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.