Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Making the Switch to Natural Deodorant

I've been hearing a lot about switching your deodorant to a natural formula lately.  I decided it was time to look more into products that fall into the classification of natural versus my long time use of commercialized mainstream deodorant I've been using since I was twelve years old.  So what is the real concern about my trusty deodorant that prompted me to seek change?  I've heard a lot of rumors about specific ingredients within deodorant not being very healthy.  These ingredients are aluminum and parabens. Parabens have been linked to cancers while aluminum has been suspected of being linked to cancer.  There haven't been any substantial studies that have proved the theories of these ingredients being directly related to causing cancer from a deodorant (Antiperspirants Safety: Should You Sweat it?). While there isn't a definitive word on whether or not these products cause harmful affects to your health, it hasn't kept people from opting to make changes in their hygienic products.

I decided to try out a new deodorant and see if there was an advantage to me using something that is marketed as being "more natural."  I found Tom's of Maine Wild Lavender deodorant to smell the most pleasing to me.  The deodorant smells really good when first applied and the fragrance dissipates after a couple hours.  The formula is clear and goes on slightly sticky.  The odor control is not the best as I notice some break through odor.  The product does not leave a thick residue after showering which is something I have noticed with my previous aluminum containing deodorant.

To combat the break through odor, it has been suggested to do an armpit detox treatment.  A friend of mine shared an article with me on how to detox your armpits when switching to a natural deodorant.  The detox claims to help pull out the odor blocking chemicals that are found within aluminum containing deodorants.  These chemicals work to block sweat ducts and prevent perspiration. I haven't tried the detox because I feel like I'm not having an overly noticeable issue with the break through odor.  It's mainly at the end of the day when I notice it and by that time I am already getting ready for bed.  So far the deodorant seems to withstand my aerial workouts especially when adding another application prior to the work out. 

I've decided to continue using the natural deodorant and see how it holds up over time with continued use.  Have you made the switch to a more natural deodorant?  Please feel free to comment about your experience or favorite brands below.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Aerial Class Structure Progress Update

I've been back to teaching my Aerial Silk level 1 classes at Cirque Indy for three weeks now since my surgery in the beginning of March.  Since coming back, I have revamped all my class lesson plans. I recently covered a new class structure approach in two previous blogs "Aerial Teaching Technique: The Mid-Class Warm Up?" and "Aerial Class Structure." In these two blogs, I basically discussed my idea and the class plan layout for a teaching strategy that allows me to implement continuous movement and focus specifically on all areas of the body.  In aerial, particular skills are focused on in class each week.  Because aerial is such a complex form of movement, these skills are often very isolated in the muscle groups that each class works on.  I wanted to integrate movement to all areas and to eliminate cool down phases while students are grasping the mental aspects of breaking down movement and working through aerial theory. Using the template in my "Aerial Class Structure" blog, I was able to re-write my weekly lesson plans for the first three weeks of the level 1 curriculum. 


Class Restructuring in Action

After my first class, a lot of my students jokingly made comments to me about not being allowed to take any more long periods of breaks off because upon my return, I have too many new wild and torturous ideas for them. I took this as a positive response to my newly implemented conditioning plan. They were getting what they came for: a workout.  My newly reconstructed lesson plans include more conditioning that specifically focuses on engaging muscle groups to be used in the skills set of the main portion of the lesson at the start of class as part of a warm up and then following up with a post skills conditioning portion that targets muscle groups not widely used during the previous 45-50 minutes of class.  I also sprinkle in "Stretch Breaks" throughout class so as not to fatigue areas of the body that have a strong focus on and to also introduce movement and circulation to areas for upcoming skills.  The result was continuous movement and engagement of the body.  I feel like its a cohesive relationship between strength and flexibility that allows for a balanced workout. 


The Results

While its only been three weeks of implementing my new format, so far my classes have been a lot sweatier. The gym has been hotter lately in temperatures due to weather changes which has helped a lot to keep the body warm and primed throughout class.  I feel like the continuous movement aspect has created a flow that adds to necessary endurance that is so crucial to aerial movement.  I also feel like other areas of the body are being worked that aren't traditionally a part of the  focus in my previous curriculum's classes.  I'm even walking away from my classes with next day DOMS that I wasn't expecting.  So it's pretty clear that I am targeting areas of the body that need to be worked on in addition to the areas that we have already developed from our fundamental skills of the level 1 curriculum. 


The Plan Continued

My next steps of this process will be to make adjustments to conditioning exercises and class skills based on the success of performance during implementation due to student's ability and time. Finding out what works and what doesn't will determine what areas of the reconstructed lesson plans need fine tuning.  These adjustments will also lead me into variations of modifications to allow a varied approach that encompasses every student's level of ability.  I plan to continue to update my readers on this process throughout the progress of this transition, 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Pure Barre On Demand

Pure Barre offers an online streaming membership for $29.99/month.  Your first week is free. With Pure Barre On Demand, you get 24/7 access to a variety of workouts that are categorized as full body, core, lower body, upper body, or a designated time frame to fit your at home workout schedule.  The Pure Barre On Demand service also allows users full access to all the Pure Barre DVDs. 

I decided that since I was unable to commit to a monthly membership at my local Pure Barre studio, I would try out the On Demand feature so I could still enjoy this style of workout in my weekly fitness routine.  I already have all the essential equipment necessary to make the On Demand classes work so I figured this was the best option for me.  (Modern technology for the win! πŸ’ͺπŸ™Œ)


On Demand offers a free intro class that is a 52 minute video where the first 5 minutes is talking about the concept of the method followed by technique and their own specific language terms used during their workouts.  The actual introductory workout starts at 5:00 on the video.  I highly recommend viewing this video and giving it a try if you're curious about starting this style of workout in the studio or at home.  This intro class is very similar to the classes I have taken at the studio.  Sometimes the live classes can be quick and difficult to grasp essential form technique.  After watching this video, I feel like I have a better understanding of some of the things I need to be doing better in each of the exercises I have done in my live classes. 


