Blog 4 Roadblocks

quite_a_road_block

Blog 4 Roadblocks

 

I am fascinated by road blocks in life and how they affect the course of your life. You can be travelling just beautifully and then you get sick, or injured, or your trainer gets sick or injured, or you have an argument with a person and it’s not comfortable to stay where you are. For all of these scenarios a flowchart pops up in my head, one arrow goes to stop training and the other arrow goes to all the other options; Find a new facility, find a new trainer, recover from your injury or face option one – stop training.

I use Bruce Lee as my inspiration. He achieved so much in his short life span and he experienced many road blocks. It is his attitude to those road blocks and how he didn’t let them derail his goals that truly inspired me. When life throws me a curve ball, I say to myself what would Bruce Lee have done? If you’re interested he has written a book about his views on just about every subject you could imagine. It’s a terrific read and for me it is like my bible. It’s called Striking Thoughts, Bruce Lee’s Wisdom for Daily Living.

I myself have faced many roadblocks. I’ve had a major illness which ended up being the path to bendiness because I spent all of my time stretching in the hospital while waiting for appointments. I’ve had a trainer get injured and I had to go and find another one. I’ve had my fair share of arguments and I’m working on that part of my character to see if I can get smarter at dodging them. The Universe has been kind about injuries but she gave me a good dose of surgeries through my illness to compensate.

Each time one of these setbacks occurred I faced the prospect of stopping training. It makes you run an evaluation of why you are training. What are you getting out of it because this is an opportunity to try something new. Each time a roadblock pops up I look at two possible paths before me, stop or find somewhere else to train, stop or find someone else to train with, stop or get your body back into condition, it’s a daunting task. It’s like someone has kicked your legs out from under you and you have to get up, dust off and go back to it. It does make you quite tough though to be able to do this over and over again and you may find that new trainers, new facilities or a new body may bring welcome changes.

Allrighty, the week that was. I was crook for Stomp so that didn’t happen. I was very sad about the money that went down the drain on that one. I’m at a new pole studio and I’m loving my lessons there. I need to work on a little more courage for some of these moves though. I had the offer of being shown a flip on Monday night and I was too scared to try it and I’ve been kicking myself ever since. If my Monday night trainer offers again I’m going to say yes please. Thursday night at Pole was the funniest of nights because this trainer offered to show me a suicide spin and all of my regrets from Monday went out the window. I said quite cheerfully , not on your life. To try and redeem my cowardly self in this trainer’s eyes I attempted the banana split but it had no appeal! Boom! Did you see what I did there??? Three of us were being challenged with the suicide spin and while we were doing that (or not doing that as the case might be), three beginners were doing carousel spins. They were all young, they were all gorgeous and they were doing their spins in sync. It was surreal having them go around and around their poles so serenely and beautifully while our trainer was trying to cajole us into attempting the suicide spin. I tell you that baby isn’t even on my to do list. The suicide spin is on my nup list. I also did a dance class on Thursday and I love those classes. I can be someone else when I do those classes and next week we are doing an exotic routine???? Stay tuned for that one.

Thursday gym was just crazy. It was ten rounds of pull ups pretty much, for each round you had to do 3 pull ups, 7 jumping pull ups, maybe 14 ring rows. I’m not sure on the ring rows or the jumping pull ups, the pain was in the negative pull ups and that’s what I remember. I ended up doing 39 negative pull ups. I took my shoes off in a desperate attempt to remove weight. It was an appalling workout even with the massive amount of scaling I applied to it. I couldn’t even do one strict pull up so God knows what was wrong with me that day. If you were wondering how the hell did she get 39 out of the negative pull ups, it’s because I finished quickly so I got given another three rounds.

Friday was muscle up club and I had managed to do my muscle up homework every single day this week. I really noticed the difference between my performance this week and last week, I was heaps stronger. Hopefully this motivates me to do as much homework this week. Even before this muscle up arrives it’s going to be very cool to be able to do a ring dip. There’s people in the gym who can just do a ring dip no probs and I huff and I puff but nothings happened yet but each week I do feel stronger. Watch this space.

I didn’t have much to give for Saturday’s workout but I feel like I should get brownie points for turning up and having a good go at it. Every workout I go to I learn something new, push a new boundary or find out something about a person I never knew before. So I finished earlier than normal on Saturday and a guy at the gym who I didn’t think gave a stuff asked me if I was ok, as in had I stopped because I was injured. I was seriously chuffed by that. I also got a chance to watch one of the women at Crossfit when I had finished my workout and this woman has the best attitude towards just about everything. She’s married, has a child, she’s a coach, she’s super fit and gorgeous to look at but the reason why I love her is her approach to life. She’s always smiling, she’s never phased by the workouts, she’s uber strong. This is the thing about Crossfit, it introduces you to inspirational people. It is a great community in Crossfit.

A lot of us are doing a rowing challenge tomorrow to raise funds for a young couple who need some help. It should be a fun day.

If I had allowed the roadblocks to stop me I wouldn’t be having any of these experiences now. I would be home sitting on the couch and ‘sitting down in my life’. That’s a quote from Five People You Meet In Heaven. If you get a chance you should read that book, it is amazing!

Thank you for reading, catch you next week.

Advertisements

Blog 1 (Because I forgot to make it No 1 when 2018 started – Oops) Where do I start?

Ayesha

I have had the most amazing weekend of pole. It’s hard to know where to start because so many amazing things happened. Even using the word amazing is problematic because I am concerned about the use of hyperbole. Oh really Trish? Another amazing pole session? Was it as amazing as the last amazing one or the amazing one before that? So I am going to go out on a limb and say this weekend for this humble blogger was life changing now you have to admit life changing doesn’t happen all the time.

We had a new teacher Ali and I don’t normally handle change well. However previous teachers have said you should try new teachers because they may give you a different way of looking at things that your regular teacher hasn’t. New teachers  also shake things up and stop you being complacent.

So I rocked up to Friday’s class and I shared this class with Tania (couple of years of pole and can do a cool pencil trick) and Megan (can do just about every trick you can imagine on both sides). I thought that’s cool, I’ll let these two eagles soar and I can pick up stuff on the periphery. I like the periphery, the central spot light is a hot and demanding place.

