Blog 6 Stretch Class

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Blog 6 Pole Stretch Class

I’m into my second week of inters it’s definitely a growing experience but I would like to save that for another blog. I have the feeling that inters may take up a few blogs, that’s if I survive it.

For this week I would like to talk about stretch class. I never used to stretch then I started doing a little with circus class and Hit Ball. I backed this up with doing more in my own time but I had never been to a weekly stretch class until now. I have a pole mentor and she said if you want to be able to do the pretty moves you have to be able to bend, so off Trishy toddled to pole stretch. Let me tell you pole stretch takes stretching to a whole new level.

You do stretching of course in the beginning and the end of your regular pole class and that gives you a taster for their stretches but yowza the dedicated stretch lessons are amazing.

On Thursday night the class starts at 8.30 and that’s pretty much time for jim jams and cocoa but I thought suck it up Trishy you want to be able to bend. Tina takes Thursday night and she’s a stretch guru. She gives you a stretch that you’ve known for years and then she tweeks it and says just go a little further or just turn a little that way or just try this position. I can’t work out if it’s exhilarating or torture and I suspect it’s somewhere in between but at the end of the class you feel long and lean and flexy, it’s amazing. After these classes my joints feel less stiff, it’s like a stretch work out. If you live in Adelaide I would recommend you come to our studio and try it. Tina is uber bendy, so she’s walking the talk, she is an actual example of what people can aspire to in the world of stretching, very cool stuff.

Giang takes the Saturday stretch class and this Saturday we did backs. My goodness I felt like I had been on a rack and someone had just stretched my back right out. We used yoga blocks and we bent one way then the other and it was Heaven. I’ve never had great flexibility bending backwards and she gave us some exercises that would work on that as well as strengthen your back.

These two instructors have reignited my love of stretching. I’m going to be really interested to see what my body is capable of. There is this lovely stretch which is a variation on the pigeon pose. Ella in our class does it beautifully and I want this so I’m already practising that one at home. This is what I’m talking about.

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I’m also starting to wonder about the positive effects of stretching rather than just learning a cool move. I know strength is good as we grow older but I’m wondering now about stretch. I know I feel better after I stretch but I’m wondering if this is another way to get into old age more mobile, with less pain from joints and so on. I’m very interested in fitness being a life long activity rather than just do it until you can do it no more. There are some extremely senior yoga people out there that are pretty darn flexy.

I wanted to mention one more thing before I go. It’s trust again which seems to be a recurring theme in my blogs. If you don’t trust your instructor, if you don’t trust the person you are partner stretching with, the experience is miserable. Even if it takes you a couple of classes to make up your mind about your instructor or who in your class is good to partner up with it’s worth it to take the extra time. I need to trust the people who are saying do this and bend that. I need to know that they can do what they are asking me to do and that they care how I am progressing rather than just “Away you go, go give that a burl”. A lovely aspect of the Sky High Pole and Fitness studio is that all of the instructors engender that trust.

Allrighty thank you for reading and I’ll talk to you next week.

: Please note I don’t own these images. I found them on the internet, liked them and that’s why I’m using them. If you know who I need to give credit to for them please let me know.

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Blog 5 Horses and Unicorns

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It was a huge week for me in Pole. We had a really fun class in Friday night beginners and I was still pursuing my strategy of displaying strength moves whenever possible to see if that would get me graduated from beginners to intermediate. I figured even if it didn’t, I would still be increasing my strength and practising cool moves. At the end of the lesson Sarah comes up and says can you dive? I said no. She said have you tried? I said no. She said want to? I said yes and then all of a sudden it was put a leg here and squeeze your knees tight and let go of your hands and all of a sudden I was in the middle of a dive. Then Sarah looked straight at me and said “you’re in the intermediate class”. Approximately 8.15pm on July 23rd 2017 I got what I had been hoping for, I had graduated from beginners to intermediate classes. A whole new world was about to open up for me.

Saturday then meant I cancelled my beginner class and enrolled for my first inters class because that’s what we in intermediate call them you know, Inters. My first job was to not go into a total panic for being in a new class, my second job was to remind myself I didn’t have to prove myself to anybody, Sarah had said I could do intermediate and Sarah is the bomb. If she says it, I believe it. I also had Emily instructing and Emily would totally tell me to rack off if she didn’t think I was up to snuff. Emily is one of those gorgeous creatures who is also totally down to earth it’s a really funny combination.

My third job on entering inters was to buy myself a new top from the clothes rack out the front because as we all know if you can’t do something at least look the part.

There were two people in the class. One was superwoman and one was me, I was not deterred. The good thing about two people in a class is that you get lots of attention. The bad thing about two people in a class is that you get lots of attention. I was so tired at the end of the lesson that I drove out of the car park, found a quiet street turned the car off, locked the doors and maybe I slept maybe I passed out. When I woke up I had one of those where am I who am I experiences so it was a deep deep sleep.

