Aerial Yoga - It's taking Off!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Aerial Yoga – it’s taking off!

 

Originally developed as a conditioning tool for the athletes involved in Cirque du Soleil, Aerial Yoga is the latest development in aerial training, and it can be beneficial for all of us. Basically, you are performing exercises in fabric slings suspended from the ceiling, but close to the ground. It is not a trapeze class. There are a range of sling products available, they vary in their stretchiness and in the type of slings. Some just have a single sling, others have a range of slings for various holds and wraps, and some slings are attached to the top of a dance pole to be used more specifically for pole conditioning. The more slings you have the greater the number of variations you can create with the exercises. The rigging is far simpler than for other aerial arts, so aerial yoga classes generally have up to 10 slings being used simultaneously.

 

When you first try the slings you need to learn to trust them. Everyone starts off a little fearful thinking that they may break the sling or fall out of it. The fabric and fittings have been strength tested to hold over 450 kg – so even after your most indulgent chocaholic weekend you are nowhere near that weight! Classes start slowly and carefully with floor based exercises, and as your confidence and competence develops you become progressively more airborne. Every exercise has inbuilt progressions. The more fabric there is supporting you the easier it is. As you get stronger, your instructor will reduce the number of slings or the amount of fabric supporting you.

 

It is a yoga class, not a pump class, and it certainly hones your body awareness. You become very aware of exactly which part of your body you are working. Each class may have a different focus, depending on the instructor and the level of the class. Enjoy a gruelling abs workout, perform variations on traditional yoga poses to improve your leg strength and balance, indulge in a profound stretching experience, or try exercises that also incorporate the dance poles. You can use the slings to perform assisted static Vs, Hummingbirds, Butterflies and Iron Xs, just to name a few. With the security of the fabric supporting you these challenging pole moves are far less daunting. There are many aerial yoga exercises that specifically train the muscles that we use to lift and invert, one of the fundamentals of correct pole technique.

 

One of the great benefits to pole dancers is that all aerial yoga exercises are performed symmetrically and each joint can be taken through a 360 degree range of movement. Pole dancing is an inherently one-sided exercise, and we all tend to mostly work our “preferred” side, which can lead to asymmetry and tightness.  You can use the exercises either to achieve greater balance in your body, or to correct a particular weakness or tightness that may be holding back your progress with your pole dancing. It is an ideal cross-training tool for pole dancers.

 

Most importantly hanging out in the slings is fun. You can use the sling as a swing – it really takes you back to your childhood. Learn how to perform somersaults – either off the floor or aerially. You will get to try (and achieve) things that you may never normally do. An unexpected bonus is just being able to hang upside down in the slings, totally relaxed. This creates great spinal decompression which provides rapid relief for certain back problems. The main sling can be opened up into a full size hammock – gently swinging in a hammock listening to meditative music is total bliss, and you leave the class feeling very nurtured and grounded.

 

What are the negatives? Unlike dance poles, it is not that easy to set up a yoga sling at home. You would need either a very stable pergola or hooks in your nice high ceiling to attach it to. You may need a builder to install it safely for you. Slings can be set up on the climbing apparatus at the park if you have one near by. So for most of us, you will need to attend classes at studios for your aerial yoga fix. While there may be a downside in terms of cost and convenience, exercising in a group certainly keeps you feeling motivated and connected.

 

If you are considering booking in for aerial yoga classes, you should ensure that the studios instructors are qualified, and that the studio has complete insurance cover. Apart from location, cost and timetables for classes, see if they offer levels in their classes. Most studios will offer trial classes or you can attend as a casual while you decide if this form of exercise is something that you enjoy. Keep in mind that any form of exercise can result in injury. If you have significant health issues, make sure you get clearance from your health care professionals before signing up for any classes. Ensure that your doctor understands that you will be inverting, so sufferers of glaucoma, high blood pressure, or certain issues inside the skull may not be suitable for this activity. Also make sure that your instructor is aware of any of your health issues.

 

Give aerial a go – Flying is Fun!

