Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Transform Your Life 30-Day Yoga Challenge

Have you always wanted to try Yoga? Or are you needing a fitness regimen that keeps you motivated through these Wintry months?

www.DoYogaWithMe.com is offering a free 30-day Yoga Challenge program that starts on January 1st! This challenge will include two options for participants- a beginner or intermediate class option.  My husband and I will be doing the challenge together so we will be participating in the beginner class challenge.  I'm really excited to kick off 2017 with a fun fitness challenge that I can do with my husband.  Participants can also enter to win a $200 Amazon gift card for sharing their progress via Instagram.  Follow my progress @poleharmony.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pole Instructor Kirstie Tancock's Everlasting Legacy

Kirstie Tancock's Facebook page bio states she is a "Fitness pole dancing aerial hoop & silks instructor, PT, survivor of 2x double lung transplants." She is the owner and lead instructor at Xtreme Fitness in the United Kingdom. Kirstie was given the gift of life by being the recipient of two double lung transplants that she had resulting in her natural lungs being afflicted by Cystic Fibrosis. On December 1, 2016, Kirstie passed away from complications resulting from her transplants. I didn't know her when she was alive, I have only learned about her in her passing. Her story struck a chord with me as my history in the medical profession originated as an Organ Transplant Nurse. I spent many years taking care of pre and post operative lung transplant patients. I have seen the ups and downs of being a transplant patient. For Cystic Fibrosis patients, a lung transplant is always a strong consideration throughout their lives. They are told their entire lives that they will not live as long as their peers. Each and every year they are reminded that their time is limited. 

I first leaned about Kirstie when United Pole Artists posted a video clip of her in the hospital being visited by her pole idol Marion Crampe. It was a beautiful and heart warming video of seeing their embrace. I have stood on the sidelines a lot in patient's rooms and have seen scenes play out much like this one time and time again. It is a tough reminder that life isn't fair and that so many young and full of life people are taken from us far too soon.

Kirstie wanted to leave a legacy in her passing. She fought to change laws in her country regarding organ donation. As I write this, there is currently a campaign calling for Kirstie's Law which will put in place an opt-out system for organ donation in England. In Kirstie's honor, her husband and family have devoted their efforts to seeing this law becomes part of Kirstie's everlasting legacy for the lives of those awaiting transplants throughout England. 

To follow Kirstie's family in their work to preserve her legacy, check out her Facebook page which is now run by her husband.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Low Energy December?

It's December and I've been feeling low energy lately.  This time of the year can be exhausting with the holiday stress or the changing of the season to bitter cold mornings that make it difficult to get out of your warm and cozy bed.  Whatever is going on in your life, it's important to keep your own well being on that check list as you get through this season. 

This time of year is not only a time of year where many cultures celebrate the release of the going year and welcome the prospects of the new year, it is also a time of reflection.  This past year hasn't been very productive for me in regards to my fitness goals compared to years passed.  I've had some personal medical issues I've been dealing with that have taken most of my financial resources, time, and energy.  I'm feeling the effects of a frustrating and exhausting year all coming at me as I'm preparing to wrap up 2016.  Needless to say, the past two years have beaten me down and that once positive and optimistic former self is dwindling to a shadow of my former self. Being a frequent patient in the medical world will do that to you. The moments of uncertainty are both physically and mentally exhausting. 

I've decided to make my December reflection a time to focus on renewing my energy.  Regaining my strength both physically and mentally as I continue on this journey I have been unwillingly thrust upon. Some things I'm going to take in account and try to implement as Winter approaches include the following:

1. Getting plenty of rest.  The holiday season leaves many prone to sleep loss from stress or activities that keep one from sticking to their regular sleep schedule.  This time of year is also flu season.  If you're feeling run down, always listen to your body and give yourself needed rest.

2. Drink plenty of water.  If you're feeling drained in the morning, make sure to drink some water.  Holiday foods are full of salt and sugars which can lead to a state of dehydration.  Re-hydrate and feel re-energized.

3. Eat more fruits and veggies.  This time of the year has American diets on carb overload.  Be sure to maintain a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables for all the essential vitamins and minerals all those holiday treats are lacking.

4. Stick to your fitness routine.  As hard as it may be when your energy is low, it's important to stick to a form of a workout routine.  Incorporate low impact exercises into your routine.  Yoga is an excellent workout as it works well for all levels of fitness. 

5.  Aromatherapy.  I talked about oil diffuser blends in a blog piece I wrote over the summer that I found were great at giving me the energy boost for my pole workouts.  My favorite essential oil diffuser blend was oranges or a mix of orange and peppermint.  If you're searching for energy boosting diffuser blends, you'll often see pinterest recipes recommending citrus and mint oils.  Either being appropriate for the holiday season.

6. Dealing with stress.  Stress can be exhausting.  Dealing with it in ways that help you alleviate the effects can make you feel refreshed and maintain a sense of peace as you embark on your holiday adventures.  Meditation is great for calming your mind and bringing your body, mind, and spirit back into a healthy balance.  One form of meditation I have recently begun to enjoy consists of using a Tibetan Singing Bowl.  I've been playing my bowl before and after Yoga practices.  I've found the bowl allows me to focus my mind to the present and bring me to an awareness that I need to be in for my practice.  If you're not able to attend Yoga classes, you can always do at home classes.  I really enjoy participating in www.DoYogaWithMe.com 's classes from the comfort of my own home.  If you're strapped for time, this is an ideal solution for you to do yoga anywhere at anytime. 

These were just a few things I have decided to implement.  I will keep you all posted as how they have helped as I go about my mission for natural energy boosting.  Let me know if there's anything you have found to help you get through these colder days of Fall and Winter's holiday stress.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

December Aerial, Pole, and Yoga Challenges 2016

It's December! I'm ready to wrap up this year with another month of amazing pole and aerial challenges! My friend Heather has created a #MerryAerialistChallenge via @suspendedanimationaerials using the Lyra aka Aerial Hoop apparatus.  Check out the list below for all the fitness fun going on this December.

