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Student Spotlight – Josephine

At Aradia Fitness Calgary, we love our students. We watch them develop strength and confidence throughout their pole journey.

Introducing our amazing student Josephine!

Every month we feature an Aradia Fitness Calgary student who we feel embodies our community of positive, supportive, powerful and fabulous women! For the month of June, we are featuring Josephine! This amazing woman is at the studio all the time and we can’t get enough of her! The commitment she has and shows is an inspiration to instructors and students alike! She is an absolute joy to have in class, works so hard and always shows support and encouragement to her peers. Here is her story.

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Josie in her iguana. Nice work!

Where are you from? Hometown?

Toronto, Ontario  

Favourite pastime (outside of pole)?

My favourite pastime outside of pole is staying active. It changes with the season. In the winter I love snowboarding and skiing. In the spring/summer I spend a lot of my time biking and paddling/coaching for dragon boat. 

What do you love most about pole?

I love pole because it because it’s fun and gives you a sense of confidence and accomplishment.

What is your favourite pole move? What is your favourite class at Aradia? 

There are too many pole moves/poses to just pick one! Each pose is beautiful and an intricate work of art and strength. One of my favourite pole moves would be the Ayesha. It took me a long time to be able to consistently perform this move.
My favourite class at Aradia would be the floor play classes. I am by no means a dancer or graceful. But I find with the floor play classes, the transitions and fluidity make me feel that much closer to being an artist/dancer.

What keeps you motivated to come to your pole classes consistently?

There are many things that keep me motivated to return to pole classes consistently. The instructors are wonderful at Aradia. The students are incredibly friendly and welcoming. Also, the progress you see in endurance and strength when you are able to perform a challenging pole move is quite rewarding.

What surprised you about pole dance and fitness?

I found it really surprising how much strength especially core strength, at the higher levels pole dance and fitness entailed. The instructors and other students make it look so easy and effortless. But watching others perform strength moves or beautiful combos is very inspiring.

Why should someone join Aradia Fitness Calgary and start pole today?

Aradia is a great place to start your pole journey. You progress at your own rate. The studio, environment, instructors and student community are amazing. Pole fitness may seem intimidating, but it’s a great investment for your physical and mental health. You meet amazing and supportive people.
There are so many different aspects of pole fitness: strength, flexibility, fluidity, etc. I myself became hooked on the strength aspect. But either way, which ever aspect of pole fitness you focus on, it’s just a beautiful and fun alternative way to fitness.

Student Spotlight – Amy

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Amy working her flexibility on the aerial silks.

Every month at Aradia fitness Calgary, we celebrate one of our most dedicated and delightful students. Our Student Spotlight for March, 2018 is Amy Karst. Amy is a joy to have in class with smiles and laughter, showing encouragement to other students, and setting a wonderful example by coming to class and working hard. Her progress in pole and aerial fitness has been outstanding. We are proud to have Amy in our Aradia family. Keep going, Amy!  xoxo
1.  Where are you from?  Hometown?
I’m homegrown, born and raised right here in old YYC. My parents are from Saskatchewan so I have Rider Pride, and I believe through humour and carbs all things are possible!
2.  Favourite pastime (outside of pole)
I believe quality motion and stillness are the keys to happiness so when I’m not around the pole, in a hoop, or wrapped in silks, you’ll find me on my snowboard or downhill mountain bike. I started tap dancing this year too, making 2018 the year to tackle new opportunities for motion, and annoying my downstairs neighbors! I’m also a voracious reader and experienced napper.
3.  What do you love most about pole?
I am in love with pole because you can visually capture your strength gains from week to week. One week you can’t even begin to hold a move, and the next week you can for half a second, and then for a whole second, and then for two! The progression is extremely thrilling and motivating to push yourself further, even when your pole kisses (bruises) are showing.
4.  What keeps you motivated to come to your pole classes consistently?
The evolution of my strength, and the burning desire to be able to do what the YouTube videos make look so dang easy! Tip: none of it’s easy but it’s all beyond worth it!
5.  What surprised you about pole dance and fitness?
I was surprised by how fast my body adapted to the new challenge, and how supportive each class is! It’s never a competition, we all want to climb to the roof together!
6.  Why should someone join Aradia Fitness Calgary and start pole today?
A) the true hilarity of looking the absolute opposite of sexy as you try to do any move from pole 1 for the first time!
B) the joy of doing a pole up!! That’s right, I used JOY and a BODY WEIGHT PULL UP together.
C) the commraderie, support, and inner (and outter!) strength that comes from such an empowering, endurance building, anything’s-possible workout that can change your outlook, your body, and your life.
At Aradia you get to bust out your wild side, your sexy side, your soft side, your strong side. I RAVE about Aradia to anyone who’ll listen, and when I can’t find the words or they don’t believe me, I just show them my biceps! 
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Amy showing her progression in Lyra.

