Saturday, December 27, 2014

A New Year. A New You! 2015 Edition

It's another new year and we're looking forward to another great year at the studio! Last year, I wrote a piece for the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association about tips and tricks for setting your intentions for the new year. A quick run down of what I discussed in the January 2014 blog included ways to set achievable fitness goals and how to track your progress. This year, I'd like to revisit an effort towards keeping an aerial journal and further explore other means of tracking progress for accountability.

Social media plays a big role in motivation and accountability. Modern technological advances create easy to use documentation that allows the user to easily review and compare progress over any length of time. I recently discovered Flipagram (I know, late to the party on this one) and I'm excited to figure out useful ways to integrate the application for a different approach in blogs and other teaching strategies. I really like the idea of having a picture comparison to easily see progress. In pole and aerial, poses become more defined and cleaner through progression. This is something that can be visualized better when images are displayed consecutively. 

I also would like to upload all my class routines to the Pole Harmony YouTube channel for my own personal collection of routines and to also share with our monthly members to add to the benefit of paying for our unlimited monthly membership classes. 

Aside from tracking progress via social media, I also intend on participating in more online challenges. 2014 was an interesting year in fitness as we saw the rise of the online Instagram challenges. I featured a blog post depicting some of the popular challenges for pole and aerialists in my July 2014 Online Challenges blog.  My students and I recently just completed the December Acro Yoga Challenge which featured a series flow of moves utilizing partner balancing with a base, flyer, and spotter. 

In the business sense, I would like to see Pole Harmony continue to grow in it's supportive structure.  This past year, we integrated the use of social media by offering an online study group where students share their achievements, goals, fails, and inspirations.  Students also shared their progress in online challenges.  I feel like the group built a better sense of community among our regular students.  A strong support system is also very important when it comes to achieving your fitness goals.  I've witnessed a lot of progress this past year.  I'm very proud of the determination and hard work the ladies have put forth in 2014.  I'm excited to hear all the goals many have for the upcoming year and look forward to continuing to see changes as these strong ladies transform into their new you. 

Wishing you all the very best in 2015! Happy New Year!

Ready to get started on your pole dancing fitness journey?  Sign up online today for our next intro to pole class by CLICKING HERE.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Best Holiday Gifts for Pole and Aerial Dancers 2014

We're back at it this year scoping out the hottest gift trends for fitness!  Last year we featured five of our top wish list items for both pole and aerial dancers.  This year we'd like to expand upon that previous list and add some hot items to give you an idea of what to get your favorite pole or aerialists this holiday season.  Let's get started!

Pole Harmony's Best Gift Picks for Pole and Aerial Dancers 2014:

1. Stylish printed Yoga mats. I've seen very hip and trendy designs on Yoga mats lately in stores. My all time favorite mat I've seen is a Zebra print mat I spotted at Meijers.  Give her peace of mind for her flexibility classes with style.  A quick Google search will yield multiple colors of animal print mats.  Plenty to choose from and a hot item that takes traditional boring solid colored mats to the appeal of a whole new generation of yogis. 

2. Custom water bottle.  The water bottle is an essential for any pole or aerial class and getting her a customized beverage container is a great idea. No more questioning what bottle of water belongs to who when you have your very own. A huge plus- you can customize water bottles now with an awesome pole or aerial silks graphic along with a favorite pole or aerial meme.

3. Work out T's. Just like the customized water bottle, there is no better gift idea than a customized graphic t-shirt or sweatshirt that one can wear to classes or proudly display for any occasion that declares their love for the sport. 

4. Foam roller. Any pole or aerial silks student knows the holy grail of body maintenance is the foam roller.  Roll out tension or loosen up tight muscles to increase flexibility- the foam roller is a must have item. So many options of foam rollers exist from grooves to ridges and long to short.  Depending on the intended use, you'll want to make sure you do a little research on this one but all in all, this is definitely a great gift idea.

5. Grip aid. At Pole Harmony, our most popular brands for grip aid use have been Dry Hands for pole and Cramer's for aerial silks.  These two products have become a staple at the studio and are always an essential item that is perfect for a stocking stuffer.

This concludes our 2014 list of favorite holiday gift items for pole and aerial dancers.  We hope you found some useful ideas for your holiday shopping! Wishing you a wonderful holiday season from Pole Harmony! For more gift ideas, please read our 2013 list of favorite holiday gift items.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

FabPole Workshop Review

This past weekend, I was able to indulge in some necessary instructor continuing education by taking a FabPole Workshop with Lessi Ruskaup, owner of L'Ru Studios and creator of FabPole.  FabPole is a program utilizing a Nexus Wrap sling system that allows attachment of silks to the pole or any other applicable aerial apparatus. 

Currently at Pole Harmony, we have been using the Pole Aria metal attachment system of attaching our silks to our poles.  With the Nexus Wrap, the attachment differs in that it is not a metal apparatus, rather a rubbery wrap that velcros to the pole and allows a sling to be attached securely over the wrap.  Aside from the obvious product differences, the Nexus Wrap and sling attachment secures the fabric with a ring in place of the traditional rescue 8. The FabPole workshop I attended also used thinner fabric than I am accustomed to. When I first started working with aerial fabric, I used the thinner 60" fabric with my home rigging.  Basically, 60" is defined as narrow when open, thin when gathered (Wikipedia: Aerial Silk.) The major notable comparison for the every day student is that 60" hurts more.  The thicker fabric commonly used is between 104" to 109".

Overall, I found the two hour workshop to touch base on intermediate to advanced level pole moves.  I've had experience with using the pole and silks together without any prior instruction, therefore some of the basics I learned in the workshop we very useful.  We performed some fairly involved moves on the fabric utilizing both the aerial knot and the free form of silks.  The workshop really focused on using the silks in combination with pole work to it's fullest potential.  I learned some new techniques that I can integrate into my existing curriculum with specific moves that I hadn't otherwise considered. 

I look forward to exploring more concepts with my existing device and discovering more uses for this tool in my lesson plans as my students progress.  I really enjoyed the workshop and found I learned some valuable information that will assist me in my teaching.

For more information on FabPole and upcoming workshops please visit:

Monday, September 29, 2014

How to build your own around the pole portable dance floor

Every pole dancer dreams of having beautiful hardwood floors to pirouette effortlessly on around the pole.  Sometimes ripping up the carpet in our designated pole room or area just for this purpose is not feasible. Buying a portable dance floor can also be quite pricey.  This is why I decided it was time to build my own portable dance floor.  Below, I've included all the supplies with links for how I built my portable pole dancing floor.  If you're wanting yours to be extra portable you may want to cut the flooring differently to allow the pieces to break down smaller.  Once mine was built, it remained in place as I had a space in my home designated as my pole room so I didn't need to break it down and move it.  If I was to move it, it required two people to move or disassemble.  With all that said, let's get started on how to assemble your very own portable pole fitness dance floor.

Supply List:
1. 2 4'x8' pieces of plywood
2. Package of straight metal fasteners
3. Screws -the size will depend on the thickness of plywood you selected
4. Peel and stick laminate hardwood tiles- square or strips

1. Drill
2. Saw (optional if needing to cut plywood down to fit in an area that will not accomadate 8'x8' flooring)
3. Safety glasses (if you're sawing you should wear these to protect your eyes!)
4. Tape measure
5. Pencil
6. Level

My finished flooring was 8'x7'.  My husband cut down one piece of plywood to 8'x3' length to fit the flooring in my pole room.  This also allowed my to place my pole in the middle of the dance floor as it offset the seam where the two pieces of plywood came together.  If you're wanting to wear heels, offsetting the seam may be something you want to consider when planning the layout of your floor.  The seam wasn't too big on mine and I wore heels all the time on it and never got my heel caught, but depending on how your finished project comes together this may be something you want to strongly consider throughout the process in order to prevent the seam versus heel scenario. 