Well Ali wasn’t having any of this. She kept challenging Tania and Megan and then she kept rocking up in front of me and saying ok I’ll spot you, let’s give it a go. I thought it only fair to let her know that I may be in intermediates but I would be low intermediates. Ali didn’t seem to mind and I managed to do moves that I had not done before.

So this is the thing with a new teacher, they will focus on things that you may not have given much attention to. I’m going to put my hand up now and admit something. My name is Trish Morton and I don’t train both sides. There I said it. Ali’s class was a world of both sides, even just climbing a pole on your less favoured side is a challenge.

She asked the wonderful question of “what is your favourite move?” I don’t think I quite ran over Tania and Megan in my race to answer but I’m petty sure they knew what was coming. My hand shot up before I had even thought about it, “Ayesha Let’s do Ayesha”. So because Tania and Megan are truly lovely people they did not object and off we went practising our Ayesha.

Every move Ali does is gorgeous, she demonstrated an Ayesha from a dive and it was slow and controlled. Curl your legs in, find your balance point and then extend your legs. As Ali came out of the demonstration she did something that looked suspiciously like an Iron X and up went my hand again. Ali can you Iron X? Yes she said and I thought Ali is ok in my book.

So I tried Ayesha this way and had a little success. It was better than it had been before but it wasn’t there. I was happy we had just practised it.

At the very end of the class Ali said something that surprised me very much. She said after saying that I had done well in class that I needed to stop talking down about myself. Now Stephanie from other classes had said something similar previously but it hadn’t hit home until I put her comment and Ali’s together.

I had to go out and run an errand before the my next class started so that gave me time to think about the comment. To begin with I thought, she’s mad, I am the power of positivity, I tell other people off or at least pull them up when they speak down about themselves. I was gobsmacked to think that I was doing it myself. I had always thought I was just being honest about my abilities but was I? Maybe I was one of those people who speak down about themselves. Ok I thought I’m going to fix that up right now.

This is going to be such a long blog for anyone to read. You might want to stop here and go and have a break I still have a ton of stuff to get through.

I had a one hour break while they held a beginner class and by the way congratulations on that Sky High Pole and Fitness, the class was full, there wasn’t even a pole for the instructor, she had to share.

The next class on that fateful Friday night was a dance class run by Ali and the routine was to Christine Aguilera’s Express. Now I need to give a little preamble here.

When I started pole I did not have a good body image. Pole fixed that. I am now comfortable in my own skin and that’s a lovely place to be. Something I have always wanted though and have been curious as to whether I could ever actually achieve it, is,

drum roll please,

sex appeal.

There publish and be damned I say. Is sex appeal something that can be learnt or is it just a natural thing that some people have and some people don’t? Is it a mental thing, is it an asset thing, is it size or shape or age? What is it and how do you get it? Think Sophie Lauren, Audrey Hepburn, Adelaide’s own Nona Mona, these ladies all have it and I want some. So when Pole first started Exotic classes I thought way you go Trishy that’ll see you right. I bought some kick ass boots and then I promptly never tried on the boots and never went to the exotic class. Fast forward to Friday night’s class.

The routine Ali was offering was a mini burlesque beginner routine and to me that sounded like a sampler of the Exotic class. Bec from gym very kindly came with me and we stationed ourselves at the back of the class.

The routine was easy and it was fun and it was a bit sexy. There were these bits when you kind of popped and I thought, this is a life I don’t often experience. This was a world away from dogs, cats, birds, horses and donkeys. It was fun and I was still dancing as we left the studio and went to our cars. I was still dancing in the kitchen making my cocoa that night and I was still dancing the next day doing my chores. I was setting up the horse feed singing Express and still doing pirouettes. So it doesn’t matter if you’re old, if you’re scarred, if you’re not particularly co-ordinated. You can still have a lot of fun doing these routines. This was a life changing concept for me.

A couple of funny things to share. One was that Bec and I went to the back of the class and then Ali rotated the class so that suddenly Bec and I were at the front of the class when everyone faced the back wall and I thought, mm that strategy didn’t work well. Then Bec said the funniest thing and I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing it. There was a tricky move and I said to Bec just fake it if you can’t get it. Bec is a stunning red head who is super strong. She doesn’t miss a beat. She says if I can’t get a move I’ll just get my tits out and no-one will notice. I nearly had a heart attack I thought that was so funny.

Now what this dance class did for me was to show me that no–one apart from the teacher is watching you when you’re in class, all the other students are concentrating on their moves. You can be shown sexy moves so sexiness and sex appeal can be learned. How well you learn it is your own business but it is not the purvey of the naturally inclined. Important point number two is and I hope you are paying attention because this one is gold. Whether you look sexy, whether you can act sexy or come across as someone with sex appeal is one thing. The real gold in my humble opinion is how the dance makes you feel. I felt pretty dam good about myself after that class and I knew that I didn’t look different. Something had changed on the inside. I had been given a pass to something I hadn’t had before. It was life changing. I predict there will be more dances in the paddock while feeding the horses coming up. Pole is magical, it is transformative.

Ok suggested break number two, cup of tea and a biscuit???

Saturday morning I was back at pole and Ali was taking the class. She asked the, “What is your favourite move” question and with a force of will I never knew I had I kept my hand down and she laughed and said yes Trish the Ayesha. We did a lot of both sides training again which seriously messed with my head. We did some very pretty chopper to butterfly combos and I got leg hangs like I rarely have got them before. Finally because I knew I only had a certain amount of strength I said can we do Ayeshas now. Yes Trish Ali said you can do Ayeshas now.

So I practiced what Ali had told us Friday night. Go up slow, dive, curl your legs, find your balance and then extend and oh my god the Ayesha was mine. It felt rock solid. I could never understand why I couldn’t get it because I am strong, that is one of my strong suits (ho ho). So it’s strength and balance. Nail those two and you can have the move.

I have wanted the Ayesha for a very long time. I got Ali to take my picture and I will get it printed out and stick it on my fridge. This is a move that I wanted, didn’t have and have now got. It was mind blowing. There is now a very real chance that I will be writing a blog with me doing an Iron X. OMG!!!!! Who knows there could be a hand spring in my future maybe a full pole drop. I feel like the world is my oyster. What do you want? Work for it and you can have it. I left that pole studio feeling invisible. How much would you pay for that feeling? Good God people all that happened in one weekend. We did iguana stuff but I don’t care I only had eyes for the Ayesha but Tania is going to show me her cool pencil trick I quite fancy that.