My On Demand experience has been very positive so far.  I have been using the On Demand classes for two weeks now.  The majority of the classes utilize a wall for support, mat, and/or the double tube resistance band.  I was hoping more classes used the mini ball as a prop since I really enjoy using mine in my workouts.  (I love props when working out). Speaking of props, I have also used my Lebert Equilizer Bars in place of the wall when I need a little more stability. You can also use a chair as a support if you don't have a barre or suitable wall space.


With any type of workout, there are always pros and cons.  Some of the pros for doing the On Demand classes are:
  • being able to do a class at home at any time that is convenient for my schedule
  • picking my workout focus and length of time
  • pausing the video so I don't miss essential cues or rewinding when I need to see or hear something again
  • going at my own pace
  • having access to classes when traveling
  • price - a single class at my local studio is $24 or $99/month unlimited. On Demand classes are unlimited $29.99/month.
Some of the cons for the On Demand classes include:
  • not having the live feedback of an instructor with proper form either when initially performing an exercise or during fatigue phases when I start to disengage my form
  • accountability - this isn't really an issue for me but I have heard others comment on not being able to commit to doing workouts at home because they can't rely on getting themselves motivated
  • not having the space or necessary equipment to adequately participate in the online classes (you really only need a wall or chair for support, band, and light weights- a solvable problem)
As you can see, the pros far outweigh the cons list for the On Demand.  While this may not be preferable for some people, I personally really enjoy making use of online classes.  I have been a long time supporter of the online yoga and Pilates classes offered with www.DoYogawithMe.com so I am accustomed to motivating myself to the online workouts.  If anything, I highly recommend the free online intro class for Pure Barre as it gives you an idea of what to expect during a live in studio class if you're wanting to jump on the barre workout bandwagon. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

60 Tricks on Static Trapeze Choreography Instructional Cards Review

If you're a regular reader then you are well aware that I have decided to dive into learning the static trapeze.  I recently wrote a blog about my intro to the trapeze apparatus.  I wanted to touch base with my readers about how I was coming along in my progress and discuss some learning tools I have incorporated into my training.

My second session on the trapeze was more of me testing my aerial body awareness and transitioning some moves I already felt comfortable with on other apparatuses.  Since I have a strong base for some movement that would translate well to the trapeze,  I ended up putting together a short routine of moves that I could focus on cleaning up with more practice and piecing together into a performance for an upcoming student/instructor showcase at Cirque Indy.  Unfortunately a few days after this intense and successful trapeze session, the weather drastically changed from warm to near freezing.  My left trapezoid and neck area stiffened up and put me out of commission for the next week.  I couldn't attribute the pain to anything physical and my husband was complaining of the same symptoms so I assumed I must have had a virus.  Once my neck issue resolved, I was back at it in the air trying to make up for lost time. Lucky for me, by this time I had received my latest edition to my growing library of aerial material, Trapeze style flashcards.


In an effort to expand my training, I purchased the 60 Tricks on Static Trapeze Choreography and Instructional Cards from AerialDancing.com.  Please take note that if you're a beginner then these cards are not intended to supplement the expertise and instructional aspects of a true aerial instructor.  I have been training on multiple aerial apparatuses for nine years and have the ability to train in the presence of fellow qualified aerial instructors.  I do not recommend anyone using any printed manuals or tools as a single means of learning aerial techniques or as their only informational training device.  With that said, let's talk about the cards! 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
The cards arrived well packaged via USPS carrier.  My initial reaction of the cards were that they are quite large, measuring 8 1/2" x 5 3/4".  They come in a cardboard tuck box with an eight page well written instructional booklet. The tuck box was flimsy and the corners tore right away. I ended up reinforcing the corners of the box with tape.  I may eventually have to move the cards to a large ziplock bag in place of the box as I anticipate the box not withstanding many trips to and from the gym. The booklet covers basic information about getting started and using the card color coded system. The book further talks about some tips to remember when working with Trapeze as well as three basic transitions that should be mastered prior to attempting any of the tricks displayed on the cards.



THE CARDS
The cards are in full color detail on both front and back.  The front of the card shows a picture of the move in it's completed pose with the move name in the bottom left corner.  Each card is color coded based on sliding scale of difficulty moving from red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, to gold.  Red is easy and gold are advanced.  The back of the card
includes a step by step instruction plus pictures to execute the move.  The cards cost me $89 plus shipping.  After having the cards in my possession and working with them, I feel this price point is fairly priced for this item. 


USING THE CARDS
Yes, they work! I love these cards. I have been working with them consistently to supplement my training.  The color coded system that ranks moves on levels has been one of my favorite attributes as it allows me to set aside certain skills until I have completed the cards that precede it. My initial use of the cards is skills focused.  I hope to progress and utilize these cards to create choreography in the near future as I plan to work towards performing in upcoming showcases. 








Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May 2018 Pole and Fitness Challenges

🌸 MAY COMBO CHALLENGE! 🌸 May combo challenge with @dredee1983 starts 5-1-18! This month's moves focus on SHOULDERS - flexibility and strength. For each trick listed, use the trick in a combo that is at least two moves in length. The combo can be anything of your choice. Do one combo every other day but combos do not have to be done in order listed - you can do combos on different days other than what’s listed. There will be three videos of yoga sequences and/or exercises to help improve your shoulder flexibility or strength prior to each group of pole tricks. To play, follow the steps below: 1. Repost the flyer and tag two friends to play. 2. Tag me @dredee1983 in all your entries! Example videos will be posted 2-3 days before each combo day so check my profile before each day. 3. Post a video of your combos using the moves listed. Combos do not have to be done in order, but try to complete all the tricks for the month. If the moves are too advanced for you, do videos of prep work for each move - that still counts! Try to do your combo both sides! Optional - post 1 video of each of the 3 yoga sequence or exercises as well to help increase flexibility and strength for this month’s moves. Use the hashtag #maycombochallenge, and don't forget to tag @dredee1983 in all your entries! There are no prizes but I will still be choosing 3 winners! To win, all posts should be completed by June 3, 2018. Winners will be announced June 6, 2018. Winners must complete all combos as best they can for their level, shoulder exercises are optional. Modifications will be posted as much as possible. 🌸🌼🌸🌼

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So many reasons to join us in May for our Instagram Yoga Challenge #Maythewellnessbewithyou2 There are great weekly and grand prizes for participants from amazing sponsor's that include, free yoga classes, jewelry, wreaths, t-shirts, massages & more! But the most important reason is to join because you are Worth it! This challenge gives you the opportunity to instill a practice that is about taking time to invite mindfulness, self care and connect with the yoga community <3 To participate simply follow and tag the hosts and sponsors when sharing your inspired yoga practice! Hosts @potegpguidancecenter @maybeitsmallory @ashleylyn322 Sponsors @photographybyymallory @namasterabbit @sweetescapeboutique @provincialboutique @positivespacerehoboth @jewelsdayspamedicalaesthetics @studioon6 #MayTheWellnessBeWithYou2 #yogachallenge #spring #yoga #potegpguidance #nonprofit #wellness #dailysadhana

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Practice Yoga, Save Puppies 🐢 Join this FREE #yogachallenge for Charity. Link in bio. _ Join the FREE May Yoga Challenge #ArmUpForAnimals with @kinoyoga on @omstarsofficial and help support @animalhopeandwellness _ This powerful charity is committed to ending the dog and cat meat slaughterhouses of the world and making dog and cat meat consumption and production illegal in the U.S. (can you believe it isn’t illegal yet?!). If you want to see how important this mission is go over to @animalhopeandwellness and watch their videos. Our sponsor our @cannapet will donate one supply of supplements per person for everyone who signs up to help rescued dogs recover from severe abuse. _ And you get to practice with me for FREE in my all new Arm Balance Basics course! This 5-class course is available for FREE for everyone who joins the 10-day challenge. Each class in this course will correspond with 2 poses in the challenge, and by the end, each class should be completed twice. After each practice, snap and pic and share. ______ _ πŸ’₯Prizes include: One brand new Tiger Lily OmStars x Liquido outfit One sixth month membership to OmStars One signed copy of Kino’s new Yogi Assignment book One OmStars tank top _ ______ πŸ’₯Here’s how to join: 1. Click the link in our bio to sign up or go here: https://bit.ly/2H9kYXu _ 2. Follow our sponsors and hosts @kinoyoga @omstarsofficial @cannapet @animalhopeandwellness _ 3. Repost this challenge graphic and help spread the word. _ 4. Tag three friends to join you in this challenge!! _ 5. Practice with us every day for 10 days and share your journey here on IG and be sure to use our challenge hashtag #armupforanimals and tag all our hosts and sponsors daily. _ 6. Like and comment on each other’s posts to stay active and present in our community of yogis here on IG. _ #practiceyogachangeyourworld #onebreathatatime πŸ™

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Aerial Class Structure

Prior to having surgery, I was brainstorming ideas about how to change up my aerial teaching style to implement a strategy for injury prevention. I dubbed this technique the "post warm up cooling phase training theory" in my recent blog post: Aerial Silks Teaching Technique: The Mid-Class Warm Up? I've decided that once I return to teaching my aerial class, I am going to use a new format for my teaching that makes use of a class structure that keeps particular areas of the body warm for continuous training and injury prevention.  Since I work best with putting my ideas into writing and working with a format, I've decided to draft out a plan that I can easily enter key elements into based on the skills being worked on for any given class. 


MOVEMENT THEORY INJURY PREVENTION VERSION 1
  • WARM UP: 5-10 minutes head to toe dynamic movement
  • CONDITIONING: Climb Drills
  • STRETCH: Mix of dynamic and static based stretches specific to the body areas for skills section
  • SKILLS (The following steps may be repeated for each newly taught skill)
      • Learning: Skills are taught first by observing instructor
      • WARM UP: 2 minute head to toe total body dynamic movement
          • STRETCH: Additional for any areas of focus that cause excess strain particularly for the shoulders/splits skills
      • Active: Students perform new skill set
  • POST SKILLS CONDITIONING: Targets areas not within realm of previous skills focus
  • COOL DOWN: Light mix of head to toe dynamic with heavy static stretches


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

My Pure Barre Experience

I decided to finally try out a Pure Barre class as part of my post-op back to aerial fitness recovery plan.  My local Pure Barre studio offers new clients a first week of free classes and since I haven't been teaching, I figured now was the perfect time to get in there and see what their technique is all about. 




My first class was a lot of trying to figure out the technique and lingo that everyone was accustomed to.  The class runs with a quick pace from one exercise to the next. It started with a warm up that focused on the arms using weights.  Beginners are encouraged to use the lightest weights available, which are 2 pounds.  After my first two classes, I still think the 2 pounders are a bit much for me and I may actually need 1 pound weights.  If the weights become too much, you can also opt to not use them or take a break from the weights and continue with just the arm movements.  I have yet to perform the entire arm warm up using the weights the entire time. Future goals.  The warm up then progresses from arms to cover both core and legs.
 