Emily is an awesome instructor, my God. It was all Trish come try this, Trish come and look at this. It was so much fun and I realised that pole has got a great, big, long, interesting road ahead of amazing things to learn.

I felt a little sad that I hadn’t started this earlier like in my twenties. I wouldn’t have had the courage to wear a two piece outfit in my twenties and that’s because of allowing myself to have my wings clipped by people around me. This is the whole unicorns and horses thing.

There is a running joke in the pole community about unicorns and horses. Unicorns fly, horses are beasts of burden. I’m not knocking horses, it’s an allegory. If you are not careful about who you have around you, if you allow down trodden beasts of burden to say to you, don’t wear that, don’t stand up, don’t shout out, don’t colour your hair, conform, fit in, get the job, get the house and you follow all of these rules and then you see they are still not happy and neither are you. Unicorns fly, they sparkle, they have colour, they do pole, they express themselves, and they are free. They do not care if they are big or small or have scars, they don’t care if they are good at something or bad at something as long as they are enjoying themselves, unicorns just have a ball.

Saturdays class and graduating Friday has shown me that the world is out there for me I just have to pick what I want. It’s a very cool place to be in. Emily is going to show me a heap of cool moves. Sarah is going to show me handsprings. Wow people just wow!

Thank you Universe for providing this studio, these instructors and my fellow students who I love to bits.

Blog 4 Dance Class

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Blog 4 Pole Dance Class

Every Wednesday night at 8.30 I have dance class and I wait all week for it. This is a chance for us to use the moves we’ve been learning and string them together to a song and something magical happens.

Emily is our instructor for this and what she does is quite incredible. In one hour she teaches us a dance. She breaks it down so that we can get each move. She goes over anything that we haven’t understood but how the heck she does this every time in just an hour I’ll never know.  She hasn’t made the dances so easy that you barely need to concentrate and she hasn’t made them so hard that you think what the hell am I doing here. I guess it all comes down to secret instructor business and they know what a beginner can probably do and what they can’t. Now the magic doesn’t stop here though.

I had not had a great day on Wednesday, it was a very low energy day, it’s Winter here, so by 8.30 it was rainy, dark and cold and I hadn’t taken the news of a female Doctor Who well at all. I was feeling battered by people and seriously considered staying home and watching telly with the dogs.

Dance class and the promise of magic each Wednesday night got me out of the house, into the car and off to the studio. I think sometimes just the physical effort of getting up, getting ready and going out will lift your mood. I went to gym first, I went for a walk next and then it was time for dance class.

There is a transformative effect about these classes. I switch off from who I am, what is happening in my life and in the world and for one hour I put my burdens down and I dance and for me it’s better than therapy. Emily chooses moves that take me out of my comfort zone, give me a challenge and makes me concentrate on what we are doing. The hour goes so quickly and she manages to do all of this while giving us a laugh and still supporting everyone.

I’ve been told that a way to deal with being down is to put on a funny you tube clip or something like that but that doesn’t work for me. The combination of going out, meeting lovely class mates, having a laugh, doing things that you would not normally do just lifts you out of yourself. When I get home my only difficulty is to stop buzzing enough to be able to go to sleep but even this morning as I write this I can feel my mood is so much better.
Each week in dance class I’m improving and my current goal is to learn the little things like the head flicks and having some flair with the moves. Dance class has shown me that it’s a real shame to just concentrate on technique I think a large part of dance is freedom and expression and we get that in Emily’s class as well as plain old fun. Sometimes I’m so into what I’m doing I forget all about the timing and last night I ended up turning round and facing poor Stephanie when I should have had my back to her and she didn’t say one word bless her. She laughed, I laughed and we kept going. So chalk up another magical aspect to the class, Emily has created a class where people support each other and have fun they don’t tear each other down. Emily really is a bit magical.
Thank you Universe for providing this studio, these instructors and my fellow students who I love to bits.

Blog 3 Pole Photo shoot

I have always fancied having a professional photo done of me. I always meant to do it and never got around to it. I’m now 51 and figure what the hell if you get the opportunity I say take it.

I had the photo shoot last night and it was a fantastic experience. If you want to feel good about yourself I would really recommend this. Financially speaking it’s the sort of thing that you can invest a lot in or a little in.

So do you buy a new outfit, get a fake tan, get your hair done, make up done and so on. I pretty much did the works but I managed to save a little by hunting down a cheaper outfit I was happy with. Since I now think that I will do this once a year if I get the chance I will probably start looking for next year’s outfit now. These photos can be a way to show how I have progressed at pole.