Thanks for reading

Thank you Universe for Sky High Pole and Fitness, it’s a magical place.

Blog 26 Stretch Class

stretchbear

Sky High Pole and Fitness (Shameless plug) run a couple of stretch classes and I go to the Saturday one. At the moment Adelaide is a furnace so it’s a bit of a big deal for me to haul my weary tush into the class when it’s 37 degrees outside and you haven’t had much sleep.

However, it is the sort of class that you don’t want to miss if you can possibly help it. Giang runs the class and it’s a really good class.

Part of the magic of this class is that you get tons of time for each stretch. I’ve done sessions in other places where you get maybe ten or fifteen seconds on a stretch. It’s not bad but we go forever in our stretches. I mean governments change, seasons change, days, weeks, months go by, before we come out of a stretch. I’m exaggerating just a tiny bit but yesterday when I really honestly thought is Giang ever going to say come out of this stretch I felt myself go deeper in the stretch. It was like one minute, tight, tighter, excruciating, then oh I’ve just moved down a couple of millimetres it was amazing.

While I was doing this stretch that lasted a thousand years, I had a lot of time for reflection. Normally I sleep in the stretches. I’m so tired from doing Crossfit or Giang’s pole class before her stretch class that I shut my eyes and power nap whenever I get the chance. However today I had only come out of my air conditioned cave for the stretch class so compared to how I was normally, I was pretty awake.

We were in this stretch and it was uncomfortable. I had twisted my knee the previous week helping to unload hay, that was flat out embarrassing, picture me saying I’ll help you unload, to my lovely hay man and then after two bales, ooh no I won’t. So I’m in this stretch and it hurts but it isn’t stabby. Giang says try and stay in the stretch if you can but if it’s painful come out. So I’m in this stretch and just for once I’m actually awake and I’m thinking it would be so easy just to move my leg out, just get up and stop, just change position and stop the stretch. This was after I had been to my happy place a couple of times and been back. I thought yes I could do that but at some point you have to decide do you really trust the person taking the class. Do you think she means for you to be in this stretch for this long and if you do and you trust her then you stay put. So I stayed put and I stayed awake and I felt my body go tight tighter excruciating and then relief, lower, it was kind of amazing.

I had made a joke earlier that we could do the class via a television in the studio and we could all stay home and follow along but there is no way I would have stayed in the stretch for that long. Also Giang was coming around readjusting people, getting them straight and you can’t get that from a video.

I need stretch for Pole but I also do stretch because I believe it strengthens your body. I know a lot of people say oh you can be strong or you can be flexible but you can’t have both but I disagree. I think flexibility makes your joints supple rather than stiff and it means you will bend before you break. I can’t prove this but I’ve seen some elderly folk who are very flexible and they look like their bodies are treating them very well. I’ve seen other people very hunched up and stiff so I would like to join the first group please.

I also think stretching is cool just for the shapes you can make and what your body can do. It’s also amazingly relaxing. I come out of stretch class and all my joints feel stretched out and limber. I feel like I’ve just had a yoga class in the sense of how relaxed I feel and it’s helping me with my pole. I also don’t get very sore with exercise and I wonder if the stretch class is helping with that too.

I think the pole stretch class is a little undiscovered gem at my studio. I think it has all of these benefits, only one of which is helping with pole.

It’s an amazing class. If you find a teacher that you’re really happy with you will move heaven and earth to get to their classes.

Thanks for reading

Thank you Universe for Sky High Pole and Fitness, it’s a wonderful place.

Blog 25 Dance Class

4458_Chorus-Girl-2So my pole studio runs a lesson called Combo and Floorwork. They have these sessions for each level of student and if there is a vacancy, a level above is allowed to go to a level below class. So there was a vacancy in Friday’s class and the teacher Sarah was doing a routine to Sia’s Elastic Heart which is a song that I adore.

I’m sure we’ve all seen the video clip to Elastic Heart and if you haven’t just google it, it’s right there waiting for you. I had always thought there is no way I could do a credible dance to that song. Sure I could jig around, especially with a little alcohol inside me but an actual choreographed dance? I wanted to see if I could do that.

Do you know what? I released my inner Maddie Ziegler and I gave it a red hot go. It helped that Sarah came up with this really cool routine. We did this bit where we leaned forward around the pole and our arms were out I guess in these two sort of downward right angles. That looked really cool. Then you grab the pole with one arm, still staring at the mirror then you switch arms and when we are all doing it at the same time, it just looks excellent. I know it would be better explained with a video but I’m not techo enough for that. Anyhoo for a couple of beats you are in this pose staring at the mirror and it was just brilliant. You forget how old you are, you forget how crappy your day or your week has been. You actually just lose yourself in the dance.

Now just imagine looking at your reflection in the mirror as you do this dance and being happy with what you see? How much would you pay for that? I loved that lesson, I truly honestly loved that lesson, well done Sarah on a fantastic choreography. 

I did a dance class as well with Emily on Monday and I discovered when I got home that I could practice pirouettes and body rolls with my hills hoist. So I’m putting out the washing the next day, side stepping dogs and practising her routine. I was doing body rolls against the hills hoist and when I did them I wasn’t a person who had just picked up the horse poop, or fed the dogs or mopped the floor, I was someone in a studio doing a cool dance to cool music wearing a cool outfit. Thanks Emily, brilliant class.

There is something about doing what you love being so beneficial to you. When you do what you love it takes all the toxic people out of your system and you are transformed. I would urge everyone to find what they love and do it, you will become a different person.

This has got to get a mention. Monday night I did a Tammy with a fair bit of encouragement from Emily, cheers for that Emily. I also have started the process to learn drops from Sarah and I thought they would be a super duper mega advanced move and no there is a version they can teach us where we won’t die. How cool is that?

We had a class Saturday and I had a case of the ‘fats’. There was me and the mirror and I was pulling myself to pieces. A very smart lady on Face book showed her friends a picture of them as little kids and she said would you say those hurtful things to this little kid. So I started looking in that mirror and remembering me as a little kid. Then I started looking at my body, and this was all while we were doing our exercises, and I started critically looking and finding what I liked instead of what I didn’t like. It’s a really interesting exercise. So I liked my legs, I liked my arms and all of a sudden your attention goes to them instead of what you don’t like about yourself. You should try it if you ever get a case of the fats it’s a very good exercise.