Steps to building your custom portable pole fitness dance floor:

1. Cut plywood to desired size using measuring tape, level, pencil, safety glasses, and saw (skip this step if no cutting needed)
2. Fit 2 pieces of plywood together with groove into edge on the floor.  My pieces of plywood were bowed slightly so I had to flip the plywood for bow side facing down to create a flat dance floor surface. 
3. Fasten two pieces of plywood together using straight fasteners along the seam. 
4.  With 2 or 3 strong people, raise the flooring and flip over.
5. Apply peel and stick tiles to floor avoiding placement over seams if you want to be able to disassemble your floor in the future. 
6. Allow peel and stick tiles to adhere and add pole for completed project. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dear New Student: A guide for beginner pole or aerial silks students

As a new student, you will have a lot of questions.  One of the most importance questions on the top of your list is most likely- where do I start?  At Pole Harmony, all new students start off by taking an intro class. We have two classes to choose from.  If you're wanting to start pole classes, you will take the Pole Discovery intro class. If you're looking to start taking aerial silks classes, you will take the Aerial Discovery intro to silks class.  Each of these classes are offered on various days and times depending on the current semester.  You don't have to wait until the start of a new semester to get started.  Our classes change on a semester basis in order to allow us to change up the days and times classes are offered to appeal to a wider variety of clients who have busy work schedules that often conflict with their favorite class offerings.

Once you complete the intro class, you have several options for proceeding with our alternative fitness program.  You can take any one of our non-series pole or aerial fitness classes that are offered throughout the week or you can register for a pole or aerial series.  Our non-series pole and aerial fitness classes are offered pay as you go and allow you to show up as often as you want or are able.  In these classes, you will learn something new every week.

We offer a variety of payment options for the non-series classes.  The first payment option is pay per class.  This is a great option for the occasional student who may have other life obligations but still wants to get in a pole or aerial class every once in awhile to balance life stresses or to work in conjuction with other forms of fitness disciplines. The next option is our class pass packages.  You can purchase 5 classes or 10 classes that are valid for a specified time frame.  This option is great for students who want to budget their workouts by allowing them to also stretch out their fitness plan according to a suitable time frame that enables consistency through progressive fitness.  Our final option is geared towards our serious pole and aerial enthusiasts, an unlimited monthly membership.  The unlimited monthly memberships include unlimited non-series classes and discounts that are applied to the overall cost of series classes.  Our unlimited monthly membership is a great deal for those who want to get the most out of our programs or for students who need a financial incentive for accountability towards their fitness regimen.  Whatever your motive or life situation, at Pole Harmony we want to be sure you are able to enjoy everything we have to offer.

Another option for your post intro class workout includes taking one of our series classes.  We currently offer two series options- Pole Foundations and Aerial Foundations.  In the Pole Foundations series, you will learn an arsenal of moves choreographed in a fun routine.  Our Aerial Foundations series focuses on specific moves and conditioning exercises to increase strength, endurance, and flexibility. All our series classes are divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.

Now that you've either decided or have an idea of what course of action you'd like to proceed with in regards to taking classes at Pole Harmony, we'd like to cover some basic class information tailored to some of our frequently asked questions.  The first question we often hear focuses on attire.  Below are the following what to wear descriptions for both our pole and aerial silks classes.

What to wear for pole classes:  For your first Pole Class, you may wear a comfortable t-shirt/tank, yoga pants/capris, or shorts. Footwear is optional and limited to dance approved foot protectors, socks, or gym shoes. It is recommended students attend classes bare feet. Certain moves may require extra mobility and students may want to bring a pair of socks to protect feet. Please refrain from wearing lotions or oils on your skin as well as strong fragrances and perfumes.

What to wear for aerial silks classes: For our Aerial Classes we recommend wearing form fitting attire that covers legs, torso, and under arms. Leggings/yoga pants recommended with a short sleeved top. Classes are taught with students in bare feet. Please tie back long hair. Do not wear any jewelry such as rings, bracelets, watches, necklaces, or dangling earrings. These items may get caught in the fabric and ripped out or may create tears that will damage the fabric.   The next question we often hear is; how do I sign up for a class?  At Pole Harmony, we utilize an online booking program that allows our students to sign up for classes or book parties 24/7.  Simply visit our online schedule page ( and click book next to the class of your choice.  We've created an online tutorial on how to book a class at Pole Harmony which can be viewed here:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Yes you can!

Every so often, when someone discovers I teach pole dancing for fitness, one of the first things that person says is, "I could never do that."  I completely understand where they're coming from.  Pole dancing can be intimidating.  A lot of what has taken years to achieve is what is out there for all to see.  The impressive tricks and flow is generally the representation of our sport.  What people don't see firsthand is the hard work, struggles, and time that has gone in to getting to the point where one can levitate effortlessly and defy gravity. 

Everyone starts somewhere. And it usually isn't pretty. No way does someone just walk up to a pole and start moving- let alone flipping, effortlessly around the pole.  Even if you have supernatural existing strength, you will still find struggles where you thought things would be easy.  There are many aspects to pole that everyone should learn first and foremost for the safest technique to be performed each and every time.  These foundational skills are the building blocks to bigger and better things in your pole fitness journey.  We crawl before we walk. When we were little, we didn't just jump out of the crib and start walking.  It was a process of building up muscles in our legs and increasing balance.  The same process goes for learning pole- or any other type of dance discipline.  You will first learn very easy moves that help you build strength in your legs and increase balance.  Many of these moves consist of walking techniques and getting comfortable with apparatus dancing. 

Going back to the generalized statement I often hear in response to my teaching pole, "I could never do that." My answer to that is, if you can walk, then you can pole.  Although, I'm beginning to think that times are changing and the matter of walking to do pole may no longer be a prerequisite as I'm almost certain if you're wheelchair bound, you can also find a way to pole.  So if you've ever shot down the idea of pole, I strongly encourage you to rethink your stance.  Pole dancing for fitness is fun, rewarding, and an activity that challenges areas of your body that typical gym workouts and equipment fails to engage.  Pole dancing embodies all disciplines in fitness- from strength, cardio, flexibility, to balance.  You can't get this much attention to all areas of focus from any other workout.

If you're trying to decide if pole dancing for fitness is right for you, the only way you will ever know is by taking a class.  To get started, check out your local pole dancing studio and sign up today for an intro to pole class.  In a year, you'll wish you started today. Happy poling!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Someone Reported Your Photo...What?!

It's never happened to me, but it has to a lot of my fellow pole dancer friends.  The technological slap in the face- I reported your photo to Facebook because I didn't like it maneuver.  Generally when this happens, people are reporting pictures they find offensive by claiming the photo in question contains nudity.  Of all the pictures I've seen reported- NONE have contained nudity.  They have all been women wearing standard pole attire. For the average pole dancer/competitor, your attire is a safety issue.  Yes, we show more skin than a football player.  Some may even argue certain sports or dance disciplines such as volleyball or gymnastics actually wear LESS than pole dancers.  Much in regards to the great attire debate can be disputed.  The one thing that can't be debated is, when you put a woman wearing a bathing suit type attire with a pole- suddenly people take offense. 

