Life has been unmanageably busy recently, but I am always happy that pole is a constant area in my life and one which I know can give me an outlet to get away from everyday life and have some breathing space.
The only problem is that because pole dancing has become such a constant and solid part of my life, sometimes I forgot to stand back and take in everything that pole does for me! Sorting through my pole admin and laptop documents this morning, I noticed that I hadn’t flicked through my photos in a while.
I have a huge folder of pole photos since I started pole, and always like to add a photo of a new move into it whenever I can. Looking through them not only did I see many technique mistakes and embarrassing faces, but I also noticed at just how far I had come.
I hear a lot of people talking about a pole wall or a time in their pole dancing life when they feel like they cant progress any further and are stuck in a rut, and I am not exempt from feeling such frustration. For me it is area of strength and flexibility, as not only am I a bit of a wimp when it comes to the pain following strength training but I seem to very easily damage my muscles through stretching no matter how careful I am.
This leads me to screaming with frustration during practice sessions when working on dead-lifting and any move which requires even a remote amount of flexibility! In my lessons, I see many of my students becoming frustrated with aerial inverts or handsprings, and regularly hear their frustration at not being able to get past a certain level despite their efforts.
Of course, constant training and hard work pays off, but I strongly believe that the mental block and frustration which many pole dancers feel hinders their ability to progress and achieve their nemesis moves.
I like to use the following techniques to try and overcome the mental obstacles and allow my body to take the work and not my emotions:
-Remember when you started pole and how you felt about what your instructor was asking you to do? The shock at the suggestion of climbing a pole, or getting into a reverse grab or complete confusion at how someone manages to hold themselves up in a split grip position?
Most pole dancers never believe that they would be able to achieve such moves when they first begin, and despite the fact that they are now in the shoes of the dancers they used to stay behind and watch practice, they don’t give themselves the pat on the back that they deserve.
Stop thinking about what you cant do, start to think about what you can do, how you managed to overcome the difficulties and use that to give you the drive to keep going! Below is a photograph of one of my first ever cross knee releases. I remember how hard it was for me to get this position and just how much practice to took until I felt comfortable to do it without assistance. For me, I didn’t believe that I would be able to maintain the grip but after bravery and a better understanding of how to hold the grip in my legs I got it. Now, whenever I am trying to get a cross ankle bridge (a move which really scares me me) I remember how it felt back then and how much I over came to get the move!
-For every time you say I can’t, think I can!!! Positive thinking goes a long way and if you keep telling yourself that you can’t do something you will convenience yourself that you cant. It takes some getting used to but try your hardest to not focus on the negatives and tell yourself that you can achieve your goal. And if your an instructor, I have found that making your students do a push up every time you hear them say they cant do something works wonders.
Photo progression! I can not recommend enough how important it is to track your progress to give you a confidence boost. Take photos, compare photos and be able to see right in front of you, how you have progressed! Sometimes no matter how many times people tell you that you are doing well, or how many levels your pass in lessons, it is you who needs to stand back, look at the full picture and see just for yourself why everyone is so impressed!
So if your feeling a bit like your stuck in a rut, do something about it and remember why you fell in love with pole dancing in the first place. Despite the hard work, the bruises and sleepless nights before a performance, there is a reason why you love pole and sometimes we just need reminding of it.