I’ve been having a few conversations with this little girl I used to be. I had almost forgotten about her. It’s actually hard to rubbish yourself when you know that you are rubbishing her.

I love my pole studio. It is my happy place. I made a deal with myself that regardless of how I felt I would show up for class and it is paying off. My mental state feels so much better.

Thanks for reading, go find what you love if you haven’t already, it is the best thing you can do.

Thank you Universe for physical fitness, dance, kind and funny instructors and Sia – thanks for Sia she’s all kinds of awesome.

 

 

Blog 23 A Most Thought Provoking Conversation

baby

Have you ever had a conversation with a person and it left you thinking about it for hours and possibly days afterwards? I had such a conversation a couple of days ago and I want to share some of it with you.

I was talking to a friend from Pole and she told me about some of her experiences as a student in another dance discipline. Her conversation got me to thinking.

The dance discipline she had attended is an old and respected one and it is very common for people to send their daughters for lessons and nobody blinks an eye. I imagine that if you said you were sending your six year old to a pole class there could well be some eye blinking, but is this fair and is this justified?

Back to the old discipline, the friend talked about walking into a room to take exams and being looked over by students and mums rather than given a smile as you enter. You walk into a pole studio people say hello and greet you.

She talked about other students being told that they did not have the right body type to do this form of dancing and those students being terribly upset and remember we are talking about young people here not hardened adults. In Pole we take you as you come, big, small, tall, short, it doesn’t matter they make it work. Isn’t that how it should be?

She talked about how she wasn’t able to achieve full extension in a move and that, that would limit how far she could go in that discipline. In Pole if you can’t do a move there are a million others you can have a go at and nobody cares if there is one thing you can’t do. Which lesson would you like your daughters or sons to learn? You can choose from – you’re not good enough as in discipline one or you’re plenty good enough as in Pole. If I had a daughter or a son interested in dance I would be choosing option two.

Now she’s not the only one that has told me about dodgy things happening from this discipline and to be honest I have heard some hair raising stories in gymnastics too. For instance, if you haven’t achieved your splits you’re out. If you don’t have your handstand by a certain age you’re out. I’m sure there are many studios and clubs out there that are lovely and inclusive and supportive but if you’re considering your child joining one how do you find out what life lessons they are actually teaching?

We’re not talking about joining the Australian Ballet or the Gymnastic Olympic team, maybe at that level sure you have to get a bit harsh. We are talking about children keeping fit, expressing themselves in art and feeling good about themselves.

So there was that part of the conversation and that really got me to thinking. Then we moved on to how Pole makes you comfortable in your own skin. Now this my friends is worth a million dollars and this is why I think we should be encouraging kids, women and men to do Pole.

My experience of Pole has been that it is transformative both physically and mentally. I have only been doing Pole since April and I am an older person with a lot of scars and I did not feel confident about my body. In Pole it is practical to wear less rather than more because you stick to the pole better. So all of a sudden it’s not about you only wear the outfits if you look good or feel good you wear the outfits because it’s practical and then lo and behold you start feeling good in them. I remember when I started, I was talking with other beginner students and it was a big deal to show our bellies. My friend from the first conversation said exactly the same thing. Now we wouldn’t bat an eye lid. I wish I had had that confidence when I was younger.

I watched the TV series the Handmaid’s Tale and if you haven’t seen it I would really recommend it. Women have to dress modestly, they are hot, uncomfortable, they do not have full vision because of the head gear. How often do we wear clothes that are hot or uncomfortable because we feel we have to cover up? I have fat, I have a scar I have a wrinkle – hide it. Who made these rules and why are we following them? The day I started wearing crop tops at the gym my work outs improved significantly. It had nothing to do with appearance it had everything to do with practicality.

On a regular basis I get females saying to me I couldn’t wear that, I couldn’t do that, I don’t have the body for that. So when did that thinking start and if you could stop your daughters and these days your sons thinking that way wouldn’t you? I know I would.

The idea of covering up and hiding yourself is so hateful and so destructive. I wish I had taken up Pole earlier and I would recommend Pole to anyone who does not feel good about their body or about their inner gifts.

I try changing these ideas with my students at school. I talk about how a strong, fit body is something you want. If you don’t have a strong fit body what can your body do for you, look at what it can do rather than what it can’t do. I promote collaboration, hard work and effort rather than a celebration of talent and competition. It’s a mind shift. I don’t know if I am making any impact but I hope so.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Thank you Universe for Pole and friends and good instructors.

Blog 19 Life Lessons

20171111_123200

Pole was providing some interesting life lessons this week. I’d had a rough week and only managed to get into Pole for the first time on Friday. Forehead slap for this, if I want to be half way decent for Friday, I need to get my tush into pole at least Monday and Wednesday. Well I didn’t and it showed because I was truly abominable at everything I tried. Fortunately abominable is one of my favourite words so at least I get to use that.

Here’s how Friday went and lets all just think a little kind thought for poor bloody Sarah who was running that class. It kind of went like this;

Sarah – Trish try this move.

Trish – (Pretty much Goofy Disney voice) Awww ok. Gave it a burl, not much happened.

Trish try this move.

Same outcome.

And on and on it went. My god I should have tried a spin around the pole to make sure I could still do that.

I did do a Tammy and I was happy with that but I did wonder how Sarah felt at the end of the session, some lessons must be a hard slog for her if she thinks some of the students aren’t progressing. I hope she knows I love her to bits and enjoy her classes. There were three other girls who were going along great guns so that may have been enough to show her that her training was not in vain and to be honest I figure if I show up it’s better than on Facebook all night.

Sarah asked me at the end, was this session too hard for you? Yes I answered cheerfully. I had found it bloody difficult but as I said to Sarah if I don’t go to the hard sessions I will be bleating about, where’s my Iron X? Why hasn’t it arrived yet? At some point I need to get out of my comfort zone. Sarah said she practised her Iron X every time she was on the pole so I need to do that. Get your act together Trishy. Sarah can do ten Iron X push ups, have I told you that?