After the warm up, the particular areas of focus each class works on are core, thighs, and seat.  The class runs through a similar routine with slight changes based on who the instructor is that is running the class.  The main equipment used during class are the weights for the warm up, resistance band, mini stability ball, mat, and the barre.  It is also recommended to wear socks and Pure Barre offers sticky socks in their retail area of the lounge.  I ended up purchasing a pair of small sticky socks and since I forgot to bring a hair tie, I got these really cool spiral hair ties that resemble key chain chords called teleties.




To get the most out of each exercise, the instructors prompt participants in form cues that engage particular areas of focus for that exercise.  By engaging these areas, the participant will feel a huge difference in working the targeted muscle group.  Pure Barre's slogan is "Lift. Tone. Burn."  From my experience, I can vouch there is a lot of burn.  And shaking.  When you're doing the exercises correctly, you will experience muscle burning and shaking.  THIS is good.  This is what you want because it's working the muscles and conditioning them for the desired toning and strengthening effect.  The whole reason you're doing the work out in the first place, right?  Although it may not feel like what you signed up for and you're pretty certain the class is trying to kill you, just keep with it.  It gets better.  My second class felt a lot better than my first.  I'm told it takes at least three classes for things to really click. 




By the end of this week, I will have participated in four classes.  I have decided to alternate my Pure Barre classes with some yoga classes at my local YMCA.  After my first Pure Barre class, my hips and glutes were really tight and sore.  I did a 47 minute DoYogawithMe.com Deep Release for the Hips, Hamstrings, and Lower Back online class and that helped A LOT and prepared my body for my second Pure Barre class.  So this week's schedule for me looks like this:




✔Friday (1st Pure Barre class) 4:30p-5:20p
✔Saturday DoYogawithMe.com online class
✔Sunday (2nd Pure Barre class) 9a-9:50a
✔Monday Yoga 5:30p-6:30p
Tuesday Pure Barre 4:30p-5:20p
Thursday Yoga 7:15p-8:15p
Friday Pure Barre 4:30p-5:20p




Throughout the week, I will also be using my DeskCycle stationary bicycle to achieve my 10k+ steps.  Next week, I plan on integrating some Cirque open gym time to work on the aerial silks.  I need to go in to the aerial gym with a plan next week and as this week progresses, I will have a better idea of what my curriculum will look like.  So stay tuned for my next week blog where I recap my progress and my plan moving forward as I get back in the air. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Fitness After Surgery

I'm officially one month post-op and I have been having a few set backs.  While the majority of my incisions are healed, I have been having issues with one area that keeps having drainage.  I had to return to my doctor for an unplanned follow up appointment because all of a sudden I started having a lot of drainage requiring an immediate site assessment and change in the plan of care.  I'm now having to conduct daily dressing changes. As of a week ago I was changing the dressing up to three times a day.  Drainage has finally started to slow down and I am now changing my dressing once or twice a day. 


On the fitness end of things, I have started to do some online yoga classes with www.DoYogaWithMe.com.  I also successfully took a yoga class on Friday with my local YMCA. Saturday morning I did a quick at home circuit training routine that focused strongly on glutes and legs. I am also continuing to use my Desk Cycle throughout the work day while I sit at my desk. While my incisional healing has been a slow progress, I have been working towards increasing my endurance with around the house activities.  I couldn't believe how wiped out the surgery left me.  The first three weeks post-op were frustrating because mentally I was ready to get moving while physically I was not.  I've been itching to get back in the air but have been cautious as to not jump back on any apparatuses while having drainage. 


I think the most frustrating thing is that while most of the incisional area is well healed, there is one area that is being stubborn. The reason for this is because of a previous hernia repair that resulted in my surgeon having to make a cut in a secondary location. Obviously the secondary location is not a preferred area and after experiencing the slower recuperation, I completely understand the reasoning why.


While I have not gone into complete details about my surgery and why I had it, I can say that I am feeling so much better than I have in the last 12+ years.  I'm able to tolerate eating certain things better than I was.  I have noticed a difference so I would say my surgery was quite successful.  I think the one thing I keep trying to remind myself is that I need to respect the fact that I just had a major surgery a month ago.  In the big picture, a month is really not all that long ago.  It may seem like an eternity at times but in reality, sometimes our bodies need time for recovery and pushing ourselves too much too soon can have the opposite effect of our intentions.  So I'm hanging in there and continuing to work on my short term goals and hopefully I will be back at it before long.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

April 2018 Pole & Aerial Fitness Challenges

It's April! Come on Spring! I'm ready for some warmer weather- even though I am probably one of the few people to ever admit that I do love the snow.  I just celebrated another birthday at the end of March and once my birthday has come and gone, in my mind it is time for flowers! I just recently splurged on some cute birthday floral print items to set the season.... (H&M floral cardigan jacket and Agenda 52 Floral A5 planner). As the weather changes, so does the mood.  I feel more energized in Spring weather and I'm ready to kick this post op recovery into high gear (read my previous blog for insight into my post-op fitness hiatus).  So without further a do, here is a list of the current pole, aerial, and yoga fitness challenges for April 2018.