Lyra/Aerial Hoop

Announcing the December 2016 Lyra Challenge! #MerryAerialistChallenge . Why should the yogis and polers have all of the fun? It’s time for a daily pose challenge for aerialists on lyra! All poses are basic ones, but new aerial poses should be attempted ONLY with proper instruction and safety equipment. No instruction will be given here. A pose name and photo will be shared. If you are not sure how to execute a pose, please check with your local aerial instructor for guidance. . Our sponsors @AerialEssentials and @aktiveda were excited to get involved! Make sure to follow them in addition to the hosts @SuspendedAnimationAerials, @lisasangi, and @circusinspiration. . Two winners will be chosen randomly to receive a prize from @aktiveda or @AerialEssentials. @aktiveda is giving a pair of custom leggings! Note, images of unsafe practices will be disqualified. . . How to participate: . 1. Follow @SuspendedAnimationAerials, @AerialEssentials, @aktiveda, @circusinspiration, and @lisasangi. 2. Repost this image by taking a screen shot or use a repost app. 3. Share your training of the daily poses. Combos and alternate shapes are welcome! 4. Unsafe training (rigging from trees, lack of mats, etc) will disqualify entries from winning. BE SAFE! 5. Include the hash tag #MerryAerialistChallenge in your posts and mention hosts and sponsors (**accounts must be public to win**) 6. Be supportive and leave “likes” and comments on the posts of other challenge participants! 7. HAVE FUN!
A photo posted by Suspended Animation (@suspendedanimationaerials) on

Pole Fitness

Don't forget: REPOST THIS TO QUALIFY 🍭Monday, Dec 5th. I’ll be starting my #sv12daysofxmas Pole dance challenge! I had a blast doing the Oct challenge with you all and wanted to do another. This challenge is suitable for all levels so everyone has a chance to WIN. I'll provide alternatives for more challenging moves ⛄One random participant will win a pair of amazing leggings from our lovely sponsor @Kupmykakez and a 1 hour private online session with me, Veena! That’s over 100 dollar value! ⛄ The day before I'll post a video demonstrating each day! I’ll be adding onto the day before, (like the song for 12 days of christmas πŸŽ„) by the end of the 12th day we’ll put all combos together to creating a little routine! If you woukd like to see the full routine head to studioveena.com I've posted it there! As always just do your best, not looking for perfection, just participation. Here’s how to qualify: 1 ❄Follow @studioveena and @kupmykakez 2 ❄ Re-post and share THIS photo 3 ❄Tag friends who might want to play 3 ❄Tag your daily #sv12daysofxmas posts to @studioveena and @Kupmykakez so we can enjoy your hard work! 4 ❄Post daily 5 ❄IG profile must be public Have fun with it and feel free to wear holiday wear! ⛄πŸŽ„❄#studioveena #veena #poledance #pole #polefitness #poledancing #poletricks #polecombo #polersofinstagram #unitedbypole #yoga #pole #exoticpole #poledancer #polechallenge #holiday #polersofig #kmks #kupmykakez
A photo posted by www.studioveena.com (@studioveena) on
Let's keep winter sexy and fun! VAMPS is hosting an Instagram #polechallenge with some great prizes! It's easy to participate and the perfect way to keep warm as the weather gets a little colder ❄️ Participant rules: 1. Follow VAMPSDance on Instagram 2. Repost the challenge on your Instagram page 3. Post a video or pic of the daily move for each day 4. Tag @VAMPSDance in all posts 5. Hashtag #VAMPSDance and #VAMPSDanceHolidayChallenge on all posts. We will post a video or pic of each move the night before! Posts can be a variation, or attempt at a move, it doesn't have to be perfect. We just want to see you try and have fun! Comment below if you have questions! #Poledancers #atxpolers #austin #winstuff #fitness #newyearsresolutions #holidaychallenge #holidays #whatiwantforxmas #polefitness #polechallenge #december #dancelife #polelife #eastaustin #VAMPSDanceHolidayChallenge #poleclasses #instapolers #polersofinstagram #austinpolers #austinpoledancers #danceclasses
A photo posted by VAMPSdance (@vampsdance) on


#Repost @earthyogia with @repostapp ・・・ πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ„πŸ’š❤️ It's finally around the corner... Christmas that is!!! I am so excited, this is one of my favorite holidays!! So @elysianyogi and myself, @earthyogia , are even more excited to bring you the #VeryMerryYogis 12 Days of Yoga Christmas Countdown #yogachallenge Dec. 13th-24th ❤️πŸŽ„πŸ’šπŸŽ…πŸ» We are already in the gift giving spirit and want to give you a chance to win a new prize everyday of the challenge, and at the end we have a few more gifts to give awayπŸ˜‰πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ„❤️πŸ’š To be eligible for daily prizes you have to post your post that day by midnight!! Winners will be announced in the morning that follows❤️πŸ’šπŸŽ„πŸŽ…πŸ» πŸ’š❤️πŸ™Special thanks to all our incredibly generous sponsors for making this challenge happen for us!!πŸ™❤️πŸ’š @thirdeyetapestries @youphoria_aromatics @handpaintedyoga @mymatmymantra @yogiearthwear @healingmalas @aloetteofc3 @rxcannacare @helixrising @kurmayoga @bohemianleggingsboutique @namaste_collective @sports_and_the_city @youphoriayoga @polarbottle @namascray @llamaste_inc @yogapaws @glitterzen @plexus.co ❤️πŸ’šπŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ„ Pose List: Day 1 - Partridge Pose aka Kapinjalasana Day 2 - Bird of Paradise Pose Day 3 - Crow/Crane Pose Day 4 - Flamingo Pose Day 5 - Wheel Pose Day 6 - Extended Puppy Pose Day 7 - Pigeon Pose Day 8 - Cowface Pose Day 9 - Dancer Pose Day 10 - Warrior 3 Pose Day 11 - Heron Pose Day 12 - Extended Child's Pose πŸ’š❤️πŸŽ…πŸ»πŸŽ„ To be Eligible for Prizes: 1) FOLLOW ALL Sponsors. We will checkπŸ™πŸ’–πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ 2) FOLLOW and TAG BOTH Hosts in your posts @earthyogia @elysianyogi 3) Be sure that your profile is public so we can see your pictures. 4)Use the Hashtag #VeryMerryYogis in your daily posts and please repost this flyer and tag a friend or 3πŸ˜„ 5) Have Fun and Be MerryπŸ’š❤️ @igyogachallenges @yogachallengeworld @yoga_challenges #igyogachallenge #christmasyoga #christmasyogachallenge #yoga #igyoga #igyogacommunity #igyogafamily #yogachallenge #yogichristmas #igyogachallenges #yogalove #yogajourney #instayoga #yogafun #winteryoga #sponsorlove #yogagiveaway #giveaway #merryyogis #giveaways #12daysoffun #yogapants #yogagirl #beconnected #beamazingeveryday
A photo posted by Michelle Benge (@myjourneywithinyogi) on