Saturday rolled along and in a truly exhausted state I huffed and puffed my way into pole stretch. I had missed the last two Saturdays because of work and that marathon and I wasn’t going to miss another. So far that morning, I had been to gym, I had run a mile and then walked a mile up a hill and back down because I am doing a ‘run/walk’ 100 miles in November challenge. Stretch was excellent, I was pretty warm going in and it just felt so relaxing this week.

The next lesson was Inters 1 and 2 and I was lucky enough to do this with Stephanie and Megan. Those girls are great to do a class with. They are lovely and supportive. They put so much effort into their own moves. They are willing to take risks, they don’t mind experimenting, they don’t play it safe, they don’t mind not succeeding in front of others and they will just keep trying until they get it. I have a lot of respect for these two and again in life lessons I have learnt a lot from them. Stephanie did this move over and over again until she got it, I found this pretty inspiring. Both of these girls are going to perform eventually and I reckon they are going to wow people.

So I seemed ready to continue my pole history of – don’t know nuffin, can’t do nuffin, but to give Giang her due she wasn’t going to give up. Neither did Sarah last night, is this part of the instructor training manual? Find that student who is not moving and get her to move.

We started doing combinations and I was thinking nup, nup and nup. A couple of things was getting in the way of what I was trying to achieve. Giang showed us the Iguana and I really liked that but I wasn’t able to get into it. Giang said I’ll help you. Now I am a big Clydesdale type of person. I am a crossfitter, I am tallish, I’m just big and gangly and unco-ordinated. I looked at Giang and thought I’ll kill her if I land on her. So I told her I was nervous about hurting her and could she just watch rather than spot but I couldn’t get it by myself. Now just file that one away for the time being.

Next Giang showed us the layback. I had seen the layback right back when I started and I remember thinking you will never get that. I have done or have had done some terrible things to my back and she now protests vigorously if I try to bend her backwards. So with reluctance but with admittedly only the tiniest attempts at this move I said to Giang I can’t go backwards. Try she says.

So I tried and Giang came to spot me and I realised that with the top I was wearing if I went upside down Giang was going to see my scars that my top normally hides. So I got up, explained the situation, promised to wear a different top for next week and that was all done and dusted.

So I’m standing there watching Megan and Steph do amazing thing after amazing thing and there’s me with my non bending back and my incorrect top and I’m thinking have you really examined all the options. You can bend backwards on the gyms GHD machine and you can change your top right now you don’t have to wait until next week. So I changed my top and I said to Giang I would like to have a go please.

So off we trotted, I got up, I got in my seat and I put my brittle, scary, causing me humungus pain back in the hands of Giang. I figured if she dropped me there was a mat but regardless I wanted to know if I could do this.

So to do this move you sit in a seat on the pole. You go backwards and you have to let go to go backwards – scary! Giang had explained before that you don’t have the right leg grip until you start to drop because your leg will move into the right position. So you have to lower yourself without the right grip at first. Scary! Giang is very good at explaining the mechanics of a move. She did it when I was scared of the Dive, she said your hands are doing nothing in this position it’s all legs, let your hands go. I trusted her for the Dive I was going to trust her for this.

You know how the motivational people say do something that scares you every day? This friggin terrified me. I have had wonderful instructors that I have trusted and I have had crap instructors that I trusted. So as I started to lower myself I was putting my total trust in Giang and I realised that Pole is a ballsy game. We do scary stuff. I know this wouldn’t bother other people at all but I found it terrifying.

So I was sitting on the pole, my leg was not in the right position yet. I let my hand go and my leg starts to drop and I start to head for the floor. I have to let the other hand go and for a moment it’s just legs on the pole, hands heading for the floor and my back went backwards. My back that hurt me solidly for five weeks once. My back, that I had to take pills to go to bed and pills to get up because it was so painful. The same back was sitting up and then bending backwards and stagger me if she didn’t let me get back up and regrab the pole. My God people, I got off the pole and I did aeroplanes all over the studio floor.

I wondered going into Pole, if because I had started so much later would I not be able to get some moves and now I am starting to wonder if I can have all of the moves if I am willing to put the time in and if I am brave enough. I never thought I would get the Dive, the Dive came. I never thought I would get the Superman, the Superman arrived and now this layback business. My God, my mind is blown. I am a very happy camper.

My last piece of news is, that at the very end of the class, I had another go at the Iguana. Giang came out of nowhere and said Trish can I help you? I was half up half down at this point. I said ok. These hands lifted me into the air and all of a sudden I was Iguaning all over the place. God I wish I had got a picture of that. It’s such a cool move and I did it, even with a little bit of help. I was stoked. I love Pole.

Thank you Universe for Pole and Instructors and cool moves and not being a wuse.

 

Blog 18 Shoulder Rolls, Spinning Choppers and Leg switches Bitches!!!!!!

2d64b35d71672e00c1673b89de2cf6b3--cartoon-unicorn-cute-unicorn

OMG where do I start? Some lessons you get very little accomplished and you think that’s ok you are building up your strength and if you don’t get the move this time you may get it next time. Some lessons are bloody amazing. Monday night was frickin amazing.

We did this running man move which I liked very much and then we were in for a surprise, shoulder rolls.

I have wanted shoulder rolls for a while. Last Saturday at the Pole Championships I swear every second person was doing shoulder rolls and I thought everyone in the world can do shoulder rolls except me.

Now I should mention here that I have damaged my shoulder previously. I did the AC joint on the Wednesday before an ultra marathon. I still ran/walked the race and my shoulder killed. And yes before you ask I did just name drop an ultra marathon but who knows if I’ll ever do that again so if I get an opportunity to name drop it I’m gunna take it. Anyhoo after that experience I am very touchy about anything to do with shoulders and I’ve never liked rolling backwards.

So Sarah said I’m gunna show you shoulder rolls. Get the mat was my first thought. She showed us and it was beautiful and I stood there kinda feeling like the crippled kid in the Pied Piper of Hamlyn. All the other kids were having a go. In all honesty we had a cupla injured students so it wasn’t quite everyone. But I didn’t have any injuries I just had a big streak of yellow. Not to worry I thought that’s why the Universe gives us spots.