 

Why I’m a Big Believer in Yoga for Pole Dancers

To be completely honest, I didn’t think I was the “yoga type”. I went along my days, with what I thought was purpose, commitment and conviction. Until I met my friend Jessica in 2003, I didn’t think yoga would be a good use of my time or add value.  As roommates, she talked about how yoga was a way of life as she had just completed her yoga certification. I listened but went about my days without change. The day came that she was going to teach yoga at a studio and she asked if I would help her with her classes. I obliged begrudgingly until we started. Every night for the next few months, I would “take” her class at home to test it out. The first few times were an effort but surprisingly, after that, came a new found appreciation. I was eager to do yoga at night – what was happening? It felt good and I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I continued to do yoga for a number of years and then I found my love for pole in 2008.  I focused all my attention on this magical sport that I had made my own. As I achieved more and more in pole, I began to realize that my body was not performing at its optimal level. I began holding my breathe, stressing my body and muscles and my flexibility was at a standstill.  I began to read about cross training for pole dancers and the benefits. It was then that it came full circle. Yoga worked every part of the body that I used in pole but in different ways.

The main benefits for anyone practicing yoga are learning how to breathe, increased flexibility and strength as well as balance and coordination. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve held my breathe doing a difficult pole move…  everyone does it and sometimes I still do but practicing yoga helps me focus on my breathe. Holding your breathe instead of breathing through the entrance into a pole move hinders your ability to even do it. Many times you have heard your instructor remind you to breathe. You would think that is an easy fix to do on your own but it takes practice.  Something done repetitively, is something that becomes second nature and yoga focuses on breathing each and every class.

On to flexibility; yoga has a way of moving you into poses that are beneficial not only for your flexibility but also your strength.  A very simple example of this is Sun Salutations. It’s not a coincidence that we do a variation in my classes to warm up.  I have a secret: I do five of them almost every morning when I wake up. It just starts my day off right! Yoga is a safe way to increase flexibility and the more flexibility you have in pole, the better your technique will be. I had an unfortunately injury in 2015 that has stunted my flexibility but yoga has helped me immensely. Even without these types of challenges, many people just chalked it up to not being flexible and that no amount of practice would help. I’m proof that working on it can and does help and yoga is one of the best ways to do it.

One of the biggest challenges in any sport is coordination. Coordination is a key skill in pole and any time you can practice slow, methodical movement, it helps greatly. Coordination is a skill that is learned through practice. It isn’t built into the DNA for some people and not others. The actual definition of coordination is ‘the ability to use different parts of the body smoothly and efficiently’. This skill cannot be more important than in pole. I notice it when I see a video of myself working on combinations. How many unnecessary movements am I doing?  Can I reduce these points of contact to smooth out the transitions?  Are my legs moving efficiently vis a vis my hands? Yoga is about thoughtful, efficient movement. It’s about flow and transitions. It is exactly what we strive to achieve in pole.

Balance is key, inside and out. We’ve all seen some yoga poses and thought to ourselves “I would tip over”.  I still tip over but by practicing, I get better every time :).  Even more important in my mind is the mental balance and connection you achieve in yoga. When life is chaotic, concentrating in class, slowing down your movement or even achieving greater goals is hard to do. When my head is not in it, I have a hard time performing. I love the relaxation, release and calm yoga gives me.  I have yet to leave a yoga class not feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

If you haven’t tried it before, or if you tried it a long time ago, try it again. I am a big believer in yoga, especially for us. It’s no coincidence that we offer it at Aradia as do many other pole studios in Canada and around the world. It compliments everything we do as pole dancers and it will help you get to the next level.

Demetra

Yoga for Pole Dancers

Yoga for Pole Dancers

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