 

 

Sarah Thompson

Level 2 Certified Fly Gym Instructor

Miss Fit Dance Studio

www.missfit.com.au

0431 244 162

 

Miss Fit Sydney South - the earliest days

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Joys and Frustrations of Setting Up a Pole Dancing Studio

 

Setting up a new pole dancing studio brings much excitement, and also many frustrations along the way. My journey began back in early September 2013, when I met up with the ever enthusiastic Miss Fit and her partner John to eek out the earliest planning of our joint business venture. It was then that we hatched the plan to open up a third Miss Fit Dance Studio. I had already decided that I wanted to run a pole studio and had even found an ideal location close to where I live at Taren Point. Turning plans into reality is always harder than you ever imagine, with every conceivable part of the project taking far longer and being far more complicated and expensive than you ever expect. So it has been an exciting but rather frustrating adventure at times.  However we are on our way, the journey to Miss Fit Sydney South has begun!

The biggest thing I’ve learnt so far is that you at least need to double the amount of time many businesses tell you that things will be done by! If it’s not solicitors telling you “just give me another day”, or real estate agents telling you that the air conditioner has been supposedly serviced recently only to find it’s “raining” in your studio, not to mention curtain quotes, structural engineers, and mirror installations. All while you have a 6 month old baby with an ear infection screaming at you all day while you are “functioning” on three hours sleep a night.  (Thank god for caffeine!) My husband Dale has been trying to teach me the “three strikes – you’re out” rule of business, and how to be blunt yet polite to people you need to deal with to get things moving.  Yes I need to toughen up.

While these dramas can sometimes cloud your path, it is the small things that remind you why you are doing what you are doing. Funny things like seeing your husband spending over an hour to put together a dance pole, all the while, you’ve assembled yours in ten minutes - and having a laugh about it….or having your eight month old son crawling around the studio floor “vacuuming” up all the little bits of rubbish you’ve left behind.… or even the meat heads in the adjoining gym wanting to “help you with that”, man-speak for “any pretty girls upstairs to perve on?” And the endless “winks and nods” from contractors when they hear that you are setting up a pole dancing studio - apparently that means that you must be single and a sex maniac. I even had one guy tell me that I should join all the dating sites - despite the fact that I’m happily married! My response to him was, frankly, blunt! But these things do make you laugh and become even more determined to rid the pole dance industry of the stigma that is attached to such this fantastic sport.

The most exciting part for me this week has been seeing the beautiful Miss Fit Dance Studio colours on the previously boring pale green walls and also seeing my beautiful mirrors go in.  It was hard to envisage how the decorated studio would look originally, but now that there are beautiful purple and red walls, feathers and sparkly things in it, it is all starting to feel real and look amazing! My son has also enjoyed shopping with me for feather boas and sparkly hats, much to his dad’s disgust!

No longer just a pole fitness expert, I can also safely say I’ve also become quite the handyman lately, assembling furniture and making my own dressing room mirror.  Dale did have to teach me the basics of power tool operation, but I got the hang of it eventually! And he got a laugh out of watching me try….. personally I’m blaming the instructions that came with the furniture. J

I cannot wait to see my window dressings installed and finally have the Miss Fit Dance Studio logo up in lights. The night that beautiful logo switches on in the light box on Taren Point Road will be a very proud moment for me.

My journey setting up Miss Fit Sydney South has not been the smoothest, but I would not change a thing! I have the most supportive people helping along this journey and it is thanks to them that I know this project will continue to surprise and excite me each and every day. Bring on 2014!!

Carlie Purkis aka Symphony

Aerial Yoga Using Fly Gym Slings

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What is Aerial Yoga?

Most of us have attended a yoga class or three at some stage, and it undeniably is an uplifting means to nurture your body. Focussing on breathing, blocking out all the issues and pressures of the day, yoga certainly builds body awareness and a sense of feeling grounded. Aerial yoga creates that similar sense of self, but in addition there is the fun factor of swinging free in the air while comfortably close to the ground. In an aerial yoga class you are exercising while supported in soft fabric slings. At Miss Fit Dance Studio we use the Fly Gym slings which include a main body sling and loops for your legs, arms, shoulders and wrists. This creates the potential for a far more extensive array of exercises and the ability to increase the difficulty of each exercise – the fewer loops you use the harder it is.

The first thing we need to do is to trust the sling. The first question everyone asks is “Am I too heavy?” Fear not. The slings have been safety tested to up to 1000kg and in our studios they are suspended from solid metal beams. It’s very safe.