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pole Dancing in the News: A Holiday Parade and Backlash for Pole Dancing

A small town of Jacksonville, North Carolina has been in a tizzy over a recent holiday parade where a pole studio entered a float featuring pole fitness.  From the news article online  featured on JDnews.com, The Daily News of Jacksonville, NC, reported reactions from residents appear to convey the majority of the negative responses are coming from people uneducated about the mainstream fitness aspect of pole dancing. 

Kudos to Studio 360 Pole and Group Fitness Center for their willingness to showcase adversity in fitness.  It's an important conversation to have when you have a community comprised of an ignorant population.  The only way to dispel negative stereotypes is by education.  Most larger cities in the U.S. have seen the mainstream acceptance of pole fitness as another form of exercise.  It's the smaller areas that still struggle with societal changes especially when certain activities were once deemed sinful to the church.  It's shocking that we're now in 2016 and people still think this way.  But it does happen.  As advocates for pole fitness, we must remain courteous and continue to provide education to the general public to alleviate any fears they have. Fear is a major factor when it comes to misinformation.  It's a classic case of what you don't know, CAN hurt you- not physically but has cognitive limitations in this case.  We are free thinking creatures and can formulate our own opinions.  I'd rather have the correct information before formulating an opinion personally, and I hope others would give ideas and concepts a fair chance once they become better educated on the idea. 

However, I know all too well this isn't always the case.  So I'd like to encourage others to raise awareness and not be ashamed of what fitness activities they have chosen best for their bodies and healthy lifestyle.  The bigger picture here is the fact these men, women, and children participating in pole fitness classes are MOVING.  The U.S. adult obesity rate currently exceeds 35 percent in  four states, 30 percent in 25 states, and 20 percent in the remaining states (http://stateofobesity.org/adult-obesity/).  That's JUST the adult obesity rate.  We have an uprising epidemic of childhood obesity that we have barely scathed on a health centered perspective.  Children mimic the actions of adults.  The more unhealthy of a lifestyle of their adult role model, the more likely the child will also lead an unhealthy lifestyle.  So if pole fitness isn't the ideal form of fitness activity for you, please respect that it may be the chosen activity of someone else. So step aside with your judgments and incorporate into your life the classic childhood phrase, "Mind your own business."

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pole & Aerial 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

It's that time of the year again!  I've compiled a list of items that are perfect for the pole and aerial fitness enthusiast in your life. 

Pole Attire:
1. Always a must, never enough! Check out the new Bad Kitty Nudes collection for the avid performer or a sense of tranquility for your workouts. Pieces range from $24-$34.

2. You can never go wrong with getting your favorite poler a pair of shoes! Bad Kitty has an assortment of shoes available on their website ranging from $37-$100+.  Not a fan of ordering shoes online? You can always pick up a pair or a giftcard to your local adult novelty store that stocks Pleasure USA and Elle brand footwear. 

3. Giftcards to your poler's favorite local studio so she can get some dance time in post holiday! 

Online Membership:
4. If your poler prefers to workout at home, there are many options now available for him/her to continue their studio quality workouts in the comfort of their own home.  Cleo's Rock N' Pole site is a great site full of amazing and unique workouts.  Memberships range from $24.95 USD monthly to $199.95 annually.

Pole Fitness or Aerial Silks/Aerial Hoop Student Gift Baskets
5. Make your own pole or aerial specific gift basket full of pole and aerial specific goodies.  Items you can put in the gift basket include: Epsom Bath Salts, Grip Aids, Leg Warmers, Leggings, Facial Masks, Hair Ties, Arnica Gel for bruise relief, Chapstick, Protein Snack Bars, and/or a new Water Bottle.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Thankful November

Despite the recent political uproar within the U.S., there still are a lot of things to be thankful for this year and November.  In my personal life, I've had a very trying and medically challenging past few years.  Even though I've had set backs, I remain optimistic.  I've decided to return to what I've always loved doing as an outlet to get me through some of my darkest days. 

This month I've been taking park in the #thankfulaerialistchallenge on instagram hosted by @suspendedanimationaerials. It's been fun to get back in the air and revisit some of my favorite poses.  I've been off the silks for over a year and it surprised me how easy it was to get right back to it like I hadn't taken such a long break.  You can follow my journey through this month's challenge via my instagram @poleharmony.

Here's a couple of my favorite poses that I've submitted for the challenge:

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

November Pole AND Aerial Challenges 2016!

It's a new month and I'm ready for a fresh start on my fitness routines.  This month, a good friend of mine and former pole/aerial student turned instructor has created an online aerial silks challenge full of fun and easy poses that aerial students can work on and submit with the help of their aerial instructors or training buddies.  Please be sure to read through the rules on this one as it has a strong emphasis on training safe and all participants must be using appropriate safety measures when submitting entries.  I hope you all enjoy the fun challenges for this month.  Check out the list of what's happening in November below.