I got my first fake tan for this experience, yowza that was amazing. Do you have any idea how many people are naked for their fake tans? I was amazed. I didn’t go naked I wasn’t that comfortable with the experience. I got a pedicure and for that part I got to sit in a wonderful massage chair that was close to orgasmic. Sitting in a massage chair was another first.

I had my make up done and my hair done and the lady who did it, Kim, was just lovely. I have some regret that I didn’t go out afterwards to show off the hair and makeup. My shoot was in the evening and it was a wet windy Sunday night so I went home when we were finished but next time I might have the shoot done mid day and go out to lunch or something when we are done.

I was as nervous as hell but I had wanted this done for so long. I was a little sad that the make up didn’t transform me. You know how you see some people without make up and then with and you can barely recognize them? You could recognize me. My before make up shot was a little terrifying and then my after one was still me but better groomed. She did a beautiful job on my hair I just loved that and then I wore false eyelashes for the first time and my goodness that was fun. Getting your hair and make up done makes you feel incredibly special and looked after so I went into the shoot feeling quite prepared and excited for it.

Now I had some positions organized but my beautiful studio owner Scarlett, stayed for the shoot and directed me through it. The photographer was great and he pretty much talked to Scarlet who interpreted for me. When he said be parallel to me and I was scratching my head for how I could make that happen Scarlett would jump up and say foot there, head there, look that way, point that toe and off we went. She and the photographer had been there since 7.30 in the morning and this was 7.00 at night and both of them were still lovely and patient and friendly. I was amazed, I would have been exhausted.

While the shoot is happening and it took thirty minutes you feel like you are the centre of attention, it is the most wonderful feeling. Afterwards I went and sat with Scarlet’s mum and we chatted and looked at the photos so I could pick some out and it was great. Everything was so relaxed. What it has made me think is that I will now consider doing competitions. If I can handle all of that hub bub and enjoy myself I reckon I could do competitions, so there’s something to think about for the future.

Blog 2 Ego Can Be a Tricky Thing

When I started Pole I had about six months of Crossfit under my belt and a couple of years of circus training plus some experience in static and flying trapeze. I figured come on Pole bring it, I can take what you give out. I knew I was in trouble when Stacey the instructor for a stretch class called a lunge stretch an Ego stretch and I thought; What the? Ego stretch? You mean we shouldn’t go to the point of breaking ourselves so we can get a couple of extra cms on the person stretching next to us. Madness I thought. I am quite competitive and I have learned to tone it down because my goodness competitive people can be a pain in the tush but apparently I hadn’t quite toned it down as much as I thought I had and the Ego stretch was just the start of it.

Just in case you’re wondering, the point of Stacey calling this stretch an Ego stretch is that many people try to go as low as possible and sacrifice doing the stretch properly. You are better off staying higher and getting the position right and then work gradually on going lower and lower. Ego stretch made an impact on me and it was my first introduction to the idea that I would have to change how I do things. Not to worry I thought, I am a big tough person. I shall come to the fore in the strength aspect of Pole.

Before starting Pole class I kept watching clips of these tiny bird like creatures doing moves and I often thought well how hard can it be? Those girls look like they would fall over in a gust of wind, boy was I wrong.

A new studio had opened up and they were offering bargain basement prices and I thought yes please. Since the prices were so cheap, your not the brightest of bloggers thought, right I’m going every day. I did go every day and by the Saturday afternoon when I had started on the Monday I felt physically ill. No fair I thought, it’s just dance, it’s not real exercise, what is going on.

I will never say ‘just dance’ again, ever! Dance is beautiful, there are costumes and glitter and sparkles but my goodness do these people work. Pole performers are strong, they are disciplined and after one week I was in a world of hurt. Stacey again very kindly said it’s just the fact that you are using new muscles but after spending Saturday afternoon feeling physically ill I dialled back my pole appearances to every second day. The assault on my poor ego was not over however.

So now I was in beginner’s class, I got my pole, I got my mat, all was well with my world. The instructor showed a move, I couldn’t do it, that’s ok I’ve never been the fastest in getting things, my strength is in persistence. The problem though was that  in addition to the fact that I nearly died when I tried to do pole every day, in addition to the fact that I was now not able to stretch as low as I had previously because of a need to do the stretch right, if all of that wasn’t enough here was the final kicker and this is why many people quit class, I know because they have told me.

The final kicker is that people who start at the same time as you will progress faster. My God it’s like a wound to my heart. You try your hardest, the move doesn’t come and they just get it in a moment and you chant to yourself, suck it up, suck it up, suck it up. Be happy for them, it will happen for you eventually. The mental strength I am learning from Pole is quite astonishing.

I watched a couple of people progress before me and I thought WHY NOT ME????? Ok I said to myself, let’s look at this objectively. Rather than freak out at your poor pole instructor Scarlett, who is also the lady who owns the studio, and I would rather eviscerate myself than cause her any pain, she’s just a lovely woman. I thought ok go to class and test yourself, have you mastered all that they are teaching in the beginner’s class.