As there are so many ways to get in and out of the slings it takes a little practise till you feel comfortable with the various holds. However, that is part of the fun of learning a new skill. Our floors are carpeted so if you do exit your sling a little awkwardly it’s always a soft landing, and all the exercises are being performed close to the ground.

Once you do learn to trust the sling and to relax into the swinging motion, the whole experience is quite uplifting and very relaxing. Our students just will not leave their “cocoon” hammocks at the end of the class!

Unlike exercises performed on the floor, when you are suspended in the air it is much easier to take every joint through a 360 degree range of movement. There is no jumping or jarring so it is ideal for those with joint problems. The stretch that you feel using gravity is very natural and not as painful as forcing yourself against the floor, wall or stretching blocks. A huge range of exercises can be performed that will condition various parts of your body, either by resisting against gravity or against the fabric. One of my favourite exercises is to hang upside down for a fantastic back stretch. Allowing gravity to stretch out those tight muscles is as effective as any massage I’ve ever had (not to mention quicker and cheaper!)

While the Fly Gym exercises complement the exercises and goals of our pole dancing students, you do not need to be a pole dancer to benefit from it. It is a form of exercise that everyone can do - gentler on your body than pole dancing - and also suitable for those with joint problems who cannot partake in regular exercise classes. Fly Gym classes can be used as part of a rehabilitation programme following injury.

We wear track pants or yoga pants and a t shirt. It’s a very simple, low fuss class. The exercises are tailored according to your level of ability, but many are harder than they look. You’ll see why it’s called the “accidental workout”!

We offer Fly Gym classes on weekday mornings and Saturdays at our Castle Hill and Artarmon studios. Check it out - you won't regret it!

Stretching - The Truth

Tuesday, June 04, 2013
What are the benefits of stretching?
A lot of the guys that I have met while teaching the FaST Boys classes at Miss Fit Dance Studio either don’t or haven’t stretched since they were kids. Usually they think that adding a daily stretching routine to their workout is a waste of time. The attitude seems to be, unless they are pumping iron or pounding the pavements they aren’t getting a decent workout. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Stretching with or without your regular workout provides benefits that will serve to improve both your workouts and your health. The good thing is that it’s never too late to start. Improving your flexibility.

Neglecting stretching is just setting you up for injury and slower recovery. It is important to keep your muscles in good shape. It doesn’t need to take long - just 10 to 15 minutes per day – about the same time it takes you to drink that first cup of coffee in the morning. Ideally you should be stretching every other day.

I learnt some great tips from the anazing Evgeny Greshilov when he was last in Sydney, teaching pole dance classes at Miss Fit. Take it slowly, push until it hurts then come back just a little then hold your stretch and concentrate on your breathing. Hold your stretch for at least five normal breaths (not big or short gasps) let your body acclimatize to your stretch. Gently increase your stretch each session even if it is only a fingernails distance each time you are endeavoring to touch your toes. If you are consistent you will get to them

Check out the free eBook “Fit by Choice” on our Miss Fit Dance Studio website to learn some good stretches.

1. Good for Circulation
Lengthening and loosening the muscles (stretching) helps dramatically with your circulation. This increased blood flow also helps to prevent soreness and helps your muscles recover faster after a good pole jam allowing you back onto the pole sooner, and it will improve your overall health. Greater blood circulation helps promote cell growth and organ function. Your heart rate will also lessen as it doesn’t have to work as hard and your blood pressure will become more even and consistent. Improved circulation also decreases the build up of lactic acid in muscles, so that you can keep training for longer.

Stretching and walking around more frequently at work is being recognized as a simple and effective way to keep your body in better shape. Sitting at a desk for hours and hours is really bad for your butt and leg muscles – they become stiff and oxygen deprived. Force yourself to get up and move around more while you’re at work. Ergonomic offices are being designed with standing height desks to keep you on your feet more.

2. Injury Prevention and Reduction
As our bodies age, our muscles shorten and tighten. This decreases range of motion, and increases the chance of muscle, tendon, ligament or other soft tissue injuries. With the better circulation to your muscles that stretching allows you will also find your recovery from a hard exercise session will be quicker. Bruising is an unavoidable factor in pole dancing, especially if you are new to the sport or if you are trying new moves, the improved circulation that stretching brings will help to dissipate those bruises quicker.

