has this unyielding quality of calming everyone around her, and putting fears to rest. Her hugs are an indescribable medicine. That day, I stumbled my way through a few spin attempts but had fun practicing some body waves and catlike moves on the floor.
In the first month, I didn’t quite feel sexy or empowered. But, I did feel challenged, as though I was a child learning a new language, trying to memorize a few basic words through repetition. More than anything, what brought me back to Aradia after that first class was the sensation in my shoulders the next morning. I was sore in muscles I had never activated before. I had spent my entire life involved in some kind of physical activity—volleyball, golf, basketball, running, various Beachbody home fitness DVD programs—but I had never felt soreness in that particular spot. I was also sobered by how weak I was in other areas, and felt determined to pursue the kind of core strength that pole dancers and aerial gymnasts display. I knew that this kind of movement would be stimulating and different, and it was introduced to me at a time when I needed change.
October 2017 found me in a new job role with a better commute but a distinct lack of social support and diversity. Other than my boss, my office only had one other woman in it. My best friend in the area had just delivered a baby that month, and so my life both inside and outside of work felt deprived of camaraderie and sisterhood. By November, I became desperate for something to keep me motivated, and so a quick Google search of places where I could learn a form of dance that had always intrigued me revealed the Aradia studio in Ashburn, which had numerous glowing reviews.
The second class I signed up for was one called Liquid Motion, because the description emphasized more floorwork. Knowing that I needed to build up my strength and coordination to keep going with actual pole training, I thought Liquid sounded like a nice supplement that would develop some skills without leaving the ground. That was when I met the instructor, Karen, who is the living dichotomy of sensual and maternal. She exudes a hard core rocker chick vibe, always looking like she stepped out of an epic music video. Ultimately, she is a badass who cares for her students deeply; I have seen more than one woman come to class and break down in tears over some personal trauma, and Karen responds with comfort and strength, taking time to guide them away from pain, loss, or anger. Then, when Karen performs, she is alluring and coy, an icon of feminine movement. When you see her dance, you understand the dedication, discipline, and hard work behind the architecture of her muscles. She has an eye for details, and in simple tweaks to the position of your head or leg, changes something from impossible to possible. Liquid Motion clicked with me because it was the class where I first felt like I could say something beautiful with my body, which I previously often regarded with disgust or shame. Even when my simple toe point became a little straighter, I felt proud and eager to train harder.
Then there is Jenna, who combines physics and philosophy in her artistic approach to pole. She emphasizes the concept of opposition, which applies not only to the actual dynamics of spinning, but to creating aesthetically pleasing shapes with one’s body. She demonstrates endless patience with me, and watches my face with concern when I try to do a few spins in front of her. “I don’t think you’re quite feeling the joy of flying yet,” she says to me, and she’s got a point: I have been so focused on trying to execute these movements that I am growing increasingly frustrated by my inability to get things right. Her solution? “I want you to go back to the very basics, and just play with the sensation of swinging around the pole, even if you’re only doing a dip, so that you can really do this with abandon.” Jenna has a knack for finding her students’ strengths and building upon them, and has managed to snap me out of creeping dismay or defeat on several occasions.
There are so many other teachers at Aradia who are just as compassionate and talented, and I can’t wait to work with them all as I (slowly) progress up the skill ladder.
When I look back on the last several months, what I recognize in myself is profound emotional growth in addition to the physical changes. That aspect, to me, is something I have never gained while running on a treadmill in a crowded gym. I have developed, little by little, a stronger sense of self-worth and expressiveness. I feel like smiling much more. I take pictures of myself. I hear songs on the radio while I’m walking the dog and suddenly find myself doing some kind of toe drag or hair flip because I feel inspired. I still worry about things in my life, but now I have a few hours a week where, surrounded by ruby curtains and twinkling lights, I can take a breath. I can feel elevated by my classmates, like Jeanine, a nurturer whose laughter is contagious, and Kay, whose strength and confidence I wish to someday achieve.
A question posed by one of our visiting instructors, Nia, resonates with me still: “who is she?”
I’m still finding out. I’m still creating her.
But for those who are still hesitant about embarking on such a journey, for anyone trying to muster the courage to put on some skimpy shorts and sky-high heels, my advice is this:
Just go in.
By Our Student Liz.
Join a sisterhood unlike other

Be An Aradia Goddess

Strong like a man but love like a woman

Be Strong like a Man but Love like a Woman

 

Logic, rationale, and critical thinking allows for the ability to fortify oneself with strength and power. Many men weld these talents like weapons. When used well, they can result in many wins. These skills are valued in the business and academic worlds. Thinkers are praised for their intellectual achievements. These are definitely useful abilities, but are they enough?