So I made sure I had a nanna nap before going, I had my pole grip, I had some tea before leaving. I was ready, I was pumped. I was going to concentrate very hard and see how much I could do. Scarlett was running the class that night and I set a lot of store by what she says. If Scarlett said no you’re not ready I would suck it up.

I did the class and I shut up and I listened. With every not very subtle opportunity I did more than was asked trying to display my mastery over the moves. You know what? Objectively, honestly, I couldn’t do all of the moves, it had to be said. There are some I can do and there are some I can’t. So I didn’t freak out and call it unfair I said ok, fair cop I will stay in beginners and I will learn all that they are willing to teach me. I actually think that Pole is going to make me more reasonable in terms of my own training. Pole is a fascinating journey.

 

Blog 1 What Do You Do When You Can’t Use Your Trapeze

I haven’t written a blog in a long long time and that’s because various forces of darkness have worked hard to remove much of what I enjoy. However I have prevailed. Circus has gone and for the moment so has trapeze but I have found a couple of things to keep me happy while I wait for at least trapeze to come back and who knows about circus, never say never.

Two things I have discovered have saved my sanity and they are Crossfit and Pole. Today’s blog will be about Pole.

To begin with I have found a pole studio that is close to home. This is an incredible luxury, no more one hour trips there and back for me. It’s a brand new studio and it’s clean and lovely with this great colour décor and beautiful lights. I’m a sucker for fairy lights they just make me happy.

The prices are great and the instructors are wonderful. I joined because I wanted to learn the flag and I wanted to be more comfortable in my own skin but I am getting so much more out of this experience.

I go to Sky High Pole and Fitness and it is my happy place.  I have met many fantastic, interesting, funny kind people, people that I would never have met otherwise.

There is an atmosphere in this place that is safe, encouraging, friendly and funny. The owner can regularly be seen in a lamb onesie and when I saw her in that the first time I thought, these are my people and it just got better. My Monday and Friday instructor is pretty much an amazon and I want to grow up and be just like her. My Wednesday instructor is teaching me moves that I never dreamed I could do and she breaks it down bit by bit. I don’t get all of it but it doesn’t matter I know I will get it in time and I know that every class I go to will progress my ability in the move.

In this blog I would like to talk about my Saturday instructor, I suspect I have known her in many previous lives. She is a female soul mate.  She starts her lessons by saying, “think about your intention for the lesson”. I love this idea so much that I use it for just about everything I do now. She has unicorn coloured hair which changes colour every time her head moves and she’s so kind it’s ridiculous. What possibly some trainers forget is that if you do not get your students to trust you or feel comfortable with you they won’t perform or succeed as well as they could. They have figured this out in Sky High Pole and Fitness, Stacey sets the scene in her classes. She spends time getting to know everyone and she makes sure everyone gets value out of the class. I’ve seen the other instructors do it too. They are really skilled at getting around to everyone in the class, having a laugh, having a joke, it’s really impressive.

Stacey does a very good Voloceraptor and before pole I hadn’t seen anyone do a Voloceraptor. The lamb Onesie got involved too and I remember thinking who else could be in a room with a Voloceraptor and a Lamb Onesie, there can’t be that many.

Apart from some near monkey strength, what Pole has given me is some confidence that I did not have before. I’ve never worn the outfits that I have worn in pole before and nobody cares, nobody looks, it’s awesome.  The first time I showed my stomach, it was a huge deal for me and I looked around and nobody in the class even looked in my direction. I remember thinking well here I am my stomach is out and nobody cares, it blew my mind.

Now this Saturday just gone I had woken up in the night with chest pains that were dreadful. I finally went back to sleep I got up Saturday and was greeted with the mother of all anxiety attacks. I know how to deal with them and I dealt with it, then I was exhausted because it’s like going on a rollercoaster. I skipped gym thinking you’re not safe to drive and then the roller coaster went up and I had nearly manic energy. I thought stay home Morton you are not fit for the outdoors but then I remembered Saturday means Pole for the Soul.

I curbed my mania I got in my car and I headed for the studio. Lack of sleep and still riding the rollercoaster meant that I achieved very little in class but again I knew that I was progressing each move even if I was just toughening up the skin and then at the end of the lesson it was time for Pole For the Soul.

Stacey says we need time to just dance and move to one song so she makes time at the end of the lesson to do this. She calls it Pole for the Soul and she warms you up for it. She explains that no-one is watching, she gives you some simple moves you can do and she says she will dance as well so there really is no-one watching. I’ve never been able to do anything unscripted until we started these sessions and I love it. I’m not doing much but it’s like a moving meditation and afterwards I feel the same as if I had had an hour of yoga, I am so grateful for these classes and I am so grateful this studio opened.