Announcing the November 2016 Aerial Silks Challenge! #ThankfulAerialistChallenge . Why should the yogis and polers have all of the fun? It’s time for a daily pose challenge for aerialists on silks! All poses are basic ones, but new aerial poses should be attempted ONLY with proper instruction and safety equipment. No instruction will be given here. A pose name and photo will be shared. If you are not sure how to execute a pose, please check with your local aerial instructor for guidance. . Our sponsor @AerialEssentials was excited to get involved! Make sure to follow them in addition to the host @SuspendedAnimationAerials . The winner will get a piece of aerial jewelry from @AerialEssentials. Check out their web site to see the 6 cool designs available! The runner up will get a 20% discount code for the @AerialEssentials site. Note, images of unsafe practices will be disqualified. . There is no Day 1 since we are kicking off on November 2! . How to participate: . 1. Follow @SuspendedAnimationAerials and @AerialEssentials. 2. Repost this image by taking a screen shot or use a repost app. 3. Share your training of the daily poses. Combos and alternate shapes are welcome! 4. Unsafe training (rigging from trees, lack of mats, etc) will disqualify entries from winning. BE SAFE! 5. Include the hash tag #ThankfulAerialistChallenge in your posts (**accounts must be public to win**) 6. Be supportive and leave “likes” and comments on the posts of other challenge participants! 7. HAVE FUN!
A photo posted by Suspended Animation (@suspendedanimationaerials) on

NEW POLE CHALLENGE for No Excuses November! It's time to step up your pole game with our hosts @sweetmscandace @titojane @gorilsynnove and @kapihuria. AND the Pole Dance Nation storefront launches at MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. So you can pole dance in PDN clothing during the challenge. PLUS ... I'm choosing 4 winners who will receive FREE PDN CLOTHING. #Repost this flyer, follow our hosts and shop at the PDN store. Remember to HASHTAG #PDNNoExcuses in your video submissions. Now let's have some FUN πŸŽ‰#PoleDanceNation _ Want to WIN POLE DANCE NATION clothing? Learn more at PoleDanceNation.com πŸ‘‰πŸΎ Or SHOP NOW! Use discount Code #PDNNoExcuses to take 20% off your purchase. Store launches at midnight tonight. _ FIRST UP ➡️ Day #1 TITO TWIST. HASHTAG #PDNNoExcuses to submit. _ ✨Posted By PDN creator @NikkiStJohn. Hosted by @sweetmscandace @titojane @gorilsynnove and @kapihuria. Created by @yungpolemaster. _ #PoleDance #PoleDancer #PoleDancing #VOTD #PDTitoTwist #TitoTwist #Challenge #PoleChallenge #GymFlow #Fit #Fitness #Workout #Exercise #PoleDanceFitness #PoleFit #PoleFitness

A photo posted by Pole Dance Nation ™ (@poledancenation) on

#Flowvember has started! **Win £100 of @dragonflybrand vouchers** How to get involved: 1. Follow The PoleSafe Federation page on FB and Insta (@PolesafeFederation & facebook.com/PoleSafe Federation) 2.Follow Dragonfly Brand on FB and insta (@dragonflybrand & facebook.com/dragonflybrand) 3.Follow me on FB and insta (@poleathlete & facebook.com/lornawalkerpole) 4.Upload the flows each week onto insta using the hashtag #flowvember and tagging @polesafefederation 5.Have fun flowing. At the end of November, 1 person will be picked at random to receive the amazing prize from our generous sponsors Dragonfly Brand **Break downs and handy hints/tips will also be posted to help guide you through the flows** #polesafe #dragonflybrand #pdflow #poleflow #flowvemberweek1

A video posted by Lorna Walker (@poleathlete) on

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Lifestyle Blog: My Acupuncture Experience

Have you ever tried acupuncture? It's always been something I've wanted to try.  I recently got the opportunity to do just that.  Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine derived from traditional Chinese medicine.  There are many different techniques of acupuncture.  The most common form practiced in the United States involves the strategic placement of thin needles into the skin along particular points in the body.  Acupuncture has been used for many reasons.  Most common reasons for acupuncture treatments include the relief of pain, stress, or to increase blood flow to certain areas of the body. 

In the pole and aerial world, injuries can be fairly common and can easily fall into the category of chronic conditions.  For those undergoing treatment for a chronic injury, implementing acupuncture into the recovery regimen for pain may prove to be very beneficial for the overall healing process.  I first heard about acupuncture through a support group for an issue I've been being treated for the past eighteen months.  I won't go into detail publicly as those who I have chosen to share my ordeal with have already been informed.  I do want to shed light on acupuncture and share my experience with this form of alternative medicine with my readers as I didn't know much about the process prior to my first treatment.  I will be receiving consecutive treatments the next few months as part of my overall treatment plan so I will be sharing any updates or conclusions in a future blog post where I can go more in depth.

For my first treatment, I had a basic consultation discussing any issues and reasons for treatment with my therapist.  After the consultation, we moved into a room set up like a massage room.  I also get regular monthly massages so I am quite familiar with the arrangement of the massage table.  My treatment started face down and the therapist placed the needles in my head and down my back.  The "antennas" in my head, as I found myself referring to them as, were quite a strange experience. Once the needles were all placed, I was to rest for 15-20 minutes while the needles basically "did their thing."  While lying on the table, I experienced different sensations.  Most prominent was the feeling of a general achy/tightness where each needle was inserted.  The needles are very small and there wasn't any pain during the process.  It was just an overall awareness that the needles were in place. After my first rest cycle, the therapist returned to the room and removed the first set of needles.  I then flipped over and the second cycle of the treatment was conducted down the front of my body.  This side of my body must be much more active in sensory receptors because I felt more tingling in specific muscles than I had on the back side of my body.  Again, no sensations that were perceived as painful were experienced.  The whole process was actually quite relaxing. 

After my treatment was done, I felt very similar to how I feel post full body massage.  My therapist said it is called the "acupuncture high."  I usually refer to my post massage period as being "massage drunk."  The remainder of the evening I was to take it easy.  I didn't notice any bruising or bleeding at any of the needle sites, which was a pre-treatment warning of side effects I'd read on paperwork prior to the treatment.  In conclusion, I found my experience to be very relaxing.  I felt like the treatment helped for the reason I initially went for.  I will be having more treatments these next couple months so I am curious to see if the whole process provides an improved response to my current treatments.  Only time will tell. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Throw Back Tuesday: The Awareness of a Social Stigma in Pole Dancing & Health

Blog Originally Published October 5, 2011 on www.PoleHarmony.com. Updates and corrections have been made to the original blog to reflect current research program progress as of October 2016.