I'd like to take a few moments to explore the "why?"  Simply put- people fear what they do not understand.  I used to have an extreme fear of flying in an airplane.  The strange thing about my fear of flying is it was just a fear of flying in airplanes.  I could sit all day long in a helicopter and fly over the mountains all day long.  This never bothered me.  On our honeymoon helicopter ride over the Great Smoky Mountains, my husband was beside himself as the wind grabbed our helicopter pitching it up over the mountain peak in an unsettling ride that left us momentarily assessing our fate.  Through this encounter, I wasn't as panic stricken as I would have been if we were on an airplane.  The reason?  If you've ever been in a helicopter, you're practically in the cockpit sitting with the pilot where all the action is.  I have a better understanding of the mechanics of my ride.  Knowing what is going on eased my anxiety, therefore flying in helicopter always felt safer to me.  (Statistically, I'm not sure this is true compared to an airplane?)  It wasn't until I went on a Florida trip a few years ago with my husband that I really began to lose my fear of flying.  I was in my hotel room on St. Pete beach skimming through the television channels as I got ready to turn in for the night.  I happened to come across a show about "When flights meet disaster."  Not entirely the type of show I was wanting to watch given I was about to board a flight home in the following days.  Initially I didn't settle on watching the show as I knew it would further my anxiety about my upcoming flight.  A funny thing happened while watching this documentary depicting flight tragedies.  I learned more about planes and the safety mechanisms in order to evade tragedy.  It was through this insight that I was able to finally understand my fears and for the first time I actually looked out the window and payed more attention to why I felt sick and what was going on to make me feel the way I was in flight. 

I'm not entirely sure people "fear" pole dancing in the same magnitude as they would flying.  What I can decipher is that pole dancing images make people uncomfortable.  Simply because they don't understand what they are seeing when looking at a picture of a pole dancer.  The group of people that are offended by pole dancing pictures see a negative connotation.  Others privy to the pole world see athletes.  It's an amazing world out there full of so many interesting differing opinions.  I love how the pole community is dedicated to shedding light on the dark areas of pole and what it really is compared to what it used to be. I feel like as time goes on, more people will begin to understand we're just working out in the best way we find appealing to us.  Treadmills aren't for everyone, and for that percentage of the population that has found their true calling in maintaining a healthy lifestyle? I applaud you and encourage you to not sweat those who don't understand.  Continue to share your achievements and maybe some day they will eventually realize their unsettling feelings of discomfort as a response to your picture is really more about their misunderstanding of a movement more welcoming than their misinformed judgment.

Friday, July 25, 2014

PDBA July Blog Hop: The Mid Year Review

I was inspired by this image provided by the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association to write more in depth about the path of discovery I have traveled this year in regards to personal and business endeavors.  It's hard to believe 2014 is half way through.  I feel like it was just January.  As I look back, the past 6 months have trended towards discovering focus in both my personal and professional life.

Personally, I've paid less attention to negative influences and found myself to be more at ease and better able to concentrate on what I'm doing more.  It's been a liberating experience to let go of members of the aerial community that don't fit my idea of an uplifting and positive environment.  In any performing arts community, negativity can be intense and overwhelming.  It happens in the most creative environments when strong personalities come together- especially in such a competitive industry like aerial arts.  Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of positive experiences and energy too, unfortunately it's the negativity that will take the spotlight in many situations.  I've witnessed a strong movement by fellow close friends who have also begun surrounding themselves with kindred spirits. The results have been amazing with so much energy and love for life's experiences and learning opportunities.  This personal influence has also trickled over into my business agenda.

Owning a business is an ongoing learning process.  One thing I absolutely love about owning my own business is all the ideas I generate are my own.  I love the freedom of letting the business evolve. In just a week, I'll be hosting my first student showcase.  Throughout the process of rehearsals, I've been so amazed by the strength and achievements of my students in their practice.  I've discovered strength within myself through the pride I feel for their accomplishments.  Through this experience, I have discovered the sense of community and empowering each other through support as being an integral part of what Pole Harmony is all about.  The harmony or balance within one's self and all the fitness disciplines and aspects associated with aerial dance is much more clearly understood to me now than it was when Pole Harmony began.  Existing and excelling independently is not possible without the encouragement of others and the supplemental details that attribute to one's personal progression.  Pole Harmony can't exist without all the elements that make it whole.

With each passing day, I watch my students grow as they become stronger internally and externally.   The pole and aerial life has become more about the journey for me.  As I'm teaching, I'm also learning.  This learning process has been an amazing journey that fuels my passion of pole and aerial dance.  One thing I've discovered about the pole industry, as represented out there among social media outlets, is it is not flawless.  Yes, the pictures and videos out there may appear to be, but there's a lot of hard work and years that have gone into those representations.  I've been pole dancing for six years now and I just recently performed my first ever flawless (in my own overly self critical opinion) artistic piece.  It was hard for me to compile so much strength and flow into one 5 minute long song.  5 minutes of choreography in an art form that requires so much total body commitment from  both mind and body can seem like an eternity.  I applaud those that share and represent for whatever level they may be- day 1 or 1,000.  Each and every representation takes hard work worth appreciating.

So what have I discovered this year? In summary:
  • I have discovered it's okay to rid myself of those who just tear me and others around them down.
  • I have discovered my business is a sanctuary. A place to safely evolve.
  • I have discovered my brand is supportive empowerment.
  • I have discovered my blog is a platform to educate and express my passion for apparatus style dancing.
  • I have discovered my pole life is not about teaching but more about learning.
  • I have discovered the pole industry is not flawless but regardless of it's level of perfection, every detail and moment is an accomplishment and deserves to be applauded as we would for the best version of the end result.  
 Thank you for reading and continuing to support everything I do.  Blog Hop is a monthly blog topic involving pole dancing blog contributors from around the world actively involved in the online Pole Dancing Bloggers Association. Each month we write our perspective about a given topic pertaining to the pole dancing community. To read fellow Pole Dancing Bloggers Association July Blog Hop entries: 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Online Fitness Challenges

The pole and aerial community is exploding with online challenges these days that offer a fun way to stay motivated in your workouts.  I've been seeing so many of these challenges and have mentioned a few to my students.  I realize trying to keep up can be quite confusing so I decided to compile a list of some of the top challenges my pole and aerial friends are participating in.  If you have a favorite online challenge that is not on the list, please feel free to leave a comment with details below.

1. Finding Your Freestyle #fyfchallenge #findingyourfreestyle 
Category: Ongoing
Created by pole dancer Tracee Kafer and offered as a class at New York's Body & Pole Studio, Finding Your Freestyle followers stay connected with challenges via Facebook and YouTube by posting videos of themselves performing the current challenge with the pole.

2. @BeachYogaGirl
Category: Ongoing
Kerri Verna is a Yoga instructor in West Palm Beach.  Kerri has taken her teachings from local to national via the internet by offering online classes and Yoga themed online challenges.  Followers stay connected with the monthly challenges via Instagram. The monthly challenges have been posted in the form of a picture where each day of the month followers perform a pose of the day and share via social media by tagging the challenge's original creators.  Kerri includes videos with tips and instruction via her Instagram account to accompany each pose of the day. Check out July's challenge below:
3. BeSpun Flow Challenge #BeSpunFlow #VideoBattle
Category: Summer 2014
A recent installment to the online challenges, BeSpun Pole Workout Studio in Los Angeles, California, has recently launched a summer flow challenge.  Each week, BeSpun introduces a pole dance combo and follows up throughout the week with tips and tricks to smoothing out the combo and making it your own.  Challenge participants may also submit videos of themselves performing the combo and submit it for a video battle to win prizes.  Followers can stay connected and motivated for this challenge via the BeSpun Flow Challenge Facebook Group.