So I said Sarah will you spot me, nobody else asked for spots but I didn’t care. I’m extremely elderly and if I get injured it will take forever to heal. So she did and she talked me through the move and my god I did a bloody shoulder roll. I did not believe it. Have you ever got just exactly what you wanted from the Universe? It’s gorgeous there’s nothing quite like it. The way she showed us takes all the pressure off your neck and it’s as easy as pie and stagger me but I did the shoulder roll front ways, back ways with a mat and then without a mat. Who was this woman teaching us? A frickin magician? I kid you not I have never been able to do shoulder rolls and tonight huzzah!

Well the magic didn’t stop there baby. Sarah says lets do some spinning choppers. Sure I thought I don’t mind me a little spinning chopper action but we didn’t slowly get up and creak around the pole no sir. We took a bit of a run, a bit of a jump and then kapow we were flying. My god I had fun and you know what it was dam close to a bloody aerial fan kick and I thought yessum I like that a lot. I might just mention that I could do these choppers from both sides and I was feeling pretty dam happy.

Right at the finish Sarah showed us this cool flipping trick but I got nowhere with that. I think the Universe was saying “Your head is too big, you will not fit in the car on the way home, your massive ego cannot handle this, we will just pass on this last exercise. So I didn’t get the cool flippy trick but I’m really happy with what I did get.

We had Sarah again on Wednesday and she said ok leg switches. I gave a little sigh and I thought, that’s not for you Trishy that’s for the other kids. So I waited for Sarah to get the other kids started and I figured she would give me an interim move. Over she comes and says would you like to have a go. I realise she means leg switches and I think sure I would love to have a go.

Sarah asks are you ok to let go of your arms during a leg hang and I’m almost cranky. It’s like yes Sarah I can do that bit what does that have to do with a leg switch. My mother didn’t raise a dim child so I kept my big mouth shut and did as I was told and Sarah says ok bring that leg forward, I did and now you can let that one off and switch and I did it. I bloody did it. I did a leg switch. Good God.

I remember looking at those leg switches months ago and thinking keep looking Trishy that’s the closest you’ll ever get to them. It’s so cool how they teach you to bring one leg forward, trap it on the pole then you can remove the other one. Pole is awesome, simply simply awesome. Now I really enjoy saying this:

I did switches bitches ….. boy that feels good to say.

Sarah showed us another fantastic move and I thought yep I’ll have a little of that thank you. So up I climbed and I was hanging upside down like a demented sloth trying to work out which hand went where and which foot went where and all of a sudden Sarah just appears.

How did Sarah just appear like that? Do they teach this in instructor school? Always watch your students and if somebody is doing something new get over there. It was like she appeared out of thin air and it was kind of lovely. All of a sudden I saw her with her arms out and I thought Sarah is hella strong, she’s got me if I fall. Pole instructors are amazing people. We did this cool move and I think it was Ayesha like, blood was starting to pool at the top of my skull, I had been upside down for a while by this time, so it’s hard to remember exactly.

I do recall however that Steph came up to me afterwards and said I can so see you getting the Iron X, that was just verbal crack for me. What a lovely gift to give someone. You should have seen Steph do leg switch after leg switch after leg switch that night it was amazing.

You know I am on school holidays and I really thought about whether I would do Vital Force as well but in all honestly one pole class absolutely tuckers me out. I was stuffed at the finish so I’m going to keep going with single lessons except for Saturdays. Pole is an extremely physical activity.

Giang’s class on Saturday wrapped up an amazing week. Giang’s stretch class is incredible. I have improved so much in the time I have been going. I need to think about doing middle stretch practice at home that would be a very cool thing to have. My side splits are going crazy, two blocks people, booyeah.

The next class I had no energy so that was a hard slog. However when I’m too pooped to do stuff that means I get to watch stuff and in pole you can see some very interesting stuff.

What I had time to watch then while I was too stuffed to do anything was to watch Giang’s teaching style and she is really good. There are two things I base this judgement on so you can decide for yourselves.

The first is, she has a class where the ability level is quite differentiated and today she also had a brand new student. She had to figure out what level the student was at and where she would start a move and she had to do that in two seconds flat before the rest of her students got restless. So then Giang shows us a move and you do that. Then if that is a challenge stay there and work on it. If it’s too easy she will give you the next step and then the next. So everyone is catered for. I think it’s brilliant. It also means that you get to see where the move will take you and that keeps you slogging away.

The second thing she did was amazingly cool. When she demonstrates a move the first thing that struck me was that she can talk and explain the move while she is upside down, she doesn’t even sound puffy. Then I realised that she engineers what she does, I can’t think of a better word for it, so that she is facing us when she is talking so that we can see the move clearly. Now take a minute to absorb that. You are talking about the move and you are doing it so that you get into the move at the right time so that you are facing your students. She even does it so that you can see the move from every angle. I was fascinated by how she was doing this. A brilliant teacher for sure.

Giang is starting to show us progressions with our moves so I was talking about the leg switches we had done and she showed us a hip hold and once that baby is covered we can start looking at Jade splits. If I hadn’t been so tuckered out I would have given it more effort but I had no ooph. Megan and Amelia did a great job and I just pigeon holed this move for next time.

Amelia commented on my abs and I thought thank you darling you have just made my day. I love it when Amelia comes to class she just has this funny and laid back energy and you always know it’s going to be a good lesson when she shows up. If she ever wanted to she could do stand up, she’s a very funny person. Megan did a beautiful jade split and she has fallen previously from this so it’s pretty ballsy that she’s back up there doing it. She also has a middle split to die for.

That’s my lot, thank you for reading and I will catch you next week. Thank you Universe for providing my pole studio, my teachers and my fellow students who I love to bits.

 

Blog 16 A Brilliant Class and a Wonderful Competition.

 

believe

Another single class lesson and another brilliant lesson. Now just about everyone who was in beginners with me is in this class so all the old gang are back. There’s a few missing but I imagine they will be joining us soon.

We did this Toothbrush move which was super cool and I loved that. My Vomitron is coming along nicely. I can climb that pole five times without a problem, that’s new. My aerial Chopper is coming along nicely. Emily said I had a six pack, that’s never going to get old. All up a great great class which seemed to be over in a flash.

One of the girls put it really well when we were trying to figure out afterwards why the lesson was so good. She said Emily gives you enough different moves to keep you challenged and enough time to try them properly but not so much time that you get bored. I agreed with her but I also wanted to add what I was incredibly impressed by.