October is breast cancer awareness month. In honor of those affected by breast cancer who I've known personally or been acquainted with, I've decided to participate in educating myself and others through this blog entry about this important issue affecting so many lives every day. By clicking the image to the left in this blog entry, you will be directed to the National Breast Cancer website. While reading through some of the information on nationalbreastcancer.org, I came across an interesting article regarding male breast cancer. Breast cancer is often thought of as a women's disease much like pole dancing is thought of as a women's sport. I got to thinking and came to the realization that men have a commonality with the general public's misconception when it comes to breast cancer and pole dancing. Men pole dance and men can get breast cancer. Two completely different topics relating to the same issue.

Click to enlarge image. Courtesy of NationalBreastCancer.org

As a woman, I am informed by my health care provider to routinely perform a monthly breast self exam.  This technique can be performed in the same manner for men. The best way to detect breast cancer is by self examination or mammogram. It's important to seek immediate care from your health care provider if you find any abnormality while performing your breast self exam. The most effective treatments are those that can be administered to cancer in it's earliest stages. Early detection is key to survival.

The pole community has become quite active in the breast cancer awareness campaign. Pink Pole Power is a United States based organization founded by a man named Sean O'Connor. Pink Pole Power has participants from around the world that have submitted a favorite pole photo that is digitally enhanced by Pink Pole Power's trademark pink pole and organization signature along with a monetary donation. Half of the proceeds go to charities that help pole dancers going through breast cancer. Pink Pole Power's mission is to promote pole dancing for fitness and breast cancer awareness. Visit www.pinkpolepower.com for more information and to participate in this great cause and obtain your very own Pink Pole Power support pole photo. I've taken part in contributing in hopes that some day my family, friends, and the many people currently battling this horrific disease will eventually be presented with a treatment offering a cure.

Update October 2016: The website www.PinkPolePower.com appears to no longer exist and upon research for this updated blog piece, I was unable to find any information regarding this organization's current activities.

On Monday October 3, 2011, Indianapolis dyed their infamous downtown canal pink. The fountains pink water sprayed up into the air in celebration of the city's Pink Monday. Pink Monday was initiated by the NFL team, the Indianapolis Colts, as a fundraiser to aid in continuing research and treatment. The committee in charge of organizing the upcoming 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis has partnered with the Komen Tissue Bank creating the campaign Super Cure, which organized a drive where women donated healthy breast tissue for cancer research. A major donation will again take place a week before the upcoming Super Bowl. Super Cure has successfully raised awareness of breast cancer research and brought the Komen Tissue Bank and their purpose into headlines for the fight against breast cancer.

Update October 2016: Indy's Super Cure Tissue Bank is based at the IU Simon Cancer Center. (http://komentissuebank.iu.edu/support-ktb/indys-super-cure/)

It appears four years later, the Super Cure project is still making an impact.  Local news station journalist Anne Marie Tiernon of WTHR reported a story in March of 2016 about a local mother that donated her healthy breast tissue and how her tissue was chosen for many important research studies. Read the full article here.

Pink has become the trademark color of breast cancer awareness. It's important we don't forget that just because pink signifies femininity it isn't just a disease reserved for women. Men are just as susceptible to this disease as women and are fighting the same battles within their treatment course. In October of 2010, Pennsylvania established the third week of October as Male Breast Cancer Awareness week. The ribbon symbolizing male breast cancer is a pink ribbon with a blue shadow. The blue shadow signifies the men living in the shadows of the pink stigma of breast cancer. A campaign raising awareness for men and breast cancer is known as Out of the Shadows of Pink. Men have a higher mortality rate because they are often diagnosed in late stages of the disease due to the lack of awareness in self detection. It's time we open our minds and push social stigma to the way side to realize- men pole dance and men can get breast cancer.

Update October 2016: www.HisBreastCancer.org was founded in 2009 by a BRCA2 positive brother and sister that had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  The website was created to meet the educational needs of men diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Every year, starting October 1st everything pink suddenly finds it's way to the store shelves.  "Buy pink to support breast cancer awareness!" It's everywhere.  I have even participated in purchasing items because they were pink and had the classic breast cancer marketing jargon attached to the item's packaging.  But what are we really donating when we're making these purchases?  I came across a post on social media this morning that got me thinking about all the breast cancer marketing tactics that exist to exploit this incurable disease. 

Last week, I wrote a blog post about workout equipment for a BOSU balance trainer that was pink.  Pink in honor of breast cancer awareness. Again, the marketing worked for me.  I bought into it an I participated in the hook, line, and sinker pitch.  I decided it was my duty to learn more about this product I was pitching to my readers.  Yes, I love using mine.  I think it's a great workout.  But I wanted to know more about how this piece of exercise equipment is promoting the classic pink products in honor of bringing awareness to breast cancer. 

As a Registered Nurse, the first thing that caught my attention during my quest for researching the BOSU balance trainer was an online article all about the product's ability to assist patients in breast cancer recovery through exercise. (Read more via the BOSU Breast Cancer Recovery Exercises article.) BOSU has worked with cancer specialists to develop a program specifically for patient recovery from breast cancer surgeries and treatments.  The BOSU discount for the month of October does not claim to donate a special percentage of sales to any of the multiple research or funding organizations.  This company is purely offering their product at a discounted price and educating those who have been affected by breast cancer or to trainers working with clients who have been treated for breast cancer in the importance of exercising post treatment to aid in their recovery.  So there we have it.  An honest pitch towards breast cancer awareness.  Yes, the company profits but so does the customer.  You're buying into a product and the knowledge and expertise put into the research of how to best utilize the product for this particular situation.  I now feel vindicated in my decision to promote one of my new favorite pieces of exercise equipment to all my readers. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

BOSU Balance Trainer Workout

I've been using my pink BOSU balance trainer lately for my workouts at home.  I must say, I LOVE this thing.  I reviewed the video that came with my BOSU prior to actively doing the video as a workout and thought that some of the exercises looked pretty easy.  Upon actually doing the video I discovered that was not the case at all.  Some of the exercises that look to be easy are not easy at all.  It's crazy to think that simply lifting one leg while standing on the BOSU could prove to be a nearly impossible task all in itself.  I can honestly say I feel as though I got a great workout and look forward to mastering some of the balance techniques this piece of equipment forces my body into. 