David Owen from the USA is another expert on stretching who warns of the perils of over-stretching. Obsessively over-stretching each day makes your muscles continually stressed and eventually they tighten and shorten. You want a balance between strength and flexibility. Overly flexible joints are injury prone and lessen your control on the pole. They need to be supported by strong sling muscles. As an experienced trainer I can tell you if you are at risk.

Remember to never stretch a cold muscle – it is waste of time – 5 minutes of dynamic exercise to get your heart rate up and dilate your blood vessels are essential first.

3. Strength
Consider that pole is one of the best (if not the best) forms of resistance training available, it is definitely hard work lifting your body weight up and down a pole. Stretching increases your distance of expansion and contraction for those muscles allowing you greater range of movement. As an example; most people (especially the guys) usually want to try and rip out a flag on the pole (holding yourself horizontal with straight arms) this is probably the most difficult move you can perform on a pole from a strength point of view. Now imagine that you split your legs as wide apart as possible. You will have moved your centre of gravity closer to the pole thereby making it less work on your arms – believe it from a person who has tried this.

Stretching will improve your posture. Guys that are overly focused on building up their pecs can end up with a hunched back – you also need to stretch out those pecs guys! Can you clasp your hands behind your back with straight elbows?

4. Feel Good
Stretching makes you feel good physically and psychologically. It reduces stress through loosening the muscles and relieving built up tension. This is especially true for the muscles around your neck and shoulders. Similar to a good workout (preferably on the pole) it also releases endorphins in the brain that can cause a feeling of wellbeing and calmness, promoting a state of mindfulness. Also stretching releases natural anti-inflammatories into your tendons which make you feel good! As an example to those of us who spend long times hunched in front of our computers, what is the first thing you usually do when you have finished? Most people stand up straight and stretch their necks and arms back, this is your body automatically trying to expand your contracted back and neck muscles – take that advice for a good 15 minute stretch in the evening to help with a good nights sleep.

5. Being your Personal Best
Of course most of us are not aiming to become world champion pole dancers, but getting the balance right between strength and flexibility allows us to be the best that we can be. Check out the male finalists for the 2013 International Pole Championship. Their athleticism is a combination of flexibility and strength. They can inspire us all even if we never get close to their level of expertise. Rather than winning prizes at competitions, for most of us our reward is achieving our personal best, and seeing how far we can push our own measure of success.

Men pole dancing

Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Miss Fit Dance Studio has been running mens pole dancing classes at our Sydney studios for several terms now. Called FaST Boys, we are teaching men resistance training utilising a dance pole. Most of our male students have wives or girlfriends learning pole dancing either with us or with other studios. Knowing that my students had often been “earbashed” into coming along to a "pole dancing class" I’m always pleasantly surprised when they sign up for their second and subsequent terms and then start bringing their mates along.

While having studied and taught fitness previously, I had never taught a pole class, nor had I pole danced publicly. I had only danced for my gorgeous partner (Miss Fit) whose response was to roll around on the lounge in fits of laughter …. mmmm….. not quite the response I was hoping for. I had played on the dance poles sporadically over the last few years but, after landing head first after an unsuccessful attempt at a left leg hang, I had not been serious about it until the last 12 months. Suffice it to say, that given my non-dance background, I was probably as nervous as the boys who walked into the studio for their first class. However, I really enjoy teaching, my students get a lot out of their classes, and like every good teacher I am continuing to learn.

What happens at a boys pole dancing class? Simply put, we teach Flexibility and Strength and introduce the guys to the dance pole. It is resistance training, using your own body weight as the resistance. We concentrate on core, arms, shoulders and back for muscle development and all of the above plus hips and hamstrings for stretching. You will work up a sweat and work muscles that you would not necessarily be training at the gym. Many guys that are doing a lot of running do not realize just how tight they are in their hamstrings, so the flexibility work is really useful too. Of course being boys we cannot resist the urge to bust out a few moves and spins. Everyone wants to try the power moves with the most popular being “the flag”, sadly reality usually sets in at this time and the boys respect for what the girls are doing starts to grow rapidly. For the guys that want to put a pole routine together we are fortunate to have Andre, an elite Sydney based pole dancer, working with us to choreograph a series of pole moves and lifts performed to music in the more advanced classes.