4. #MoreHandstandLove @shaktiactivewear @fitqueenirene
Category: Summer 2014
Another Instagram challenge courtesy of users @shaktiactivewear @fitqueenirene.
A trend I have noticed with all these Instagram challenges is the sponsorship of Yoga wear brands. Not only is this a genius idea to incorporate an internet motivational challenge, this is also a smart marketing move for companies that have a broader consumer base.  I've included this challenge mainly because it has been a popular challenge among my pole and aerial friends.
5. #Handstand365 @handstandsanonymous 
Category: Ongoing 2014
A handstand a day for an entire year!  Followers of this challenge can share their progress daily and draw inspiration for handstand poses via the Facebook group Handstands Anonymous. Follow this group via Instagram and Twitter.  At the end of the challenge the images with the most likes will be selected for the 2015 Handstands Anonymous calendar. All proceeds will go to support addiction recovery.
6. StudioVeena Monthly Challenges
Category: Ongoing
A monthly theme for the pole, this challenge is part of the online pole community at  Members share their videos via the online pole community site.  Membership is free and the community allows users to share their dance progress in one location where everything is all pole 24/7.  Video features allow users to share their own videos via Facebook and Twitter.

7. #aprilpolejunkies #polechallenge @yazminqc
Category: Monthly Ongoing
This challenge first came on my radar back in April with the instagram #aprilpolejunkies challenge.  A pole move a day for the entire month of April.  Since then, the instagram member has continued with monthly pole related challenges.  Even though it's now July and April is long gone, the April challenge would still be a great challenge for those wanting to have fun and stay motivated and explore their capabilities on the pole. Followers can stay up to date on the latest challenges and find tips and tricks to each move via @yazminqc on instagram.

8. Pole Dancing Bloggers Association Pole Photo-A-Week Challenge
Category: Monthly Ongoing
A fun challenge incorporating a weekly photo theme courtesy of the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association!  This challenge is open to all social media outlets.  Each month is accompanied by a blog post describing the challenge and how to participate.  Check out July's Blog Challenge here.
9. #100HappyDays
Category: Ongoing
This one is a challenge that is for everyone regardless of their pole and aerial commitments. Participants submit a picture every day via a specified social media platform.  The picture can be anything that made you happy for that day.  I'm pretty sure if I was to do this one, my dog would dominate my 100 Happy Days.  To get registered, visit

10. #boomkittenpole @boomloulou @lithiumkitten @polefly
Category: Ongoing
Three of the pole community members coming together to create a monthly challenge focusing on categorizing pole moves and working on the variations among that category. Follow @boomloulou on Instagram for the details on this challenge. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Blueberry July

July has been declared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as National Blueberry month.  In honor of this exquisite fruit, we've decided to share a few tasty recipes. 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  To get started with your day, add some fresh blueberries to your morning pancakes.  A traditional breakfast favorite, during the peak blueberry season May-October, you can find local fresh blueberries at the market.  Want to enjoy the delicious healthy addition to your breakfast during the winter months?  Try frozen blueberries. 

Another great breakfast option that also doubles as a great mid-day snack is cottage cheese and blueberries.  Cottage cheese is known for being rich in protein.  Protein is an essential dietary element that helps maintain, repair, and build muscles (Coleman, 2014).

Blueberries are great alone or paired with other fruits.  During the summer months, strawberries are also in season.  A delicious snack or dessert alone that can be paired with yogurt or pudding includes the addition of strawberries and bananas with your blueberries.  The pairing of a lemon or vanilla pudding adds just the right amount of sweetness that balances the tartness of both the blueberry and strawberry combination.  Want to chill out on a hot summer night?  Substitute yogurt or pudding for vanilla icecream. 

Blueberries may be traditionally thought of as a food element, however the trend of juicing has introduced many delicious recipes.  We found a great starter juice recipe on the blog Clementine Bean.  This juice recipe includes mixing blueberries, spinach, green apple, and lemon.  Please note that if you're wanting to get into juicing, you will want to invest in a juicer.  There are many juicers out there on the market. Check out this article What is the best Juicer? by Green Juice a Day to learn more about the different types of juicers and how you can get started.

Not interested in juicing but still want a refreshing beverage that includes blueberries?  Another great recipe I came across recommended freezing blueberries in an ice cube tray and adding blueberry ice cubes to your favorite drinks like iced tea or lemonade.  Instead of just freezing whole blueberries, we recommend blending a few berries in a small amount of water and freezing for an ice cube that melts blueberry flavor right into your drink. 

It was fun to research multiple recipes for blueberries and how to go about enjoying this healthy fruit.  We hope you enjoyed this article and would love for you to share your favorite blueberry recipes with us below. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

PumpUp App: Using technology to it's fullest potential when working out

To continue with the June PDBA focus on the body this month, we recently came across an article introducing a new fitness app that connects all the common social media networks through image sharing and combines it with a useful workout tracking program.  PumpUp is a fun app that allows you to take your healthy lifestyle a step up and organize your workouts through photographing your progress with your body as it changes, display new tricks on the pole, or share images of your favorite healthy dishes and recipes.  With a simple click, you can collectively share your progress with all your favorite social media sites. 

I wanted to get to know this app a little more so I decided to download the free app from the Apple App store.  PumpUp is also available in the Google Play store for non-iphone users. 

Once downloaded, you can sign in via your Facebook or email.  After logging in, you will be prompted to complete your profile.  Once your profile is complete, you can log your activity, start a workout, track weight, or simply share a photo.  When logging activity, various fitness activities are shown in a list format.  For my pole dancing workout, I choose dance as my activity.  The app then allows you to enter the duration and intensity of your activity and based on the height and weight you entered when completing your profile the calories burned will calculate. 

After you've entered the information for your logged activity, you may also add a picture.  I decided to take some screen shots from my workout and with the help of the picture collage app PicStitch, I created an image that displayed all my screenshots for a single shared image: 

The app overall resembles Instagram in it's layout except it has the additional benefits of keeping track of your workout.  One of the uses for this app that I can see a huge motivator would be to combine a side by side image with a FITspiration image and your progress towards achieving your FITspiration aerial, pole, yoga, or flexibility pose. In our June PDBA blog hop, we defined the term FITspiration and discussed this movement in the fitness world.  I think this app can be fun and useful for fitness enthusiasts.  I'm interested to see how PumpUp will develop over time and fit into my fitness regimen. 

Aside from the quick logging of your workout, PumpUp allows you to build a workout based on your training goal to lose weight, get toned, build muscle, or just to be healthy.  After choosing a category for building your workout, you then choose the intensity level, duration, and location of your workout.  Based on your location, the app will ask you what equipment you have available.  The equipment varies from weights, cardio, machines, and other.  You may also choose no equipment.  The app further walks you through what muscle groups you'd like to target.  Once you complete all the selections, the app will build a workout and coach your through each exercise starting with a warmup.  The entire activity gives image tutorials of each workout with instructions on how many reps and how long.  All this activity is saved and logged to your profile to track your progress and allow you to repeat the same workout at another time.  As an instructor always looking for new ideas to add to my conditioning class, this app will serve as a tool to add great exercises that target key muscle groups I'd like to focus on in my classes based on my student's needs. 

We're excited to start using and figuring out more benefits to PumpUp.  If you've downloaded PumpUp fitness app, be sure to find and follow us @PoleHarmony.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June PDBA Blog Hop: FITspiration

This month's Pole Dancing Bloggers Association (PDBA) blog hop theme is the body issue. We're talking about anything and everything in modern day culture related to the body and pole dancing.  Our body is our temple. It is our sacred shell that we should enjoy and take care of.  A huge ritual of taking care of our body includes the actions we participate in to meet our fitness goals.  With all the instant access to social media and photo sharing, the culture of the fitness industry has adopted the use of images to draw inspiration to meeting those fitness goals.  The term FITspiration has been coined to describe this phenomenon.  Urban Dictionary defines FITspiration as follows:

In the pole world, FITspiration has been prevalent long before the use of picture sharing sites such as instagram and pinterest.  Pole dancers have been taking pictures of pole moves and sharing via social media to inspire each other for years.  Through these images, we have grown as an industry including bringing awareness to pole dancing for fitness.