While researching some great exercise videos to share on this blog post for my readers, I came across a promotional offer via BOSU for October.  Being October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, BOSU has a special offer available for their pink colored equipment.  I purchased my BOSU last year when they released the pink BOSU balance trainer so I've had mine for awhile.  It's taken me awhile to really incorporate it into my workouts.  When I first got my BOSU, I was only focusing on using it for specific yoga poses.  One in particular was the crane pose.  A little tip for this pose on the BOSU- stretch out your wrists really well.  This pose is very intense on the wrists so if you have a prior wrist injury or issues with your wrists, you may not want to attempt the crane on the BOSU.  Be sure you are strong in your crane on solid ground first.  The balance will shift and if you don't have a strong grounded crane and you may risk face planting into the floor. 

Check out the current promotion below and the video I've posted showcasing some exercises you can do with the BOSO stability ball. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

October 2016 Pole Challenges!

Here's the line up for the October 2016 pole challenges!

It all starts in a couple of hours!!! Who's up to take the first ever POLE DANCE NATION CHALLENGE? We're celebrating October with 31 days of O-M-G. Join us for a screams extravaganza of the pole universe's sexiest, scariest and most sensational moves. HASHTAG #PDNOMG to participate in this challenge hosted by @andrecorey_ @anna_kia_poles @dakota_wolfe and @zeniacontortion. Oh yeah, if you want to WIN EXCLUSIVE Pole Dance Nation gear, #Repost this challenge on your page. We're choosing 2 winners. One will be drawn at random from everyone who reposts. The other will be chosen from the people who participate the most. That's 2 chances to win. But you MUST REPOST THE FLYER πŸ˜‰#PoleDanceNation _ #PoleDance #PoleDancer #PoleDancing #PDNChallenge #PDNChallenge2016 #PDChallenge #PoleDanceChallenge #OMG

A photo posted by Pole Dance Nation ™ (@poledancenation) on

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Magic Bullet Breakfast Smoothies

I've been getting into breakfast smoothies lately as a means to acquire essential nutrients.  September is after all the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters ® Month. So in honor of getting more fruits and veggies in my diet, I decided to take on some delicious easy to make morning recipes.  I like my recipes to be very basic and natural.  I don't add a bunch of powders and supplements to my recipes because that is something I'm not comfortable with.  If that is something you're comfortable with and have done your research, then by all means add to your little heart's desire.  For my recipes, these are going to be quick, easy, cheap, and delicious. 

Recipe 1: Sweet and Green

1 6oz Strawberry Yoplait Yogurt
1/2 cup orange juice
Handful of spinach
1 banana

Mix all ingredients in blender to desired consistency.

Recipe 2: A Splash of Orange Cucumber

1/2 cup vanilla Yoplait Yogurt
1 cup orange juice
3-4 chopped strawberries
1/2 banana
1/2 inch cucumber wedge chopped
Handful of spinach
1/2 carrot or 3 snack sized carrot sticks

Start by blending carrots alone to assure well blended.  Add remaining ingredients and blend to desired consistency. 

Recipe 3: Frozen with Folic Acid

1/2 cup vanilla or plain Yoplait Yogurt
2-3 scoops vanilla frozen yogurt
3-4 chopped strawberries
Handful of spinach
1/2 cup orange juice

Mix all ingredients in blender to desired consistency.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

So you want to be a pole studio owner?

Step 1: Get insurance.

This seems like a no brainer however, in the business world things that appear to be common sense are lacking.  I recently found out a pole studio has been operating the past eleven months without proper insurance.  How does this even happen now a days?  Simple. The fitness industry is currently not a regulated trade.  It's easy for anyone to set up shop without dotting all their I's and crossing all their T's. Why is this happening?  My theory is that insurance is confusing and can be expensive.  A lot of insurance providers do not offer coverage for special trades such as pole fitness and aerial fitness.  When someone decides to open a pole studio, often times these new business owners are not proficient in the basic knowledge necessary to operate a business.  Unfortunately, ignorance is not an excuse.   Pole and aerial are dangerous activities that can cause injury.  The most injury prevention savvy instructor can still have accidents.  While no one wants to even think of the unthinkable in their studio space, you have to go into business with realistic expectations and always expect the unexpected.  Insurance is essential and NO ONE should be operating a pole studio without it. I can't even imagine the horror of operating a pole studio without insurance.  If someone was to get injured in your studio (whether you were the instructor or not) as an owner, you are liable.  Liability includes all medical expenses and any additional expenses the injured party is legally entitled to.  When it comes to legal entitlement, often times the injured party will proceed with a formal process that takes place in court.  As a studio owner this would then mean you are going to court and having to pay legal fees in addition to the fees you will be ordered by the court to pay.  Depending on your business formality, you may be personally held liable and legal proceedings will be dependent on your personal assets. In theory because of your business negligence, you can lose everything you have spent your entire life working hard for.  Is that all REALLY worth it?

So how can a consumer protect themselves?  As a student attending a studio, it is important you're educating yourself on what establishments you're monetarily supporting.  You are after all, paying for a safe environment by attending classes and should be guaranteed any accidents will not leave you both financially and physically devastated.  Ask questions and demand to see a copy of the current insurance policy.  Don't be afraid of sounding too harsh.  You need to be aware of the business practices of establishments you are paying your hard earned money for.  When I owned and operated Pole Harmony, I always kept a copy of my current insurance policy handy.  Even though you sign a waiver that states you acknowledge the dangers of the activity you are participating in, there are many instances where it does not absolve liability on the business owner's end.  If you encounter an injury, be sure to complete an injury report (these forms are provided by insurance companies to the studio owners and copies should be readily available).  Make a copy of the completed form for your records and contact the insurance provider to follow up and assure the report was submitted. 

