Friday, September 13, 2013

Poling Instead of Packing

It's almost time for our trip to Korea!!!  I'm getting really excited, though of course I haven't managed to learn a single word of the language or even begin to pack...I did buy the cats a new scratching post out of guilt for leaving them, and confirmed with the pet sitter that he'd be here.  Of course, part of whats slowing me down is that I'm so busy (and having so much fun with) my aerial yoga teacher training!  I have three more days of that, and the very next day I'm getting on a plane to take me farther from home than I've ever been...Skip is convinced that I'll be forced to pee on an airplane for first time of my life (which is pretty good since I fly at least four times a year, and have flown to and from Europe twice, and to and from the west coast once).  My goal is to sleep as much as possible so as to defuse the crazy jet lag, but I'm not counting on it.

Today I'm running to the library to grab some books in to take up the time I can't spend sleeping, and hopefully doing some of the horrifyingly large pile of dishes, never mind the multiple sinkfuls I've been doing lately.

Because I'm such a glutton for punishment, it wasn't enough that I went for a run and had a private aerial class yesterday, and have four hours of asana study tonight...I also had to sign up for a pole yoga class with my friend, Christine.  Because, hello?  Pole yoga??  Yes, please!
It's common knowledge in the aerial world that you can do way more with a pole than strut around it shaking your ass, and that while, yes, you do need a fair amount of skin showing to help with your grip, the stuff you can do looks way more tough girl impressive than stripper simpering sexy...which is not to say there's anything wrong with interacting with a pole in a sexy way if that's your thing, just that, well, if that's ALL you're doing, it's kind of a waste of a cool apparatus...
Here's an example of some seriously awesome sauce sexy poling.
And here is some fitness poling which, seriously, holy shit. How is that physically possible without selling your soul to the devil for special powers?

What I'm getting at is, when I discovered a pole yoga studio in Brooklyn, I knew we'd be challenging our strength and flexibility in exciting new ways, not exploring the best way to incorporate a come-hither stare into our downward dogs.

I also figured that, you know, I'm an aerialist, an aerial yogi, and just an all around kick-ass person, so I'd be doing advanced moves with one hand five minutes in.


Working with a pole, which is hard, and doesn't move, is almost nothing like working with a silk, which is soft, and conforms to your body.  If your apparatus isn't flexible, then you have to be.  And if your apparatus is made of brass, squeezing it between your limbs is going to hurt.  Constantly.

BUT, we had a lot of fun, did some amazing stretches, started to see the possibilities of kick-ass lifts, climbs, and shapes, and will definitely be back, after I'm back from Korea.

In my head, I'm nine steps ahead, already exploring the possibility of adding pole yoga to my teaching repertoire.  But before I do that, I'll have to stop making whiny faces when she says to squeeze  the pole harder in my armpit, or between my ankles. Which will take a while.

I make this point a lot but it bears repeating: what is yoga?  What counts as yoga?  The same Ashtanga routine everyday without the teacher telling you which poses to do next?  The same sequence repeated twice in a room that's over 100 degrees?  Doing chaturangas till your wrists give out?

Maybe.  Yoga is moving physically in a way that A.) helps prepare you to be comfortable sitting still on the floor, and B.) challenges you to focus and be present to what IS without resisting it over and over and over and over.

And it doesn't matter if what IS is sweat dripping into your eyes, the fact that you're the only one taking a child's pose, your throat clenching in fear as you tip back over the fabric into an inversion, or the pain of a brass pole flattening your calf muscle.  If you are actively trying to BE THERE, and not make excuses, disassociate, disengage, or blame, then you're doing yoga.

Which means you can be doing yoga right now.  Every second.  Great self- adjustments, everybody! ;-)

Live Omily,

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