FITspiration brings about a renewed meaning to the infamous quote, "A picture is worth a thousand words," -Napoleon Bonaparte.  An image can mean so many different things and every observer will interpret the image differently.  This is where FITspiration, although intentions may be good, can lead to very negative messages.  The REEMBODY Blog points out six FITspiration themes that take this trend in a negative direction that promotes a dangerous mindset and culture in the article, The 6 Most Shockingly Irresponsible "FITspiration" Photos.

Since there is no filter out there for FITspiration, I wanted to offer some tips to consider when using FITspiration images to motivate you towards your goals.  In choosing your image as a positive FITspiration, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Does this image align with the concept I want for my body?
2. Is this a goal I feel I can achieve for my current level or body's capabilities?
3. Do I have the appropriate support to work towards this goal safely?
4. Is this image free of promotional measures that exceed my body's internal alerting system?

Safety should be a huge consideration when looking for motivation.  It's easy to see an image and want to draw inspiration from that image.  A healthy image promotes healthy results by safe and healthy means.  When using images as a business, I'm often looking for details that include proper form and technique.  I feel like keeping these details in mind also keeps my business aligned with my mission of promoting safety to my students. It is through owning my own business and promoting fitness and health to others that I have become body conscious. I hope that through the use of tools that are available, others will benefit from drawing inspiration to heighten their body awareness and fuel their motivation to succeed. 

Continue the discussion: Are you someone who uses FITspiration?  What kinds of FITspiration images do you use? Is there an overall theme to your inspiration, i.e. flexibility, tricks, strength? 

Blog Hop is a monthly blog topic involving pole dancing blog contributors from around the world actively involved in the online Pole Dancing Bloggers Association. Each month we write our perspective about a given topic pertaining to the pole dancing community. To read fellow Pole Dancing Bloggers Association June Blog Hop entries:

Friday, May 9, 2014

Book Review: 100 Affirmations for Your Pole Dance Journey

I find the movement of pole dancing outside of the studio to be a very positive reinforcement for the direction the industry is taking.  From blogs to books- pole dancing is out there and isn't going away.  I was thrilled to receive a copy of 100 Affirmations for Your Pole Dance Journey by Sara Catino.  Catino's (2014) eBook is a short book including a list of one hundred affirmations that portray feelings of self worth as one embarks on the roller coaster ride that we all know and love about pole dancing.  Yes, pole dancing can be full of so many ups and downs.  Whatever your level of experience and commitment to pole dancing, you are sure to experience a wealth of emotions.  As much as many of us would like to ride the happy high of pole entirely, the truth in the matter is, pole dancing can be hard and challenging thus leaving you feeling discouraged.  I've seen it time and time again with my students and have experienced it myself. There is a side to pole we wish to not see.

It's unfortunate that our downfalls can have such a negative impact on our overall feelings.  What challenges us physically also challenges us mentally.  It's through this process that we develop our inner being and morph into the strong and confident person we strive to be.  100 Affirmations for Your Pole Dance Journey is a book with unlimited possibilities. Catino has a brief introduction that tells the reader why she wrote the book and how it was intended to be used.  Readers are instructed to read one of the affirmations daily prior to their pole class or workout.  The action of filling your mind with a positive thought about the activity you are about to perform is said to help you feel better about the activity and your performance. As a studio owner in a performing arts specialty, I often find myself looking for ways to fuel positivity within my place of business and my own personal reflection.  Pole dancing is a competitive business.  With competition, we are often faced with negativity and hearsay.  Things that shouldn't be a part of a small business owner's plan and daily operations, unfortunately are.  I'll be the first to admit, it takes a lot of energy to have the strength to tune out the static of negativity.  I can say that once it is done, it gets easier to maintain.  Everything with persistent practice gets easier over time. 

This philosophy holds true with changing your perspective from negative to positive.  I've had other studio owners ask for help when it comes to students that lack the desired "can do" attitude.  Like I said, pole can be a frustrating experience.  There will always be a time when a student meets their nemesis move.  Some breeze through everything with ease where from an outside or fellow student's observation says, "Wow, why can't I be like her and have everything happen so easily? Why do I struggle when they don't? They make it look so easy. I can't do it."  I have heard these words uttered.  I have seen students waive the white flag in defeat.  And what do I say to this? It's okay to feel frustrated and defeated today.  Next practice is a clean slate. Another opportunity to break the barrier.

As I read through a few of the affirmations in Catino's book, it occurred to me that this book could be used in various ways as an internal exercise.  I always say pole dancing is a physical and mental workout.  I encourage my students to use a pole diary/journal to work through their journey. This past year, I decided 2014 was going to be the year I would dedicate towards taking the time to regularly contribute to my own personal aerial journal.  I do feel the book could include some additional guidance in this regard.  Readers often want to have a tool and all it's uses explained to them.  This book gives one concrete use for it's purpose, however I feel like there are more uses that can be explored.  I would love to incorporate a daily affirmation for my students to ponder throughout their workout for the day.  This book provides great examples of statements students would benefit from hearing prior to their workout experience.  I may play around with some alternative ideas to move towards incorporating these affirmations in my classes as I feel very strongly that including positive thoughts into our minds can have a significant impact on how we feel.  This book couldn't have been sent to me at a better time.  In a conscious effort to dispel negativity from my life, I have found myself actively seeking opportunities that provide satisfying experiences.  One of which I recently shared via social media that came to fruition when a fellow known pole instructor depicted a growing frustration with pole related drama:
   I think it's a great idea to fill yourself with positive thoughts. Positive thoughts are like little seeds that once you plant them in your brain (soil) they grow into beautiful things (like a garden of beautiful flowers). I was really upset yesterday that when I went to a local park just to see these beautiful tulips- they were all gone. The park had tilled them up in preparation for the next season's flowers. It got me thinking about affirmations and creating a garden within. These flowers meant so much to me. I had been looking forward to them for days -if not weeks. Life sometimes gets in the way and prevents you from doing what you really want to do. It's so easy to let some drama till up your inner garden. It's through the positive thoughts that you can console yourself and regrow your positivity. I know in my heart, the tulips will return. I know another season will come and another beauty will have taken their place. I know it is my choice to continue to feed my inner garden and let the positivity continue to grow.
This book of affirmations will feed your garden.  It is your choice to let your garden of positivity grow. The only way to maintain a healthy garden is to feed it the proper nutrition it needs.  I encourage you to try something new and step outside of the box for a mental moment and evaluate your innermost thoughts in relation to your dancing.  For more information and where to get your free copy of 100 Affirmations for Your Pole Dance Journey, click here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


It's a new movement taking hold over the pole world.  A dedication to safely training and teaching pole dancing for fitness.  For one, I feel like an initiative like this has been long over due.  In just the few short weeks of it's initiation, I have seen an enormous response and opening of necessary dialogue among the pole community. 