I realize this is not a topic most people ever consider when taking their first pole class but I cannot stress enough how important it is to factor in this information when researching a new studio and class.  Insurance is available to protect both parties involved and if both the business owner does their part and the customer does theirs, the unexpected can be more about physical recovery versus financial. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Onion Free Peach Salsa Recipe

I have an intolerance to onions, which makes it very difficult to eat store bought items that are pre-made and packaged.  I've adapted well over the years in learning how to make meals and snack items without onions.  My favorite snack type item that is not only onion free but very healthy is what I like to call Peach Salsa.  I like to put a lot of garlic in my salsa as I traditionally enjoy this snack when I have a sore throat and need the extra natural healing benefits. Garlic is part of the Allium family so it is related to onions. Most people that are allergic to onions are also allergic to garlic. I have been lucky as garlic does not affect me in the same way as onions. Note, I did say I have an "intolerance" to onions which basically means my reaction is all gastrointestinal in presentation versus respiratory.  It is possible for the reaction to cross over to respiratory therefore, I avoid ingesting onion and onion products at all times.  So, without further a due, I've included my recipe for Peach Salsa below.

Peach Salsa

1 Garlic clove
2 Roma Tomatoes
Chopped Jalapenos
Sliced Peach Halves
1 Tbs white vinegar
1 tsp lime juice

Mix all ingredients in magic bullet mixer except 1 tomato.  I chop 1 tomato up and put into mixer and chop the second tomato into chunks to add to pureed mixture.  Once mixture is blended to desired texture, add chopped tomato.  Enjoy with tortilla chips.  Makes 3-4 servings. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

September 2016 Pole Challenges!

Eeek! I skipped a week! My apologies- I scheduled what was supposed to be this week's entry for today and completely skipped over last week.  So I bumped the post for today to next week and viola- a special post with all the fun challenges going on in the pole world!  Enjoy!

Brave pole dancers, who will accept the challenge?? 😁 This is the #PDSpellYourName challenge! Each letter of the alphabet has been assigned a randomly selected pole move. You take the letters from your name and perform the corresponding pole moves as a combo. You can get creative, do variations of the movements and transition between them any way you like! If you accept the challenge, please use the hashtag #PDSpellYourName on your post and feel free to tag me. I'd love to see what you came up with! 😍 To get the ball rolling, I danced the combo for my own name, Pony, and posted it on my account: @ponypoison πŸ’œπŸŒˆ Let the challenge begin! πŸ’ͺ🏻 #pole #poledance #poledancer #poledancing #polechallenge #dance #polelife #choreography #polefitness #cartoon #drawing #illustration #originalart #originalartwork
A photo posted by PonyPoisonMemes (@ponypoisonmemes) on

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Back to School, Back to Routine

School is officially back in session! For some of us (particularly my area) school went back in session in July.  For most, traditionally school is back in full swing by the end of August and beginning of September.  The new school year always brings about a sense of a fresh start.  Especially when it comes to getting back into a routine.  As the summer activities comes to an end, it's time to get back to fitness classes- pole classes, aerial classes, yoga classes, or any fitness style class that peaks your interest.  I love the sense of having an organized weekly routine.  It keeps me motivated for working out.  I have to admit, the summer months are a little touch and go when it comes to my fitness class attendance.  It's hard to maintain a structured routine when random outings, friends, vacations, or events come calling due to the beautiful weather.  Working out in the summer doesn't always work for me when it comes to having to stick to a particular class time.  A lot of my workouts consisted of long walks through the city to the various parks, kayaking, riding my bike, yoga at home when convenient, or the occasional pole workout when I felt motivated to get one in. 

I like to think of this time of the year as how the new year's resolutioners think of the month of January: a time to get busy on those fitness goals.  The great thing about school starting season is the gyms aren't jam packed like they are in January so you can get in a workout or attend a class without having to worry about fighting for a parking space at the gym, snatching that only open machine, or not kicking or hitting the classmate next to you because your yoga mats are mere millimeters apart. And let's face it, January resolutions have the stigma for failure.  Make your resolution now in August and you've got a leg up on the competition come January when your routine will be hardwired into your lifestyle leaving you with a better chance of successfully staying on track.   

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Fitbit Tracker App Exercise Options: Pole Dancing and Aerial

Back in February of this year, I contacted Fitbit with a request for developing their exercise options on the app so it would include options for pole dancing and aerial.  After a lot of loyal fellow pole and aerialists favoring my proposal, as of July 11, 2016 the Fitbit app development team has reviewed and submitted my idea for evaluation!  To see my app proposal, click here:

I was tired of having to find alternative options to tracking my pole workouts.  To me, pole is different than running through a traditional circuit style calisthenic routine.  I want to see my progress in my weekly fitness overview for what it is.  I also feel that major fitness merchants that produce items such as fitness trackers need to acknowledge pole dancing and aerial fitness as a legitimate fitness activity.  We shouldn't have to label what we're doing by another term.  It's 2016. We live in a time where being fit is an acceptable lifestyle.  How we got here and how we maintain our lifestyle shouldn't be something to be ashamed of.  Ever. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Lifestyle Blog: A Meditation for a Restful Night of Sleep

Why is it that when we wake up in the morning we're so tired but when its time for bed we're all energized and ready to go?  Every once in awhile, I'll experience an energy rush at bedtime and find myself unable to fall asleep.  Back in May, I wrote about using www.DoYogawithMe.com as a means to supplement my yoga work outs when I couldn't attend a class.

After perusing all the available content on the website, I came across a sleep meditation called Yoga Nidra for Sleep.  The sleep meditation audio can be listened to for free on www.DoYogawithMe.com or you can purchase the audio for your phone/music playing device for $3.00 USD . Yoga Nidra for Sleep is a twenty-two minute meditation that guides you through relaxation to help you fall asleep.  Every time I have used this meditation it has been successful.  I find myself having a restful night of undisturbed sleep.