Right at the end of the lesson Emily showed us this really cool move. I had a go at doing it by myself but I really needed her to say put this leg here and that leg there and so on. We were right on the buzzer for end of class and there was a lot of people in the class and I thought she’s never going to have time to help me. So I was telling myself to suck it up Trishy there will be other opportunities to try this and up Emily comes and says Trish do you want a spot? And I said Do you have time? And she says sure. And I say I’ll be quick and she says no take your time and I thought Emily you are unflappable. So I got to do the cool trick and I really wanted to do the cool trick but I have no bloody idea what it is called. Thank you Emily you are amaziballs.

Last night I went to the South Australian Pole Championships and oh my goodness what an event! I’m not even sure where to begin.

It’s held in the Star Theatre and I love that place and yes for people reading each week I was there last week to watch another competition. Now I hate going out, unless there is sport involved I am a person who stays home. What got me out of the house was that tonight I would see Scarlett and Sarah perform and I wanted to see that very much indeed. Scarlett as you know is the owner of the Sky High Pole and Fitness studio and Sarah is one of the instructors there. What I got for my night out as well as seeing these two perform amazingly was a whole lot more than I bargained for.

Scarlett was incredible in her performance. I’m not a pole judge, I’m not experienced so I’m telling you the way I saw it and to me she seemed flawless. Her routine was beautiful and graceful and strong and I was so happy I got to see it. Her costume was gorgeous, she had this cobalt blue top and half skirt, and rhinestones as far as the eye could see. It was stunning and it matched her and her performance. I watched her and I thought I go to her studio, that made me so proud.

Sarah came out and kapow. She was like a force of nature. She is so strong and so sexy and by the end of her routine you were almost out of breath and I thought whoa, what just happened? Sarah radiates strength, confidence and sexiness, she dazzles.

Now once those two were over I thought mm I may as well have a kip they are the ones I came to see. I have however been raised correctly and I know that you clap for everybody even if you want your people to win. I’m so glad that I stayed watching because by golly did I see some performances. Before I forget if I ever thought I had back muscles I do not know what I was talking about. I saw back muscles last night that blew my mind. On a couple of these girls the whole back was just a tapestry of muscle and sinew and it was gorgeous OMG!!!!

Ashleigh HellFire did a performance about the bigotry LGBQTI people face and I nearly cried during it. It was so beautiful and so sad and it showed me that pole can be an art form that expresses what you care about. Ashleigh Hellfire your piece was stunning, it truly affected me.

Then Fiona came on and did this routine and oh my God. This one was a life changer. She did this slow, graceful, strength routine and I knew that is the type of pole I want to pursue. She was totally in control of her body and her strength just took my breath away. You know when you see something and you are changed forever? I will never be quick or be able to do fan kicks like Giang, God I love her fan kicks. I will never be graceful like Scarlett or sexy like Sarah and Tina or an energiser bunny like Emily but this was something I could aspire to. I had found my niche and I was very grateful to Fiona. So much so that I fan girled her and when I saw her in the audience I said Fiona I loved your routine. My god you should have seen her arms!!!! One day I will have arms like that, this I vow.

Poor Fiona wasn’t the only one I stalked. I sent a message to Ashleigh because she had to know how beautiful her routine was. There is one more performer that I would like to mention.

This person won the professional part of the competition and she was incredible. Her name is Christina and she had it all, strength, flexibility, gutsiness with the moves she performed and she had so much showmanship. She did this thing where she turned to the audience and she winked and did a pistol shot or something and I was like ooh she owns this. She marched up that pole like it was a ladder and then she did drops, and balance stuff and fast stuff and slow stuff and I thought goodness. I found this poor woman outside by her car, “Christina your performance was amazing!!!! It’s going to be a miracle if the organizers let me in next year. You know what every one of those women were so gracious and lovely, none of them said wrack off, they just said thank you very much. Pole people are a classy type of people.

It was an amazing night and my life has changed because of it. I know that sounds dramatic but Fiona has shown me my future in pole. How cool to think you can have that much influence over another person.

I’m not sure if I will go in a comp or not. I now know that if I do I will do a slow strong routine. Maybe I could do a comic routine I think I could pull that off.

One last thing about the comp, watching these women and their level of athleticism has made me think that I made the right decision to keep going with gym as well as pole. I think by doing gym and keeping up my strength and cardio I will be less susceptible to injuries and I will progress quicker because of being fitter. Fiona does gym and if it’s good enough for Fiona then it’s good enough for me. She also does yoga and I bet that makes her good and bendy. I have Giang for that.

Giang reckons she can get me my middle splits. I’m already doing side splits on blocks in Giang’s stretch class so it’s very cool. If I get my middle splits I will be a very happy camper.

Thank you Universe for providing my pole studio, my teachers and my fellow students and pole competitions and pole competition competitors. It’s a beautiful unicorny world.

Blog 15 It All Makes More Sense Now!

Carly Rowena

Mondays lesson was immensely different and I think my, ‘How not to get totally exhausted’ strategies are working. These strategies have been, divide pole and gym up into different parts of the day, don’t do them one after the other, only do one lesson of pole at a time and use protein shakes.

Only doing one lesson at a time even though Sky High Pole and Fitness is a veritable cornucopia of all things that are wonderful, is starting to pay off. I have told myself you may only do one lesson at a time so choose, is it going to be Vital force, Intermediates or Dance. Monday night I picked Intermediates and I didn’t even do gym first. Straight pole nothing else.

Only doing the one lesson meant that I got to the class with some energy. I enjoyed the class a lot more. I had much more stamina and strength and this morning while I am typing this I am not completely stuffed. I wish my body was strong enough to do all three classes but she may get stronger with time who knows, in the future I may end up doing three classes and this one class time is but a memory.

Something else struck me last night as to why I’m finding pole so much more difficult than trapeze. In trapeze, depending on the class, we had four people or even six using two bars. This meant that there was a part of the lesson where you were standing around waiting for your turn as well as watching what was being taught. In Pole we have our own pole and the only times we stop are if the instructor is instructing or if we are too stuffed to do anymore so I hadn’t realised it but there is a lot more constant physical activity. That’s a bit of a relief because I could not work out why pole was destroying me physically as much as it was. I think it’s also possible that a vertical pole is more difficult than a horizontal bar but I certainly don’t want to get into a discussion of who is stronger, a person who poles or a person who does trapeze. I’m just giving my observations.