Just recently a community member spoke up on an issue that I have long kept as a thought to myself but unable to articulate.  Why is there an increase in instructors and students continuing to train for pole through injuries and pain?  This just seems to supersede the efforts of receiving treatment for injury when you proceed to engage in activity that caused said injury.  I think a good point that was raised with this issue is what kind of injuries are we referring to?  Injuries can happen and it's unrealistic to say that pole dancing being a full on contact sport with an apparatus is going to be injury free. The types of injuries like bruising and minor aches are common.  These are not the injuries I'm referring to in this debate.  The type of injuries being seen more frequently involve sprains, strains, and breaks throughout the body. What are the red flags we should be seeing in the community where we've come to accept that these more serious injuries are becoming common place in pole? The origin of this issue was directed towards the increased use of pain medication among pole instructors/athletes.  Pain medication has a direct warning to not operate heavy machinery or a motor vehicle.  The reasoning is, pain medication impairs motor skills.  So why would anyone continue to teach classes or train in a sport involving movement and high risk activities when they are taking medication that impairs the necessary skill needed to safely function?  Another interesting debate on this issue involves the use of Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).  These medications can be purchased in the United States over the counter.  They include medications that target pain due to inflammation such as Ibuprofen.  The debate with NSAIDs was highlighted in Bethany Freel's Vertical Athlete, where Freel (2013) discusses the dangers of these drugs masking pain and enabling injuries.  I've seen many pole athletes rely heavily on the use of NSAIDs to either get them through teaching classes or training for an upcoming competition.  Is this a current practice that needs to be looked more into? What kind of interventions can be implemented to make changes in how we're affecting our bodies? 

If you're wanting to get serious about your pole workouts, you really need to have a plan to remedy the lifestyle.  Fitness is a lifestyle.  Pole dancing is fitness.  So what can you do to improve the quality and relationship of your body and the pole? 

One thing I have found and many pole athletes preach about is body maintenance.  This is similar to regular health check ups you would initiate when going to the doctor for a physical, the gynecologist for a pap smear, or the dentist for a cleaning.  When it comes to body maintenance, what is it about the American culture that we don't put simple acts such as getting a monthly or biweekly massage on our list of priorities?  This past year, my husband and I made it a priority to indulge and allow ourselves to receive monthly massages via a local spa's monthly membership option.  I often find myself thinking- how did I maintain a state of balance with my body all these years prior?  I can't fathom how I ever functioned without this monthly necessity. 

Several months in to owning my own studio, I began to feel an increased tension in my shoulders immediately preceding my classes.  I teach an upwards of 7-9 classes a week, depending on the schedule.  I am the sole operator- as in owner and instructor of pole and aerial classes at my studio.  Right now, this is what needs to be done in order for my dreams of Pole Harmony to exist.  The monthly massages would target the shoulder tension, but as soon as I'd teach again, it would soon return.  At the same time, I decided it was time to also start working on a long sought goal of being able to over the head hold one of my feet in order to perform a closed inner leg hang, cocoon, or an even more daunting and impressive goal move- the eagle.  All of these moves have an increase in shoulder flexibility in common.  I wrote a routine to implement into my weekly deep flexibility classes and after just two weeks of my new routine, the shoulder tension has subsided and I've had a major break through in my over the head foot grab goal.  It was at this point, I had an epiphany.  By changing up my routine, I've not only been able to obtain a goal I've set for myself, I've also relieved a minor ache and pain I'd been experiencing due to my fitness routine.  I wholeheartedly view my weekly flexibility class as a necessity in regards to being part of my ongoing body maintenance. 

I wanted to share my experience and insight with others who may be deeply involved in the day to day chaotic existence of their busy lives and for those who are also in the same position as me in owning a fitness studio on their own.  Through the forum's original thread where the issue was discussed, I posed the question to others as follows:

"It would be helpful for those who have injured themselves (not talking if you have a condition that predisposes you to pain) would elaborate on what they learned from their experience of obtaining an injury and what - if anything- they've changed in their approach to teaching as a result. i.e. do you now incorporate a monthly massage? Have you integrated a weekly deep flexibility class? Do you do anything different in your classes like longer warmups or cool downs?"

The responses were varied and not many directly answered my post.  One commenter posted that one thing that has been learned is humility.  This person explained that they have come to realize there will never be a time where they can do every move out there or the move of the moment.  It's about knowing your body and it's limitations.  To me, this goes back to the roots of the whole purpose of our coming together to collaboratively set forth an effort for safety within the industry.  Others commented that if experiencing an injury and being in the situation where teaching must go on (for whatever reason as everyone has a different circumstance and a generalized judgment isn't a fair assessment), they make their injury known to their students and progress based on the limitations of their injury. I don't remember where I read this as I've searched for it to no avail, but someone had written somewhere online that an older dance teacher no longer capable to teach her classes by personally performing every movement was still successful in teaching students at times from a chair.

In closing, I'd like to still pose my original question- whether you're an instructor, studio owner, or a student of dance and movement arts.  What have you found to help your body find balance in your art form?  If you feel a potential for injury through increased tension or experienced an injury, what changes did you or do you plan to implement?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

PDBA April Blog Hop: Emotionality of Dance

I feel like this has been a recurrent theme within my writing.  Dance and emotion.  More importantly, the expressive aspect of pole dancing and emotion.  This is something we work on every month in our Freestyle Friday Workshop sessions at the studio, Pole Harmony.  I define these monthly workshops as being a way to explore expressive movement. 

"Expressive movement is visually captivating and emotionally cleansing for the dancer as a means of therapeutic dance." -Pole Harmony Freestyle Fridays.

Aside from expressive movement being visually captivating, this form of movement allows the dancer to tap into personal emotions and feelings while dancing.  The process of dancing through your emotions creates an experience that one may describe as therapeutic or spiritual. I often see posts on social media where fellow pole dancers are experiencing life stresses and in response the general theme of their verbiage reflects the quote, "Dance it out."

When we're stressed, we pole.  I have heard friends of mine say that their best private performance sessions have come out of dancing through particularly stressful life situations.  In the past few months, I have come to personally experience and benefit from the cleansing effects of pole dancing. This year has been quite stressful for me personally.  I have mentally battled with my situation of needing to be four hours away from everything I have built as my life.  The constant feeling of guilt for building a life so far from where mine started has left me answering many questions about the future and fate of all I know and love.  There have been moments where I thought of letting go of the studio and putting my energy into a project that involves my natural caregiver role.  The back and forth travel has been physically exhausting amongst an insurmountable emotionally exhausting circumstance.  Through it all, the normalcy and routine of teaching and moving through dance has been a blessing for my mind, body, and soul.  I can't imagine how I would cope without the ability to dance.   There have been times when I've left the studio feeling rejuvenated and mentally ready to take on the world.  Pole dancing has become the most natural healer for me both physically and mentally.  Dancing is so much more than a hobby that I enjoy.  It's become an outlet that allows my body to become and maintain a healthy state by creating a balance within my life that I need.  That I crave. 

The level of mental clarity post pole session is amazing and for that, I am grateful.  I now think to myself that if ever I throw in the towel on the studio, I know that dancing will not be forgotten.  My mind, body, and soul needs pole dancing.  Through this, I hope to share this passion and introduce the balance I have discovered through this art with others.  Until the day where every good thing must come to an end, for now I'll dance it out. 

 Blog Hop is a monthly blog topic involving pole dancing blog contributors from around the world actively involved in the online Pole Dancing Bloggers Association. Each month we write our perspective about a given topic pertaining to the pole dancing community. To read fellow Pole Dancing Bloggers Association April Blog Hop entries: Click Here.

Friday, March 7, 2014

PDBA March Blog Hop: Living up to expectations

No one is perfect.  We're human.  We make mistakes- or rather, we encounter learning experiences.  It's the human condition.  Some of us feel the pressure to perform a certain way, to strive for perfection.  In actuality, striving for perfection is an endless battle.  There is no finish line to perfection.  One doesn't attain it and suddenly there is a huge ribbon we run through labeled "perfection."  It just isn't possible.  So why then, do many strive for the unachievable? 