Some tips for making the most out of your restful experience that I have incorporated include wearing an eye mask (I've conditioned my body for sleep by using my eye mask to close out all light sources), lavender essential oil in a diffuser, and/or an epsom salt bath with relaxing bath salts as a part of your night time relaxation routine.  The epsom salt bath comes in handy when sore achy muscles from a work out are preventing your body from reaching a state of relaxation.  Rest is so important to our overall health.  It can be difficult to wind down at the end of the day, especially if you've experienced a highly stressful day.  I wanted to share this amazing meditation with my readers in hopes that you all may benefit from it as much as I have.  I've included the meditation in this post down below. I hope you enjoy and sweet dreams! ~*

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Essentail Oil Diffuser Blends for Pole Dancing

Going along with the theme of holistic healing from my previous blog, I decided to do a little research to find out more about what types of essential oil diffuser blends would be appropriate for a pole dancing work out session.  When I talk about an essential oil diffuser, I'm mainly talking about the electronic diffusers that use water to disperse essential oils into the air.  There are various ways you can achieve the benefits of aromatherapy with essential oils that do not use an electronic diffuser.  For more information on different forms of essential oil diffusing options, check out the following video:

 Electronic oil diffusers require daily cleaning.  I purchased an electronic diffuser from my local Walmart that is similar to the one shown in this next video where YouTube user AshleysGreenLife gives some tips on using and cleaning this particular device. After my own experience with my electronic diffuser and it developing an awful smell after two days use and cleaning by rinsing with just water between uses, I can certainly vouch for the need to clean after EVERY use.  Ashley offers a great technique that can make daily cleaning quick and easy.


Essential Oils for Pole Dancing

In the world of meditation and chakras, the sacral chakra is the chakra of vitality. Pole dancing is often depicted as a sexualized exploration of energy.  Like an awakened sacral chakra, pole dancing allows you to let go and feel the moment through your movement in your dancing.  The sacral chakra is also the center for creativity.  Pole dancing requires creativity when dancing to a freestyle or feeling the music and allowing your body to evolve in your practice.

Like our senses, our chakras can be awakened through the use of aromatherapy.  The use of essential oils have become an increasingly popular means to achieving the benefits of aromatherapy.   Certain oils have been known to stimulate awareness and energize.  Scents that induce an energized state are perfect for the setting the mood for your pole dancing workout.  The following are a few recipes I found that are perfect for giving you that energy boost needed for a successful pole workout. You may need to adjust the number of drops for each recipe based on the quality and strength of your particular oils.  I like to use the brand Aura Cacia which can be purchased from Amazon.com, Fresh Thyme Markets, and many other local retailers. (Tip: Fresh Thyme will often provide their customers with coupons for $1.00 off Aura Cacia essential oils). 

Blend 1: 3 drops Wild Orange essential oil

Blend 2: 2 drops Wild Orange essential oil + 2 drops Peppermint essential oil

Blend 3: 2 drops Wild Orange essential oil + 2 drops Frankincense essential oil + 2 drops Cinnamon essential oil

Blend 4: 2 drops Peppermint essential oil + 2 drops Frankincense essential oil + 2 drops Lemon essential oil

Do you have a favorite diffuser blend you like to use for your pole work outs?  I'd love to hear your recipes!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Healing Crystals for Pole Dancers

"The Mind is a powerful force. It can enslave us or empower us. It can plunge us into the depths of misery or take us to the heights of ecstasy. Learn to use the power wisely." - David Cuschieri.

When it comes to crystals, they can be a powerful tool that amplifies specific energy from your mind.  The brain is the command center for the body.  It's an amazingly complex organ that is capable of holding all of life's mysteries.  Crystals and gemstones are simply naturally made minerals that possess beautiful characteristics and are identified by their chemical composition.  Crystals and gemstones have been considered sacred gifts from the Earth by ancient and modern cultures.  There is a huge industry in alternative and holistic healing that utilizes the metaphysical properties of crystals and gemstones to magnify and focus specific energies of the mind. 

I have been studying the use of crystals when it comes to relaxation techniques and yoga.  I'm a firm believer in the manifestation of good energy and how it affects your overall mood and success.  I look at the use of crystals and gemstones as in the same manner of the popular law of attraction concept depicted in The Secret, a self help book written by Rhonda Byrne (2006).  In Rhonda Byrne's The Secret, the use of positive thinking is discussed as a means to create attractive life changing results.  I'm sure you could manifest the same results without the use of crystals, however there is an overall feeling of fulfillment by having a tangible item to draw inspiration from when focusing on specific energy.  Not to mention how aesthetically pleasing crystals and gemstones can be to your environment. 

Through all my research, I have come across many lists of crystals and gemstones recommended for different types of wellness uses ranging from weight loss to anxiety relief.  Of all the current lists out there circulating the internet, I have yet to come across a list that depicts the types of crystals and gemstones that would benefit athletes such as pole dancers. After sorting through all my notes and knowledge base thus far, I have developed my own list of crystals and gemstones I feel would be perfect for pole dancing.

How to Use Your Crystals and Cleanse Your Crystals

 Obviously, you can't wear your crystals while pole dancing.  You can place them in a pouch and keep them inside your pole bag while at the studio or place them decoratively within your pole space to enhance your energy during your practice.  You can create gem elixirs using water as I have done in the image below.  Due to water being corrosive to some crystals, I don't like to submerge my crystals in water or for sanitary reasons place them inside water that I will be drinking. For a gem elixir, you can allow the crystals to charge the water for as long as you feel beneficial. 

You can also create a crystal grid and leave it displayed in your pole area.  Read more here on how to grid using crystals. Another technique that could be beneficial to your pole practice is by placing your crystals in a dish on your bedside or in a pouch under your pillow.  Rest can be extremely powerful and as we all know, some of our best pole moves have been accomplished in our dreams.  Again, the mind is such a powerful part of our existence.

To get the full use of your crystals, you'll want to make sure you take care of them by cleansing them.  Cleansing crystals is a way to hit the reset button on them.  You're ridding them of unwanted energy so you can get all the good energy flowing.  I cleanse mine by smudging them in sage incense or over night in the light of the full moon.   I prefer sage incense to using a sage smudge stick.  The smudge sticks smell awful to me so I rarely use them. 

Have you found the use of implementing crystals into your daily routine or environment beneficial?  What other types of tools do you use to change your mindset for your workouts?  I'd love to hear about your techniques.