Are the classes mixed with guys and girls? Short answer - no. Men and women dance differently - women usually have more grace and finesse than the men, while the latter generally have more power and strength.  With their naturally greater upper body strength, men can achieve some lifts quite easily that the girls would need to work on for months to be able to perform. Therefore the class curriculums are different.
Anatomical differences play a major part also, boys have to approach the moves slightly differently to the girls, so their technique is different. 
The attitudes between the sexes are different, what girls find interesting and exciting is not necessarily what the boys will find interesting. Also the camaraderie that develops in separate sex classes is really important, and the girls have some hilarious conversations that simply would not happen if the guys were around.

“Only gay guys pole dance”, is an often used comment I hear from men. This statement rates up there with “Female pole dancers must be strippers” for complete stupidity and irrelevance!
Firstly, I don’t know, nor do I care, what the sexuality of any person who walks into our studio is. My main concern is that they want to commit to the fitness programme, improve their strength, their flexibility and maybe even get to perform in public. I’m fortunate enough to know many male pole dancers both here in Australia and from overseas, and yes some of them are gay. It really doesn’t matter and has no impact on what we do in our classes.

Pole Dancing for both my partner and myself has been a life-changing experience. Not only has it allowed us to become fantastically fit and strong, but through our teachers, students and the wider pole community we have made some incredible friendships and met some amazing and inspirational people. We have seen so many people take on the physical and psychological challenge of pole dancing and become better and happier for it. For us it has been all about Empowerment through Fitness – the Miss Fit mantra.

Pole Dancing Classes - FAQs

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What is Pole Dancing?
Pole Dancing is an increasingly popular fitness activity enjoyed by women of all ages all around the world. Fundamentally, it is resistance training  - you are carrying your body weight on your arms as you lift or spin around a pole. Not just an upper body workout, pole dancing requires you to develop your core muscles to be able to do more advanced moves. Pole dancing is a great all over body work out that requires strength, fitness, flexibility, co-ordination and balance. You get to improve your dance skills and get fitter at the same time – it’s really great fun!
However, there is much more to it than just the physical benefits. Pole dancing can be quite scary – at times you are upside down on a pole using no hands or only holding on by one knee – you challenge yourself psychologically to do things that you never imagined were possible. Pole dance instructors will ensure that anything potentially dangerous is learnt safely, but occasionally there are moments when you are pushed outside your comfort zone. Also when you are in a dance studio surrounded by mirrors, you get to see your reflection and you look beautiful on the pole. It creates a fundamental change in your self-body image. Every woman has her signature moves that she performs with grace and control. Pole dancing is very aesthetic – we are wanting to create beautiful lines with our body using the pole.
Pole classes may have more of a fitness focus or more of a dance focus. Some women enjoy more the physical challenges that the dance pole provides, others prefer more creativity and self-expression, hence the dance side appeals. It really doesn’t matter – try both. You can dance in bare feet or pole shoes (just don’t call them stripper heels as very few pole dancers are strippers). Even without a dance background you will enjoy pole dancing, it’s not as strict and technical as ballet, and slower than hip hop.
It is an activity that appeals to a broad range of women – many of whom are bored with the gym and are looking for a different challenge. Pole classes are about female empowerment – they are non-competitive, supportive and non-judgemental. All shapes and sizes are welcome, and no dance or fitness experience is assumed.

What are the benefits of pole dancing for fitness?
Pole dancers need to develop specific muscles that will allow them to lift and control their body using a dance pole. Upper body and core strength are developed in particular, but the dance moves also give your legs a great work out. Pole dancers also need to be flexible, so by stretching those developing muscles you end up with a long lean physique, similar to a gymnast. Pole dancing will also improve your posture, balance, co-ordination, sense of timing and dance skills.

Are there any skills one needs before beginning?
Not really, just a desire to try something new and give it a really good go. None of us were born knowing how to pole dance, so we all start as beginners, and the classes are structured accordingly. Likewise, because the muscles used in pole dancing are quite specific there is not a lot of cross over with exercises that you may be performing at the gym, or in other forms of dance classes. At Miss Fit Dance Studio our Beginners classes are called 1 STAR.