1. This one has already begun but it's never too late to add your entries!

Are you ready??? I'm happy to announce this challenge with @boomkats_polewear πŸ’“ Here is the list of tricks which I'll be posting the night before, so you can see it and film it the day after, but remember: πŸ‘‰ always respect your body's practice πŸ‘‰ take rest days πŸ‘‰ it is allowed to catch up with the challenge or to pre-record πŸ‘‰ you can post a photo or a video πŸ‘‰ you can always choose an easier version of the trick - everything counts! πŸ‘‰ follow @leslielili_pole and @boomkats_polewear πŸ‘‰ always tag @leslielili_pole and @boomkats_polewear, so we can see your post πŸ‘‰ hashtag #favpoletrickchallenge and #boomkats_polewear There will be three winners announced on April 9th. First place gets to spend 60€ in @boomkats_polewear store and second and third place get to spend 10€. Good luck everyone! πŸ’› #favpoletrickchallenge #pole #poledance #poledancer #polechallenge #outfit #dance #dancer #poletrick #flexibility #unitedbypole #poledancenation
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‼️Announcing the #handSTANDforBEAUTY challenge that starts on Monday April 2nd. ‼️In this 7-day handstand challenge we will explore the variety of bendy pole handstands. Don’t have a pole? Use a wall, pillar, tree or anything you want you can lean on! To enter the challenge follow the rules below and participate each day to win a pair of ‘Aztec’ sticky pole leggings by @paradise_chick_ or jump in whenever you can to practice your #pdhandstand πŸ¦‹April 2-8th πŸ¦‹ ‼️Rules and Guidelines ‼️ ✅ Follow @vlada_polefitdubai and @paradise_chick_ ✅ Like this post ✅ Repost this photo and invite two or more friends to join the fun ✅ Post a photo/video of each pole handstand or make your own variation, make sure to use the challenge hashtag #handSTANDforBEAUTY, tag @vlada_polefitdubai and @paradise_chick_ so we can see your posts ✅ Enjoy and have fun! .................................................. I will be posting a video everyday demonstrating the move of the day (see the list below) πŸ¦‹ Day 1 - Forearm handstand πŸ¦‹ Day 2 - Hollowback (hips) πŸ¦‹ Day 3 - Hollowback (bridge) πŸ¦‹ Day 4 - Holloback (chest) πŸ¦‹ Day 5 - Split handstand πŸ¦‹ Day 6 - Chiropractor 1 πŸ¦‹ Day 7 - Chiropractor 2 . . . . #poledancenation #poledancing #poledance #unitedbypole #polespin #spinningpole #staticpole #staticpolecombo #polerina #poleart #polelife #polelove #poledance #poledancer #poledancersofinstagram #passionforpoledance #polepose #poletrick #polemove #polepassion #aerialistsofig #polefitness #polecombo #poleflow #poletricks #poletrickoftheday
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JUST A FEW DAYS TILL WE START THE CHALLENGEEEEEEEE πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠ #ApplyTheFlow CHALLENGE TIME!!!! To launch my new website and blog; www.anjavalkyrie.com I'm hosting a 4 week long challenge in April! I'm so excited to announce that I've teamed up with lovely @bandurskadesign to offer a great prize for one diligent pole dancer at the end of April! 2 months online training (focused on your pole goals) with me and a beautiful set from Bandurska which the winner chooses from their amazing collection πŸ’• The challenge will have four combos to complete in April. I will post them on my feed each monday morning (GMT 00:00) and you have a week to repeat it on video, post the video on your wall and tag @anjavalkyrie and #ApplyTheFlow to make sure I can see it! Winner will be chosen at random from the ones who complete the challenge. Now, we all learn to do all these cool tricks, but often we have no idea how to connect them. This month we'll focus on the flow from one trick to the next! When you do each combo, I want your main focus to be on climbing beautifully, straightening your legs completely, making nice movements with your head, body, hands and hair. Take your moment. Live in it. Don't worry if you can't repeat the combo completely the same. It's the main movements and above all, the feeling in the movement that matters most. RULES: 1.Follow @anjavalkyrie and @bandurskadesign 2.Repost this photo on your feed and in your story πŸ’œ 3.Tag 2 pole friends and have them join the fun πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰ 4.video yourself doing the combo of the week and upload on your feed, tag me and #ApplyTheFlow πŸ™… 5.APPLY THE FLOOOOOW πŸ’œπŸ’šπŸ’™❤
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7. DoYogawithMe.com: I'm setting a personal challenge for myself as part of my post-op recovery by participating in the 8 week DYWM Beginner Program.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Fitness Hiatus

I have been on a fitness and blogging hiatus the last 3 weeks due to surgery. For the past 12 years, I have been having a lot of pain that has gradually increased. I always knew something was wrong. I'm not quite at a point where I feel ready to go into great detail about everything, I've just been letting the reality of it all sink in. I'm still at a point in my personal life where I am trying to figure out how to approach this and how to talk about it and how I perceive these answers to my long sought questions. It has been quite a journey and I am trying hard to slow down and take my time by listening to my body in my recovery process. After 3 weeks, I returned to work yesterday. I am trying to incorporate using my desk cycle for activity. I brought my desk cycle home with me and fully anticipated using it during my recovery however, I was only able to use it once. The first time I tried using it was too painful and I decided it was best to rest. I also had high hopes of returning to teaching my aerial classes next week but after the last few days of trying to get back to a somewhat normal existence, my body let me know that dream is just too soon. So I am taking it easy and gradually building back up my activity and tolerance. I think the biggest hurdle of all is how tired I have been getting. So far I have done yoga once last week and used my desk cycle (consecutively now for 2 days!). Tonight I plan on doing some at home conditioning exercises using resistance bands, mini stability ball, and maybe a little pole dance warm up. I just wanted to put something out there for my followers to let you all know I am still here- just taking it easy right now.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Aerial Silks Teaching Technique: The Mid-Class Warmup?

Hamstring injuries in aerial are becoming a common theme lately.  Most people acquire some form of hamstring injury either from activities not related to aerial that exacerbate when adding aerial fitness to their routine or during aerial training when key muscle groups are not properly warmed up or have had the opportunity to cool down.  I have developed a theory I would like to implement into my teaching strategy that incorporates the concept of post warm up cooling phase training.  The cooling phase is when those nice and warm muscles go cold during an aerial class. 




