I’m really excited about today’s Opening Up post because I feel like once this one is out I don’t have to skirt around the issue anymore. For the past few months I have been going to Pole and Boudoir Dance classes three or four times a week and my time spent there is a highlight of my day every time I go. As with anything that we find in our lives that fills us with joy and makes us feel fulfilled both physically and mentally we want to share it with anyone and everyone, but this one has been a little harder to share because of the stigma around it. So today I am Opening Up about what Pole Dancing means to me and why I do it, and sharing it with the world.
I found pole dancing through Groupon a year ago. I had heard about it as exercise for quite awhile and since I have been on a quest since graduating high school to find a new form of exercise that works for me ever since I stopped playing soccer four to seven days a week, I really want to give it a try. I went to my first Beginner Pole Workshop about a year ago now and immediately fell in love with the atmosphere and feeling I got just being in the class. When I left that class though I wasn’t sure if I was going to sign up for more or not, I was afraid that I would never be able to do it. During that first class I felt the same shame I had in every yoga and pilates class I’ve ever taken, that I was the least flexible in class by so far I’d never catch up. I also cried at the end of that first class when everyone was able to pick up the first spin except for me because I was too afraid to take my feet off the ground for fear of falling. I didn’t trust my body and I felt like I would never be able to do it. Finally I convinced myself somehow to sign up for Boudoir 101 in September 2014, and the rest is history, I now go to the studio for class three or four times a week and even have a pole at home to practice in between.
I pole dance for so many reasons, and I’ll get to those in a second, but one of my favorite things about pole is the community and diversity within it. There are women of all different shapes, sizes, ages, skill levels, and backgrounds that make up the community, and all of our journeys and reasons for being there are unique and special. I will share why I love pole dancing and what keeps me going back for more no matter how many times I go home exhausted with sore muscles and a few new bruises from trying new tricks, but this video titled Why I Dance is one of the most beautiful pieces I have seen. It showcases a bunch of women and why they pole dance, plus the dancing in the video is gorgeous and gets me inspired every time I watch it, so if my reasons aren’t enough or you just want to see and hear more go check out that video, it is amazing!
I Pole Dance Because: It is great exercise
When I first stepped foot in class I not only couldn’t touch my toes, I could only touch my knees in a forward hang. When I first stepped into class I was looking for something to get me so wrapped up that I didn’t even realize I was exercising even though I was like soccer had done for me for so many years. When I stepped into class the first time I couldn’t open most jars or cans on my own because my arm strength was basically non existent. When I walked into that first class I had sweaty hands, no grip strength, and was brought to tears by the idea of supporting my body with my hands on a pole and my feet off the ground even for only a few seconds. When I walked into class that first time I didn’t think I would ever be able to do any of it, but I wanted to try.
Now I am so close to being able to do the first pull up of my life. Now I can do over a dozen different spins on the pole. Now I can climb and sit on the pole and am well on my way to new tricks. Now my abs have definition to them and strength. Now my legs are toned. Now I am an inch from being able to touch my toes in a forward hang. Now I see how much progress I have made in a few months and how much more I can make if it stick with it in the future.
I Pole Dance Because: It lets me forget the world
If you have been around here for a little while you probably know that I have some major anxiety and have quite the tendency to get stressed out. I have been finding so many things that help me calm down and relax, but by far dancing is one of the biggest for me. There are many things that when I start feeling myself getting overwhelmed that I will say no to or cancel from my schedule, dance is not one of them. Even when I’m having a really stressed out or overwhelming day I will go to dance class because without a doubt I will end up leaving feeling so much better.
When I dance I really have an opportunity to get out of my head and just feel the music on my body. It is one of the few times in my life that I can easily just let the world go and take some time for myself. Even in classes when I am learning new things instead of just dancing I am focusing so much on getting that new trick that everything going on outside of class just falls away.
I Pole Dance Because: It is a creative outlet for me
I have always loved dancing as an art form but I have never really gotten into it myself. Now that I have I can’t get enough of it. Every class we have different themes to inspire our dance, sometimes they are music inspiration and sometimes they are clothing inspiration and sometimes they are emotional inspiration, but either way I love taking those to heart and pushing myself to try different things. I’ve worn all sorts of different clothes to dance class, pushed my body in all different shapes and directions and dance moves both on and off the pole, and danced to a wide variety of music styles. It is so much fun for me to flex this creative muscle and get all my emotions and feelings out through my dance.
I Pole Dance Because: It empowers me
Self confidence has not always been my strong suit and although I have made a ton of progress in that area prior to starting dance, dancing has fast forwarded that process so much. When I started dance I didn’t trust my body to be able to do any of the things I can now do and I had so much fear in me. While I’m certainly not fearless now dance has forced me to push myself in ways I never expected I would be able to. The instructors and other girls at my studio are so amazing and have helped me and encouraged me so much along the way. I feel so much more comfortable in my skin while in class and outside of class now than I have ever felt before in my life and I know that dance, the things I learn in class, and the amazing women I have been able to meet because of it play a big role in this positive change in my life.
How about you, what is your favorite form of exercise? Is there something that you love doing that makes you feel empowered and fulfilled that you wish you could share with others? Have you tried pole dancing before?