I also discovered Monday night that Emily teaches by progressions, if you get this move I will show you this move. You may not like this first move but this is what it gets you. This is an amazingly motivational way to teach so that’s going to keep me coming back to classes and will get me to persevere on moves that I think blech. For example anything with twisty grip is frickin impossible at the moment

My chopper is a gift that just keeps on giving. I can now do the chopper for ten seconds no problem. Emily says now do it while spinning and that gives it a twist and then she showed us an aerial chopper plus a transition and I thought oooh, yes please I’ll have that. To do an aerial chopper means you have to think about what leg goes on the pole first to make sure you get the hand you want and the underarm grip you want. It’s fascinating how everything works, stuff up that first leg and say good bye to your trick unless you want to fake some make up moves to be able to switch arms.

It was a great class with great people and I was not physically wrecked or exhausted the following morning, very cool bananas.

Friday’s class which should have been something little and light ended up pretty well destroying me to the extent that I didn’t make Saturday gym but the upside was that without Saturday gym I got a lot more out of Saturday pole.

I don’t know why Friday destroyed me. I tried doing regular stuff up high on the pole and that was exhausting. I did do gym in the morning and went for a run but that shouldn’t have wrecked me for the day. Who knows maybe sometimes your energy just flags (teeny tiny pole pun). I like these Friday classes though. They are an opportunity to refine what you have. So when you climb a pole keep your toes pointed. When you do a chopper how are you getting down. All these little tips and tricks that make what you do on the pole more beautiful, more controlled and more controlled pretty much means more strength.

I was feeling a little sorry for myself since I wasn’t able to go to gym and then Sarah, Friday’s instructor, posted on facebook that she had done ten iron x’s. Now please bear in mind that I want one. I congratulated her and she said back and I quote “Thanks Trish you are getting so strong won’t be long and you will be flagging! Now I want you to take a moment to see if you can understand what that meant when I read it. It’s one thing when your mates say, yeah you can do it. It’s a whole different ball game when your trainer says you can do it and in fact she says it won’t be long before you have it. Sarah saying that actually made me feel like the Iron X was coming. I stopped feeling so exhausted and I started feeling like mmm how many lessons of vital force can I squeeze into my week. The comment rejuvenated me, it was like a shot of adrenalin. I think it’s because when the words come from someone who has the relevant knowledge or training then the words carry more weight and have more impact. It’s crazy but a little phrase like this meant everything to me. How cool will it be when I can post a picture on this blog of me doing the Iron X?

Saturday was amaziballs. Stretch was good without being excruciating. A really lovely person has started the class and it must be nice for Giang to have fresh fodder to work on. To see a new person, and this was her first stretch class, shows you how far you have come yourself. I remember praying that the stretch class and the torture would end when I started pole stretch but now the lesson goes so quickly you can’t believe it’s over.

The next class because I’m going to continue to do back to back on a Saturday, was more amaziballs. We only had two students in the class and that meant it was an incredible opportunity to work on any areas you wanted to and you get stacks of teacher time. I can’t believe how far I have come. There was a time when I could not make it through one of Giang’s classes when there was a full class with lots of people now I can hold my own when there is only two students.

Today we worked on our grip and we worked on Ayesha and we worked on the Iron X, I could not have been happier. Just for a moment when I couldn’t figure out how to hold the pole and still face front I thought this is too much for you. Then I thought no, even if you can’t see it at this moment you couldn’t climb a pole when you started. You certainly couldn’t do The Superman. I am amazing myself by what I can do from week to week.

So today I can’t do the twisty grip but I can work on that. I managed to hold the pole, keep my shoulders down, face front, have my head tilt down and then spin round. That alone gets me closer to my beloved Iron X.

I think and I don’t want to be a wanker here but I think I have my Ayesha. Giang told me this really cool trick of checking that you are in proper alignment with the pole and since she has done that I can get myself in the right spot and then do the legs part of it. I hope I’m remembering it right and if I’m not blame me for my shocking memory but I think it went like this. Your head must point to the ground. Your chest should face the pole and your lower arm should be slightly bent so you can push yourself out. Then when you have those three things going on you can pull your tush out which will bring your legs out and huzzah Ayesha be yours!

I also need to work on the cool dismount from this move. It is too sad to clunk to the ground after such a pretty move, I will work on the side ways cartwheel off dismount, definitely more decorative.

I had set myself homework for this lesson and I failed miserably. However onwards and upwards next week I will do better. Giang gives us free style time at the end of class and she sets some challenges in it. So you need to spend thirty seconds on the pole, or thirty seconds doing floor work. This week we had to string three then four moves together. Mine was atrocious and my class mate said, can I do mine (hers) again just better so I don’t think either of us shone in this part of the class. I had hoped that I would prepare something for this part of the class because I do not have a spontaneous bone in my body and I didn’t and when Giang said do your free style bit I pretty much had nothing. Now Giang is very funny when she doesn’t like something. She doesn’t say well that was crap she says instead, let’s try it this way or let’s try this. It’s pretty funny. Anyhoo after a lot of assistance in choosing the moves which I shouldn’t need in free style but there you go I had three then four moves I could put together. The challenge was work on beautiful transitions. I think we can safely say that my transitions were not beautiful but what it did do was give me an idea of how exhausting a pole routine is because just four moves had me puffing like a steam engine. It will be very cool when I have enough stamina to be able to pole for a whole routine.

On that note last night I went to see several people who did just that. It was the Australian Amateur Pole Performer competition. A brilliant night and I saw some extremely talented and gutsy people. They held the competition at the Star Theatre in Adelaide and that place has so much atmosphere it was fantastic. I pretty much felt like I was in the theatre from Sing, it was a surreal experience. The performers were incredible. It gave me an idea of what our trainers are trying to teach us when I saw people up there doing their moves to music, one after another. I couldn’t believe their fitness and their timing and their bravery with the moves they chose. It was a great night. One of the guys from Sky High Pole and Fitness won his division so that was pretty cool. The competitions are fun. People dress up, we got to do the Mexican wave, you are expected to hoot and holler for performers. I’m going to see Scarlet and Sarah perform next week and I am looking forward to that.

Thank you Universe for providing my pole studio, my teachers and my fellow students who I love to bits.