It's been my experience that during classes we tend to repetitively focus on particular skills and muscle groups that pertain to distinct movement of the class agenda.  When we want to add some "flavor" to the skill we're newly mastering by combining it with our bank of moves we've already become proficient in, there runs the risk of tapping into skills that use muscle groups that have not been worked over the course of the previous 30-40 minute instructional class time.  A classic example of this would be to drop a split during a double foot lock when you just spent the last 30 minutes focusing on foot locking and not engaging the muscles that should be warm when going into a split. 




This idea has got me thinking about approaching teaching my classes a bit differently.  Instead of the 20 minute start of the class warm up, would it be possible to stagger the warm up throughout my 60 minute classes?  To utilize aerial skills in conjunction with a foundational buildup of creating a consistency for maintaining a warmer body?  How would a class like this flow?  I would have to re-write my entire teaching curriculum to meet the requirements of touching base with each muscle group thoroughly before engaging those areas in the desired aerial skills.  Or would it work just as well to shorten the 20 minute warm up and then integrate those missed elements with a class wide off the silks instructor lead range of motion check in when everyone goes through a series of body rolls and movements similar to the more intense pre-workout warm up?  This ROM check in can include more intense static stretching that precedes the upcoming high risk injury moves. 


Implementation Practices
I decided to try to implement this into my class last night. While I had good intentions, I ended up moving right into the class curriculum and forgetting to have a mid-class warm up EVEN after I told my students what I had planned.  I think implementing this new process will take some careful planning on my part.  Some ideas I will play around with include using timers on my phone to set specific intervals throughout class where we need to stop everything we're working on and re-engage and focus with a range of motion check in.  I'm also going to take some time over the next few weeks to re-write up my class curriculum to include specific stretches to compliment the skills being taught in class.  I think this is a good starting point and will definitely keep you all posted on the results of my progress for this project.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

#FortheLoveofPole February 2018 Challenge Report Card

This past month I decided to host my own version of a pole challenge on my Instagram.  Since February was a short month, I figured it would be easy to tackle a challenge and commit to daily pole workouts.  My challenge rules were to pole dance for a minimum of 15 minutes every day.  From the start, I knew I was going to be unable to participate for 4 days as I was going to be on a ski trip.  So to recap my motivation and efforts, I averaged 13/24 days of participation or 54%.  If this were the standard letter grading scale, I'd have an F on my report card. 


I think what matters most is how I am coming away from this challenge and how I feel.  I feel like the ski trip really killed my motivation.  I started out strong and then slacked off.  Despite this month being fairly busy, I think my participation was decent.  There were a few nights where I opted to be lazy as opposed to doing the challenge.


What I'm taking away from this challenge:
  • I got back into poling after having been on an unintentional hiatus since July of 2017.  (Way too long to not touch the pole!)
  • I was able to explore some dance techniques and movement to step outside of my traditional go to dance moves.
  • I had fun.
  • This challenge left me feeling good about my dancing.
  • I got in some great cardio!
Overall, I think what matters most about doing these online challenges is that you are able to do them at your own pace and do them as a fun way to stay in touch with your pole.  It's easy to get bored and flake out on your fitness. I never intended to go so long without dancing on the pole.  As I'm entering  a new month, my fitness goals will be on hiatus due to some necessary medical treatments.  I'm hoping to take this next month for recovery, self-love, and healing.  Thank you to everyone who participated with me in my February #FortheLoveofPole challenge. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

March 2018 Pole & Fitness Challenges

πŸŒΌπŸ’✨ March Pole and Core Challenge ✨πŸ’πŸŒΌMarch pole and core challenge with @dredee1983 starts this week! This month's challenge focuses on core strength and is designed to help all levels progress with core strengthening needed for pole moves. This challenge can also be done if you don’t have a pole (so feel free to tag non-pole friends too!) To play, follow the steps below: 1. Repost the flyer and tag two friends to play. 2. Follow the host and tag in all your entries! Example videos will be posted 2-3 days before each day. Some of these exercises may not have names and there will also be a couple different options for each day so for this challenge you should check @dredee1983’s videos before each day to see that particular exercise and pole move. 3. Post a video of your pole moves and exercises for each odd numbered day of the month. Use the hashtag #marchcorechallenge, and don't forget to tag the host in all your entries! I am not awarding prizes for this challenge but will still be choosing winners for anyone who completes all the exercises and/or pole moves!✨πŸŒΌπŸ’πŸŒΌ✨

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Reusable Menstrual Pads and Pantyliners

I decided to take the plunge and try out some more reusable menstrual products.  I have been a long time Diva Cup user (see former blog here) and decided that I wanted to shift my eco-friendly lifestyle ambitions to eliminating all disposable menstrual products.  With a little online research, I discovered several very appealing products that I felt would be a perfect fit for my lifestyle. 


Product List
  1. Lunapads Performa 5 pack pantyliners $59.95
  2. Hesta Organic Cotton 5 pack pantyliners $34.99
  3. Love My® Antibacterial Bamboo Fiber 6 pack pantyliners $14.95
Product Reviews Research


All the products are well received by their respective reviewers.  The products seem to do the job they are intended for.  Some of the particular considerations I paid attention to in the reviews that helped me solidify my decision were the following:
  • Price
  • Pad movement during basic activities such as walking
  • Quality of product - did it fall apart immediately or have issues after washes?
  • Leakage - did anyone complain of leaks in their reviews?
  • Temperature complaints
  • Ease of use
  • Bulky bunching product- does it create a visible panty line through clothing?
My intent for the product use was to replace disposable pantyliners used for spotting or light days in my menstrual cycle.  I currently use the Diva Cup menstrual cup as an alternative to disposable products for my menstrual flow days so my research was restricted to the thinner pantyliner options.  After a lot of back and forth between option 1 and 2, I ended up purchasing the Hesta Organic Cotton 5 pack pantyliners from Amazon.