Are there any exercises that people can do at home or in the gym (away from the pole) that will help them with pole dancing?
We always advise our students to repeat as many of our strengthening and toning exercises between classes as they can.
We have created an eBook Fit by Choice that provides a pictorial guide to the many exercises that you can do at home to help you to fast track your improvement with your pole dancing. However, nothing is as good as pole dancing to create the lean and toned body of a pole dancer.
You can download our eBook for free by visiting the Miss Fit website

Is there anything people should look for in an instructor to be sure they know what they are doing?
When you are researching pole dancing studios, look for a studio that has been around for a few years, that has qualified instructors and class sizes that aren’t too large (no more than 15 per class). Check that students are not required to share poles. Check that they offer a set curriculum rather than just teaching you random moves. Are they insured?

At Miss Fit Dance Studio our teachers are members of the International Pole Dance Fitness Association (IPDFA), as well as being qualified fitness instructors, and they are all up to date with their first aid training. Safety comes first at Miss Fit. Students follow a set curriculum so that as your strength and proficiency improves you are being taught progressively more demanding moves and lifts. There is no leap-frogging of levels. Our classes are small (no more than 14 per class), the teachers spend time with each student and will spot them when learning more difficult moves. Thick crash matts are available in each studio. Every student is covered under a Accident and Injury insurance policy to meet the costs of physiotherapy and other costs not covered by Medicare. We have been teaching pole dancing in Sydney since 2007 and during that time have introduced thousands of women to the joy and challenge that is pole dancing.

In addition, our students stay connected with our weekly student email newsletter, updates on our facebook page, and benefit from discounted prices on gripping solutions, Miss Fit Pole Wear, practise sessions and pole purchases. At the end of each term, students in our choreography classes have the opportunity to dress up and perform the routines they have been learning at our Grad Nights. It’s a lot of fun and a great motivation to really perfect the routine so it is good enough for a public performance.

Check out the Current Timetable  and book yourself into a class!

Encore! 2013 Sydney Pole Show – a Witches Perspective

Monday, March 04, 2013
Our final minutes prior to going on stage have arrived. With trembling hands we take a few backstage photos of ourselves. Shrouded in our dramatic satin capes, we conceal ourselves behind the stage curtains waiting for our moment in the spotlight. Hearts pounding and breathing heavily we wait for our music to start...

It has been a long road getting ourselves to this point of readiness. Encore! Pole Show is a fantastic event encouraging diversity in pole performance. Elite dancers from all over Australia and New Zealand vie for the honour to perform at Encore. Established by SarahJade from Blush Dance School and Kym from Pure Pole Angels it is building on its very successful first year. Some of the routines have a political message, some have a strong narrative, some are very funny,  some routines incorporate video or live singing – women, men, groups - all perform on the night. The one thing they all have in common is their incredible athleticism and mastery of the pole.

Selection to perform at Encore is by video audition. At Miss Fit Dance Studio we are always looking for new ways to present pole dancing. Our original concept was to put together a routine combining tango and pole dancing. Our performance group spent hours with Matthew Aker from Arthur Murray Dance Studio learning the finer points of the Promenade, Cameo and La Poetta. The challenge was then to incorporate Tango steps with our pole moves, using a cut down version of Cell Block Tango. We rehearsed every weekend for around 7 weeks to put together our finished product, and performed it at the Miss Fit Christmas parties.

A video of our tango performance was sent off with our Encore Performer Application. We were not overly confident with this audition – the video quality wasn’t great, the costumes looked a little dull, and our dance just seemed a little flat. However, we had auditioned successfully for Encore! 2012 so the organizers knew our style and our ability to put together a classy group routine. We waited nervously for their decision.

The thrill of being selected for Encore! 2013 was exhilarating – what a buzz! Particularly when we heard who the other successful performers were, we knew that we were part of an elite group. So we decided to come up with a completely new routine, using the Good vs Evil theme that we were using in our pole dancing classes that term. The teachers in our performance group, The Miss Fits, were all involved in selecting the music for the routine. Our two “bored housewives” complete with hair in curlers and polka dot dresses are seduced and corrupted by four evil and sexy witches to reveal their dark sides. Music by Queen and dramatic pieces from movie themes set the mood for our sometimes funny, sometimes dramatic pole performance.