Women in business brought another layer of necessary skills. We not only think with logic and reason, but we make emotion-based decisions. This probably threw men for a loop when we entered the workforce. WHY are you crying because the machine won’t work???? This is the stereotypical thought process about women and emotions. Does this happen sometimes? Yes. But incorporating EQ or Emotional Intelligence into the business world has provided a new way to interact with people on a whole new level.

Women are not only thinkers but we’re born nurturers. Most of us have the ability and need to connect with people on a deeper level. This natural instinct to reach out and heal, not only the physical but the emotional aspects of a person, gives us the means to fix problems more holistically. Logic, reason and critical thinking are good for resolving processes and the mechanical issues. When we need to repair a people-based problem, we need more. We need to problem solve on more than just the surface level because people are not machines and their problems stem from more than a process breakdown. Being able to understand how the issue has started or impacted people mentally will give you the ability to change not only the process but the mindset and culture.

Emotional decisions are our strength

Strong Like a man love like a woman

Don’t neglect this gift we have been given as women. Don’t try to hide your ability to understand someone on a more emotional level. Our nurturing side is not a weakness. It’s the core of our feminine strength. Allow your talents to shine. If you look at many of the powerful women throughout history, you’ll see they leverage this gift to propel them through their success.

How Curves Help with Pole

How Curves Help With Pole

Originally posted on BadKitty USA Website
Article written by  on November 30, 2015

Most fitness programs tout weight loss more loudly than any other benefit. Pole is a great way to lose weight too, and maybe that’s why you got into it to begin with. But a funny thing happens to many dedicated polers: whether they came into pole to lose weight or for some other reason, they can end up not really caring about dropping those extra pounds. In fact, there are several reasons polers with curves might want to keep them!

You get stronger by lifting more weight

 

Pole is a bodyweight exercise, which means that you only work with what you weigh. So that means that polers who weigh more are lifting more weight, and that sounds like a better workout to me! Unlike with some bodyweight exercises like air squats where you’re just using your bodyweight but not really lifting all of it, with pole you are actually literally lifting all that weight. Carrying it with your arms and your hands and your legs up the pole and moving it around in the air. When you start to think about doing that with ankle weights on, you start to realize what a big difference those extra pounds can make to your workout!

You need the extra surface area to grip the pole

 

When you’re holding onto the pole with your hands, there are only a few things that matter—the size of your hands, the size of the pole, and the grippiness of both. But when you’re holding on with your thighs, your armpits, or your elbows, it’s a whole other story. Extra meat on the thighs just means there’s more of you to hang onto the pole with when you go into your layback. Extra arm and boobage can save your Teddy or your Rocketman. If you’re just hard bones and muscle, those things aren’t great to grip the pole with because there’s not enough give. Some softer areas can really help you cling.

You have extra lusciousness for floor work

 

You know what’s funny about pole? It always hurts, even if you’re not on the pole. Floor work causes just as many pinches and bruises as the aerial aspects. And you don’t get a nice rubbery mat like in yoga. If you’re at the studio or performing in a competition, it’s just you and the floor. That can be painful, especially if your bones and joints are digging into the floor, which they invariably will be at some point. Having a little extra layer of you there can take the edge off. Be your own yoga mat.

Polers appreciate and love their bodies

 

What is it about pole fitness that makes us come to appreciate our bodies just the way they are? We used to say it had to do with the sensual empowerment aspects of pole—but we find this confidence and self-esteem even in purely athletic studios. Maybe it has to do with appreciating our bodies’ abilities instead of their appearances. Maybe we get so used to seeing ourselves and our friends in our Brazil Shorts that we realize how silly our insecurities are. Or maybe it’s just because pole is so damn flattering. Whatever the reason, polers seem to be happier with their bodies at whatever the weight.

Many people get into pole to lose weight, and many do lose weight, and many are still trying. If any of that is you, that’s great! But if you find yourself appreciating what those extra pounds can do for you in the studio, that’s great, too.

 

 

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