Product First Impressions 
The pads are soft, thin, and easily usable.  They snap together around the underwear using buttons.  My first month using them I experienced some pad movement.  On my second month of use, I remedied this issue by doubling up on underwear or wearing a pair of boy short style underwear over my underwear that contained the pad.  For cleaning purposes, I have been using the wet pail method of soaking the used pads in a bucket of cold water then hand washing with mild detergent and hang drying.  I picked up a PRESSA 16 clip hanging octopus dryer from IKEA to use for my drying method. So far after two months of use, I am really enjoying using the reusable pads and am a point of considering purchasing an additional set of five pads.  I'm also experimenting with cleaning methods.  I prefer the hand washing wet pail method and will try different detergents and recommended cleaning products with future use.  Overall, I am feeling very good about my continued progress towards a greener menstrual cycle. 








Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fitness Tracker Change Up

My Fitbit Flex was working fine for the last 23 months- until it wasn't.  It stopped syncing to the app and was determined to be officially dead.  I did a little research on the current fitness trackers on the market offered through Fitbit so I could take advantage of the 25% off discount code they sent me. However, none of the trackers were very appealing to me for both features and price.  I'd been a previous Jawbone Up Move user and I decided to return to using my all time favorite tracker once again.  I ordered an Up Move tracker from Amazon.  In the meantime, to stay on track with my Employee Wellness Program goals of 10k+ steps per day, I downloaded a free pedometer app to my phone.  All I really need in a tracker is to be able to keep track of my step count.  An additional bonus to using a tracker for me is the sleep tracking feature and exercise log.  I really enjoyed the user friendly device that Jawbone offers.  I am hoping my new tracker will live up to the quality of my previous tracker's experience. 


I received my tracker quickly after purchasing from Amazon.  Everything worked wonderfully fresh out of the box.  Last week I was browsing fitness trackers online and it occurred to me that not many people use the Jawbone trackers anymore since their peak in popularity just three years ago.  It was then that I discovered news articles from mid-2017 stating that Jawbone had gone out of business.  While the tracker I have is still working, I wonder how long the app will continue to function and the tracker will continue doing what I need it to do? So for now, I am going to continue to enjoy using my tracker until I am no longer able to.  It's such a shame because I really like the product.  It just appears that for whatever reason, Jawbone couldn't keep up with the competitive demands of the fitness tracker market.  So far, the tracker lives up to the quality I had previously experienced as a Jawbone user.  I will continue to keep my eyes open in the meantime for a similar simplistic device that does not require me to wear on my wrist for my inevitable future tracker purchase.  So if you're in the market for a cheap short term fitness tracker, then it appears the Jawbone Up Move tracker may be just for you. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

#FortheLoveofPole February Challenge

I'm hosting a pole challenge on my Instagram for February.  I was tired of being a in a pole rut- I had not touched the pole since July. 😲 I couldn't believe it'd been so long.  The challenge is quite simple. Pole every day in the month of February for at least 15 minutes.  Going into this challenge, I foresaw most of my entries being quick freestyle warm up type dances.  Which was fine by me.  I wasn't trying to impress anyone, I just wanted to get back into dancing with my pole.  I also didn't have any expectations of how many people would participate.  Like I said, this was more about doing something I'd been wanting to do for quite awhile now which is also one of the goals I touched base on in my 2018 Fitness Goals blog post..  It was an overdue process of getting reacquainted with my pole.  Just three years ago when I was a studio owner, I did pole EVERY day.  I felt like my body was in a lot better shape then so it only made sense that if I could do one thing to get back into better physical shape that it would be to bring pole back into my life. 


How I'm doing the challenge.

Day 1 was a lot of awkward freestyle movement.  I turned on my Pandora Radio app and tuned into to the Amy Winehouse channel.  I set up my camera to record some of my progress for sharing purposes and set a timer for 15 minutes.  Then I just danced. I danced around the pole clockwise and counterclockwise, did body rolls, forward bends, danced through the Pandora commercials, and even played a game of fetch with my dog that kept bringing me a stuffed toy- ALL while I danced.  It felt good to spin and move.  A lot of muscle memory still exists but the movements felt rough around the edges. Surprisingly, 15 minutes felt like an awful long time for continuous movement.  I event checked the time with 4 minutes to go thinking the timer had failed me and I'd been dancing for 30 minutes.  I'm looking forward to continuing this challenge throughout the month and will hopefully come away with putting pole back into my regular fitness rotation.



Tuesday, February 6, 2018

My Fitness Goals for 2018

I have a lot of ambitious goals for my fitness journey in 2018! I'm really excited to lay these plans out and start working on these goals for the new year.  By sharing my goals with my readers, I'm creating accountability. So here are the list of goals I'm looking forward to for 2018.


  • Complete 14 day online Do Yoga With Me challenge.
  • Progress in my Trapeze skills. Be able to create a routine.
  • Perform in an aerial showcase.
  • Complete an Instagram challenge for pole fitness.
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking - visit Cascade Falls, Jug Rock, and other local hiking trails/parks
  • 10K steps/day
  • Employee Wellness Program activities
  • Sailing lessons
  • Ride my bicycle more within the city and less driving the car/take bicycle grocery shopping


What are your fitness goals for 2018?  Let me know in the comments or share with my on my Instagram or Facebook!