The large contingent of Miss Fit supporters in the audience are in full voice, cheering wildly and boosting our confidence as we stand behind the curtains. The music starts and we’re off! The “bored housewives” have set the scene, then the four caped witches eerily make their way onto the stage, engulfed by smoke haze. The wives dresses are torn off, and blond wigs removed to reveal their vampish side in sexy black leather bikinis. The rest of the routine seems to fly past, a few minor glitches, but overall we are very happy with our performance. The best part is the great response from the crowd. What a thrill and a relief to have it all over. The many hours of planning, organizing, rehearsal and re-working of the routine have paid off.

Encore!!!

Over 40s with toned arms

Friday, December 28, 2012
Miss Fit has asked me to be involved in a Today Tonight programme on Channel 7 airing in February.  It is on the subject of "Over 40s with toned arms".  I fit the criteria as I'm one the eldest student at Miss Fit.  Plus I already lost some weight in the Miss Fit weight loss trial.
 
The filming started last Thursday at Castle Hill studio, less than 24 hours after some surgery and just before undertaking some breast biopsies.  I arrived at the studio in 33 degrees heat, glad to get into the cool of the studio.  Shortly after, the film crew arrived.  I was filmed by a patient but often frustrated cameraman - "Look at the camera... don't look at the camera... everytime you look at the camera I have to start again...".  The recording man was very pole curious and played on the poles in any down time. 
 
Miss Fit (Sarah) and I were variously filmed doing carousels, Franks, climbing the pole and I tell you that the poles at Castle Hill are twice the height of mine at home and 1.5 times that of the Arto poles!!!
 
Sarah prescribed the pole exercises for me - suzy spins, invert preps, pull-ups onto the pole, spinning round the pole with 1 arm!!!  - as if!!  .................... I will try. I have added shoulder mounts, back spins, jamillas etc, everything I can do without upsetting the post surgery stitches. I have done weights and pole everyday I was home, so take out 2 days away for Christmas. Sarah said not to do everyday, but I am scared that if I don't do at least a little every day I won't get into the habit.
 
Chantelle, from Bites Health Clinic, our Dietician and Exercise Physiologist was there pinching me with her callipers repeatedly and giving me advice re diet. I went home with advice from Chantelle to resume the weight loss challenge diet but replace the 100cal snacks with small amounts of meat such as yummy Chop Chop Chicken.  I mean that, I really like it!
 
The next day I found out all my test on the various bits removed from me were benign.  Lucky. 
 
Since the weight loss challenge finished I lost another 2kg - total 11kg, giving me some form of buffer regards Christmas coming.  Also I must admit that I had started sleeping with the enemy again - 85% dark chocolate. 

Then I went to work with the intent of resuming the diet.    ...And there was the Christmas food waiting for me again. I overindulged in roast meats and veggies, Christmas pudding, wine, chocolates etc. Disclaimer however, if its any consolation to me - most food gluten free and I had low fat ice cream and low fat brandy custard and low cal wine. oh and of course the 85% dark chocolate covering the berries . 
 
I am determined to improve my performance both in resuming the diet, and exercise.

Miss Trish

Pole Dancing - An Incredible Journey

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pole Dancing – An Incredible Journey

I am often frustrated when speaking to people outside the pole community about pole dancing. It is often very hard to put into words the incredible journey that this sport takes us on. Unless you try it, pole dancing can be hard to explain, and the psychological benefits harder to express. For the non-believers out there, they see our passion is no more than women making themselves cheap and slutty – how wrong can they be!! As any pole dancer knows, the journey that pole dancing takes us on is all about empowerment for women – not just strong bodies but even stronger minds.

At the Miss Fit Dance Studio Christmas parties last week, we asked our videographers to conduct informal interviews with a random selection of students and teachers. Their comments were spontaneous and completely unscripted. The message that they articulated so consistently was the incredible boost in confidence and self esteem that pole dancing has provided for them. Yes they mentioned that they like getting fitter and stronger, and having fun in classes, making new friends and getting in touch with your feminine side - but it was the psychological benefits that were paramount.