It's so easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of things we don't want to be involved in.  Negative thoughts, drama, political arguments, and self obsessed feelings of inadequacy.  It's important we not dwell on these occurrences as they only accomplish one thing- nothing.  How is all this related to pole dancing?  The pole community is full of competition.  Competition against businesses. Competition against each other in events. Competition against other classmates. Competition against ourselves.  An undying cycle of competing to be better.  To be THE BEST.  In the grand spectrum, many fail to realize it isn't the competition we should be focusing on, it's what WE have to put forth that should be recognized.  It's because of our own special qualities that we are unique and this uniqueness should be enough. 

I struggle with this myself.  It's something I am constantly working on as I continue to grow as an instructor and business owner.  I fight internal battles with myself as I feel a lacking in certain areas I feel others are flourishing in.  It's a constant, "I wish I had at my studio......" versus "I'm glad I actually don't have that at my studio...."- when does it end?  When can we truly be content?

Long gone are the days of what others are doing not being shoved in your face 24/7.  Check your Facebook and right in your face is the awesomeness of everyone around you.  Are some overly gloating?  Naturally.  But knowing this, do we still let it get to us?  Yes.  There has been a trend I've observed where popular culture has leaned towards clique like environments.  Of course this has never been a theme I wish to support, nor do I want that manifesting in my own space.  Yes, my own space.  The place I have created as a sanctuary for self expression through movement.  It is here where we excel to our capabilities and find goals to meet along the way.  Where the feeling of striving to just belong isn't a pressing theme.  An atmosphere supported by letting ourselves just dance. 

Have I failed my students by not
drilling them with the overwhelming world of "The Pole Community"?  I don't believe so.  I feel like maybe it's not the most popular route to take, however there is much more to a studio's existence than living up to the expectations of the community and striving to be on top.  Teaching others how to pole dance or dance in the air among fabric is my passion.  It's more than just about dancing.  Everything I teach is fueled by my passion.  A passion that is deeper than just the steps and spins, it's about connecting the body to the soul.  Moving in the movement in the moment.  That's just me being
revealed. No. It's me just being real.

Blog Hop is a monthly blog topic involving pole dancing blog contributors from around the world actively involved in the online Pole Dancing Bloggers Association. Each month we write our perspective about a given topic pertaining to the pole dancing community. To read fellow Pole Dancing Bloggers Association March Blog Hop entries: Click Here.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Joint Hyperextension and Pole Fitness

I recently had a student in one of my classes that I noticed had hyperextended joints.  What does it mean to have hyperextended joints?  Hyperextenion of the joints are when the joint- most commonly the elbow or knee, extend beyond normal limits (2014,  What causes hyperextension of joints? Ligaments, which are a connective tissue that connect bone to bone and provide joint stability, are loose and weak in hypermobile joints (Laskowski, 2011).  In the fitness industry, hyperextension and hypermobility of joints are of great concern.  Clients who have hypermobility in their joints are at great risk of injury resulting from the instability of the joint created by the loose or weak ligaments.  I found it was important that I did some research on this topic and learned more about how to encourage students to safely participate in classes when they experience hyperextension of the joints.

In the case of hyperextended knees, Gudmestad (2014) states that people who experience hyperextended knees often have weak quadriceps or have the tendency to not fully engage their quadriceps muscles when in straight leg poses or stretches.  Gudmestad recommends strengthening exercises that target the quadriceps muscles.  An example of an easy exercise that can be performed to strengthen the quadriceps muscles begins with lying in a supine position and placing a foam roller under the knee pit.  While flexing the foot, perform single leg lifts to straighten the leg while making sure to avoid hyperextending the knee when the leg is fully extended.  This video demonstrates the exercise visually.  There are many other exercises out there that one could do, this is just an example that I really liked because in the supine position, the foam roller placement allows the participant to lie flat and disengage the hyperextension of the knee. 

How can students safely participate in pole or aerial fitness classes? Pole and aerial fitness classes have a strong emphasis on moves that incorporate flexibility thus making it difficult for students with hyperextension to avoid the natural engagement of their joints that lie in hyperextension.  As an instructor it's important to be aware of students who display hyperextension in their joints.  When performing movements that risk engaging hyperextension of affected joints, instructors should encourage students to work on implementing a slight bend in the areas of hyperextension such as the arms or knees.  This practice decreases the impact directly on the joint and helps prevent damage to joints and ligaments (Jacoby, 2014).  As students work towards strengthening surrounding muscles, the act of engaging a slight bend will become easier. 

Gudmestad, J. (2014). The Hyperextended knee. Yoga Journal. Retrieved from

Jacoby, C. (2014). What Is Hyperextension Injury? HealthGuidance for better health. Retrieved from:

Laskowski, E.R. (2011). Joint hypermobility: What causes 'loose joints'? Mayo Clinic Online. Retrieved from

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Freestyle Friday: Tactile March. Eyes Closed.

This month we're tapping into the inspiration from pole dancer Eva Bembo's eyes closed video by dancing with eyes closed or a blind fold.  The message of this video is to "Feel the music inside. Just dance."  I love this message and what better way to get into that feeling than to strip ourselves of sight.  When taking away our sense of sight, our sense of touch becomes stronger.  I'm excited to implement this challenge in my dancing to discover what kind of movement is unveiled.  Bring your recording devices for this month's challenge! In addition to our regular monthly Freestyle Friday challenge, this month will also include a celebratory birthday jam session for Pole Harmony's owner/lead instructor and a special 20% off discount using promo code: DIRTY30

Our Freestyle Friday will begin with an instructor lead warmup followed by fun exercises that create skill building technique for developing your movement.  Pole Harmony Freestyle Friday sessions are designed to assist in developing expressive movement through dance.  Expressive movement is visually captivating and emotionally cleansing for the dancer as a means of therapeutic dance.  Learning how to let your dancing be the healthy outlet your body needs is an essential element to Freestyle Friday sessions.

Join us for our upcoming Freestyle Friday on Friday March 28th 7:30 PM
book now 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

What it means to truly dance with the pole.

This past week has been extremely stressful.  Over a week ago, I had to race back home to Chicagoland for a family emergency.  I was told things weren't looking good for my Dad.  I arrived post 3 hour drive five minutes before Dad returned from a procedure with grim news.  I knew from the look on his face that things were about to change.  Dad's heart was in bad shape- he needed a balloon pump placed in his heart and was transferred to ICU where he waited 3 days to have open heart surgery.  On Wednesday February 19, 2014, Dad underwent a roughly six hour surgery.  Seeing your parent in the ICU with a ventilator hooked up to tubes can be a traumatic experience.  I also work as a Registered Nurse and have seen my fair share of people in critical care.  I've never really known someone personally that has gone through the experience so I never really knew what their level of awareness was while I took care of them.  Dad was alert relatively quickly and was using his finger to spell out his requests on the bed.  He has since been released from the hospital and is recovering.

Taking care of the studio and teaching classes while working a full time job as a nurse had to be put off for an entire week.  It was nice to come back to teaching and get back into the daily routine.  I will still be traveling back and forth to help out back home with my family, but during the week I must continue to work and operate my health clinic and maintain the studio.  I think I felt a renewed appreciation this week for dance as I let loose and enjoyed dancing with my students.  It has been a huge stress relief and something I don't think I could give up easily.  As life begins to change- as it always does, we find ways to adapt.  I've had to really think about some major life changes lately and what direction I feel things need to go.  I have been grateful for having the luxury of being able to maintain a relationship with my pole through all of this.  And eternally grateful for a supportive husband. 