Tuesday, January 30, 2018

February Fitness Challenges 2018

February is the month of love and what better way to get fit than to dance with the apparatus that we love so much. I'm going to try something new this month and get back to dancing with the pole. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ I am challenging myself (and anyone else that wants to participate) to pole dance at least 15 minutes a day for the entire month of February. Post a video or pic from your daily pole session and tag #fortheloveofpole ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ (Just a heads up- President's Day weekend I'll be off skiing at a mountain resort so I won't be able to participate however, I am going to make an effort to pole every day possible when I will be home and around my pole.) #polechallenge #polefitness #poledance #poleharmonyblog #poleharmony #february #february2018 #fitnessblogger #fitness #fitnesschallenge
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❤️πŸ’—❤️ February Combo Challenge ❤️πŸ’—❤️ February combo challenge with @dredee1983 and @tara.renelle.roxy starts tomorrow! We will be giving away 3 prizes again this month! This month's moves focus on SPLITS. @tara.renelle.roxy has joined us again to give you a weekly yoga sequence or exercises to help improve your flexibility or strength for that week's pole tricks. To play, follow the steps below: 1. Repost the flyer and tag two friends to play. 2. Follow the hosts and sponsors and tag in all your entries! Example videos will be posted 2-3 days before each combo day. Keep in mind there are many names for pole moves so to do the combos for this specific challenge you must check @dredee1983’s videos before each combo. Also watch @tara.renelle.roxy weekly videos for your hip exercises or yoga sequence for each week. 3. Post a video of your combos using the moves listed in sequence for each odd numbered day of the month. If the moves are too advanced for you, do videos of prep work for each move - that still counts! Also post 1 weekly video with the yoga sequence or exercises provided by @tara.renelle.roxy. Use the hashtag #februarycombochallenge, and don't forget to tag the hosts and sponsors in all your entries! All entries must be received by March 3, 2017. Winners will be announced March 6, 2017. Winners must complete all combos and weekly exercises as best they can for their level and will be chosen based on fluidity of transitions and good form. . πŸ†PRIZESπŸ† 1st place will receive a shirt from @darkside.fitness 2nd place will receive a jar of itac 3rd place will receive a set of therabands. ❤️πŸ’—❤️πŸ’— Happy poling!

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In 2 Days!!! Are you ready to extend and free your back? I'll be sharing instructional videos with modifications and variations to fit all bodies. Join us for #OpenYour❤️❤️ challenge,happening February 1st through February 10th.. We will explore all sorts of chest and front side opening poses through our shared love of yoga and backbends. . How to get started: ▶️ Re-post this flyer. ▶️Follow all the hosts and sponsors. ▶️Practice with us daily & take a photo or a video of the daily pose. Your best attempt at the pose is perfect! ▶️Tag daily with the hashtag #OpenYour❤️❤️, your hosts and sponsors in the caption. NO need to tag your daily photos. ▶️Like, comment and make new friends. ▶️BONUS: TAG and invite a few friends in the comments below. . Hosts: @yogini_444. @yogisoli. @yoga_at_a_glance. @yamasaraha. . Sponsors: @yogaessentialsindia @zeetabody @will2wow_jewelry @mamakuka @glassticbottle @shideawords. @mala_spirit @liveinleggingsboutique @lotusfloweromllc @sashka_co @girl.108 @aroma.flow . List of Asanas for this challenge: 1. Standing backbend 2. Anjaneyasana- Low Lunge 3. Purvottanasana- Upward Plank Pose 4. Bhujangasana- Cobra Pose 5. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana- Upward Facing Dog 6. Ustrasana- Camel Pose 7. Urdhva Dhanurasana - Wheel pose 8. Supta Virasana- Reclined Hero Pose 9. Chapasana- Sugarcane Pose 10. Natarajasana- Dancers Pose
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Let’s open up our hearts this February for a short #yogachallenge Do it with a friend or partner or someone who inspires you to spread love. Hosts: @iamdemiyoga @mindfulmovement246 @wolfpackyoga246 Sponsors: @touchofedenbarbados @gdi_barbados @aqbeachclub • Here’s how to participate! 1. Follow all of the hosts and sponsors 2. Repost this image and tag friends to join in! 3. Post a photo each day sharing your journey to a more open heart 4. Tag all of the hosts and sponsors and use the hashtag #openedhearts in each of your posts 5. Profile needs to be public for the hosts to see your posts 6. Have fun while doing yoga! 🧘🏽‍♀️ • At the end of the challenge we will be giving out a few exiting prizes for you to enjoy! #openedhearts #yogisopenheart #yogaheart #loveyourself #backbendlove #teamyogisbarbados #yogalove #yogalife #spreadlove #mindbodyyoga #yogawithapurpose #demiyoga
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Just in time for Valentines Day and #fiftyshadesfreed ✨✨✨ Join @karramella1 @benditlikebay @awesomebodyrevolution @yogaelixir @beahappyamy and @tunaapari from Feb 1- Feb 10 for #FiftyShadesofYoga2 , a yummy challenge all about creative binds ➿ feel free to get as sultry as you want, just always remember to be safe and keep it creative. Are you Ready? Mr. Grey will see you now and remember: Remember, it’s all about the bind. (The picture in this poster is by the most amazing babe of all, @abanna_yoga_art, thank you Dana for your incredible image). 🎁SPONSORS🎁 @nicepipesapparel @fineheartsofficial @goamagicfashion @onzie @radhabeauty Here's how to join in: ☄Follow all hosts and sponsors ✔️ ☄Repost this flyer and tag at least three friends to join ✔️ ☄Post a photo every day, tagging all hosts and sponsors and using the tag #fiftyshadesogyoga2 _ #yoga #tonedgirls #yogapractice #yogi #yogini #yogagirl #yogainspiration #yogaeverydamnday #yogalove #fitspo #fitgirl #fitfam #gymrat #fitness  #yogaeverywhere #style #yogaholic #fitnessaddict #eatclean #workout #exercise  #goodvibes #fashion #healthy #blackandwhite #binds

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