Why is this so? I think that pole dancing is unique because there are aspects to it that are definitely scarey. We’ve all had that uncomfortable moment when we think we’re going to fall off the pole – definitely not fun. However, the reality is that we rarely fall off the poles, and to the contrary, during each term you see yourself getting better, stronger and more controlled with your pole moves. So while we all have an awareness that gravity could beat us, and have us crashing to the floor, we also develop a growing confidence in our ability to stay on the pole, control it and master our moves. As we all know, when you see a pole dancer performing a move that she is completely comfortable with it looks effortless and easy. Even though she is working very hard, she actually looks relaxed on the pole and not fearful of what she is doing.

Eleanor Roosevelt was quoted as saying that you should do one thing every day that scares you. Maybe, subconsciously, that is what we are doing when we attend our pole dancing classes each week. At certain moments we are pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone, and successfully performing a lift or a move, so little by little, we are building a strong base of confidence and self-belief. It’s like building a big wall made out of bricks, and each brick has written on it – I can do this! I strongly believe that this in-built self-confidence has a ripple effect to all other aspects of our lives.

Maybe that is why pole dancing is so empowering?

Also, pole dancing is very open minded – we all come to it from different backgrounds – various styles of dance, gymnastics, fitness or most commonly none of the above. Women get to find their niche and express themselves in what ever way suits them. It might be strength moves, great flexibility, sexy moves, mesmering dance moves, heels or bare feet – it doesn’t matter. We all put our own stamp on this very accommodating sport. It is not strict, tortured and highly scripted like ballet or gymnastics. We all appreciate the artistry of the beautiful lines that a dancer creates on a pole. I love discovering with my students their particular strengths – their signature move that they perform with grace and confidence.

What has the pole dancing journey done for you?

What is Pole Dancing?

Friday, November 16, 2012

What Is Pole Dancing?

Pole Dancing. It’s a word that evokes many images, mostly outdated stereotypes of exotic dancers in high heels and sequinned G strings performing provocative moves around a pole. To be fair, sleazy men’s clubs are where pole dancing evolved. However, it has grown into so much more than that. Pole dancing is now a mainstream fitness activity that continues to grow in popularity around the world. In Australia there are over 150 pole dancing studios who are preaching the gospel of Empowerment through Pole Fitness.

Why is it Empowering? Pole dancing is not easy, it’s not for the faint hearted, but it certainly is addictive. Basically you’re trying to carry your body weight on your arms as you spin around a pole. Most of us don’t have the natural strength to do that, so initially it starts off looking a bit awkward. However, your body soon adapts, you learn how to control the moves. When you see yourself in a mirror looking beautiful on a pole, it is a very powerful affirmation. It can bring a fundamental shift in your body self image. The sense of achievement resulting from successfully mastering a new move puts you on a real high. You come back wanting to try the next pole challenge. This boost in confidence can and does have flow on effects into other areas of your life. For many, pole dancing has been life-changing. I know many women that have taken on personal and physical challenges that they would not have contemplated prior to starting pole dancing.

Once you become involved in pole dancing you soon realize that there is a huge and ever expanding repertoire of pole moves to learn and enjoy. The global pole community is very good at sharing new ideas about how to spin around and upside down on a pole. We don’t have hundreds of years of regimentation like ballet and gymnastics, so new moves and lifts are being developed and shared all the time. At Miss Fit, we have designed a carefully constructed curriculum to gradually develop your arm and core strength by challenging you with progressively more difficult moves. As your competence and confidence grows you start going upside down, and performing moves that you would not believe possible. We also help you to improve your flexibility, which is required for the more advanced moves. Feeling flexible really makes you feel good, and is a great way to keep joints healthy.

Lets not forget that it is fundamentally dancing, which is a great way to exercise, far less monotonous than sweating it out on a cross-trainer! Once you get comfortable with dancing, it is a wonderful way to express an array of emotions as you take on the character of a piece of music. The whole experience is quite transporting. Whether you are learning a pre-choreographed routine, or putting your own artistic stamp on a song, you are completely absorbed in the moment, no other thoughts enter your mind. We leave our worries and frustrations at the front door when we come in for our pole dancing fix!

This is why Pole Dancing is being taken up by many thousands of women all around the world. Sisters are doing it for themselves! It has less and less to do with sexiness and titillation for the benefit of others, instead you are challenging yourself and expressing yourself through this activity. It's something that you just need to try. Talk to a pole dancer and find out how it has changed their life.