Back to the main reason why I'm writing this blog post.  Throughout the past eight months of owning and operating Pole Harmony, I can now say I've had my fair share of ups and downs.  Through all these circumstances, I've danced.  I've had to dig deep at times to find my usual chipper self to present to students who may not know what is going on in my life but I've managed to come through each class feeling rejuvenated and most times, on top of the world.  A student told me the other day in class that she doesn't mind when it's just the two of us in class.  She said, "This is my escape." I have to agree as I am finding peace through Pole Harmony.  The studio is my sanctuary.  Where I feel safe and can dance it out.  Whatever I need to figure out in my life or if I need a pick me up- I dance it out.  As I write this, I stumbled across a recent online forum topic regarding pole dancing and healing.  I can honestly say that pole dancing has been a useful tool for me through healing physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I'm at the point in my life with my dancing where my body craves it.  I crave dancing for myself and I crave dancing and teaching others.  This moment and every moment like it, is what it means to truly dance with the pole. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

PDBA February Blog Hop: Pole Dancing and Men

It shouldn't come as any surprise that the number of men that participate in pole dancing for fitness is on the rise.  I get numerous calls from men wanting to take classes at my studio.  Currently, my studio only offers classes for women.  There are many reasons why I've chosen to keep my business as a women's only business.  One reason being, I don't know how to teach men how to dance.  Just as I wouldn't know how to teach children how to pole dance, I have adapted my teaching and studies to women and how our bodies move.  After all, I am an expert in women's bodies- I am one. 

Not knowing how to teach men can be met with varying arguments.  I understand some men don't mind learning the same movement that I teach women.  This brings me into the next reason for my decision- not every female student is going to be comfortable taking pole classes with men or admitting that they aren't comfortable with coed classes.  Some women don't mind and some do.  I get enough women coming to class feeling apprehensive and not even wanting to watch themselves dance.  I can only imagine how those same women coming to a coed class for pole dancing would feel.  Most would feel as though they are being judged (although in my experience I know the men taking pole classes are not judging them in any way), the reality is, you can't simply tell someone they're not being judged when they've already convinced themselves in their mind. 

The final reason, my studio is in what most would consider the conservative Midwest.  Men taking and teaching pole dancing classes is not the same here as it is in Los Angelos and New York City.  I think the trend is much more accepting for cities on the east and west coasts.  There's higher populations and a much more fast paced lifestyle.  Theatrics and dance studies are more prevalent in those areas thus breeding men and women that are much more diverse in the movement arts. 

Although it's probably not going to be a popular stance that I have taken, many people will disagree why I don't open my business up to men.  In the bigger picture, I am just looking out for what is best for my business.  I operate in a shared space with limited days and hours.  The class days and times that I do have must be used wisely in order for my business to succeed.  There hasn't been a huge demand for men taking classes in my area so for me to create a class specifically for men on an already tight schedule, it would hurt my business more than help it.  There just isn't a demand for men's pole dancing classes here. 

I think this is changing.  I do get quite a few calls every once in awhile.  I know other studios in the area have tried to conduct classes for men, however I have yet to see this become successful locally.  I know there is a huge population of great men out there in the pole community and by no means do I want to think about where they would be if the studios that opened their doors to them had shut them out.  I know one man in particular who travels great distances throughout the Midwest to participate in events and attend classes.  Social media has been a great outlet for these men seeking to learn pole as a fitness alternative.  Just as YouTube was for women six years ago, social media has become a great way for men to network and create a community for themselves. 

I do look forward to the future of pole to continue to evolve and hope that one day there will be a successful men's class here in Indianapolis.  Pole dancing is an amazing hobby to embrace as it is always changing. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog piece. Please contact us for more information or inquiries about participating in a local men's pole dancing fitness class.

Blog Hop is a monthly blog topic involving pole dancing blog contributors from around the world actively involved in the online Pole Dancing Bloggers Association. Each month we write our perspective about a given topic pertaining to the pole dancing community. To read fellow Pole Dancing Bloggers Association February Blog Hop entries: Click Here.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Instructor Perspective: The Aerial Diaries. Instructor Turned Student.

Day 1 Tuesday 8:10 PM Session
My new beginner series has begun!  There was a slight hiccup in getting this class started due to weather.  The first class was a one on one experience and the remaining students are making up their missed class.  I perceive this as a good thing.  It's letting me see the necessary revisions as this first group has officially become my trial group.  I feel as though I too am a student.  My students are teaching me just as much as I'm teaching them.  I look forward to the makeup session this Sunday and will write more based on my assessment of the class.

Day 1 Sunday 1:00PM Makeup Session
A few students missed their first class due to a weather cancellation.  I offer occasional makeup sessions during open studio.  The open studio session ended up consisting of three classes being made up at the same time.  It was a little chaotic but I was able to address everyone and go over all the essential points of the curriculum.  The aerial silks students required more attention and one on one since it was completely new material for them.  I started with having them work on their climbs and some shoulder and postural conditioning exercises.  After they worked on those exercises, we moved on for some review of foot locks then we began integrating moves that utilized the foot lock.  The class finished with some basic extra conditioning moves appropriate for beginners and concluded with a group cool down.  I did take note that the students were physically exhausted by the end of the session, therefore they received a good workout.  What I learned- and this is something I've observed in both pole and aerial- is the need to focus strongly on shoulder engagement.  When I cue students to engage these muscles appropriately, I have noted that both my pole and aerial students are then successful in performing the desired movement.  Consistent reminders are a necessity.

This concludes my evaluation of week 1.  I'm excited to see this program take off and work more with students as I teach them and learn from them at the same time.  Thank you for reading my journey.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Let's Talk About Knees

A delicate area of the body that is used for practically every form of movement in the dance arts.  Yes, I'm referring to the knees.  In pole dancing, we do a variety of moves that involve applying pressure to the knee area.  In my classes, I teach my students how to avoid creating uncomfortable bruising and sore knees during floor work and pole moves, however even the best of instructors can agree that no matter how many times you preach the proper technique, you will still find many students don't have the necessary strength to properly distribute their weight every time they attempt to implement said proper technique.

There are tricks we teach to increase strength in areas that assist dropping pressure into your knees.  The whole point of coming to specialized dance classes is to learn these techniques.  I don't expect my students to walk in the door fully capable of initiating these techniques right away.  They take practice which over time builds the necessary strength that will allow them to effortlessly experience movement while protecting their precious knees.  Protecting your knees is extremely important for the longevity of your dancing career.  This is why at Pole Harmony, we have made it our mission to provide safety measures for our students when it comes to going the extra length of promoting body awareness and safety. 

Through our dedication for promoting body awareness and safety for the knees we have done research on exercises that focus on conditioning stronger muscles surrounding the knees and invested in equipment that will fully protect our student's knees during floor work or movement that may be stressful to the areas of and surrounding the knees.  We hope by implementing protective devices into our practice will create an environment that continues to be accepting of personal safety.

Interested in investing in your own pole dancing specific knee protectors?  Mighty Grip, a pole dancing fitness equipment distributor, currently sells knee protection pads with tack and open back to allow dancers to enjoy an effortless and painless floor work to pole transition.  The knee protectors come in a variety of sizes based on height and weight.  At Pole Harmony, we currently utilize Mighty Grip Knee Protectors in our classes for students that want the extra protection for their knees as they develop the necessary strength and technique for protecting their knees in dance.  We have found these knee protectors to be of high quality in their durability and added the desired level of comfort for protection in all of our floor work moves in our Pole & Flow, Sensuous Flow & Flexibility, and Pole Foundations series classes. For more information on purchasing these knee protectors, please visit Mighty Grip's online distribution catalog