Pole and presence

May 18, 2013

Like most people, staying in the moment is a huge challenge for me in day-to-day life. I go through my motions while my mind is constantly on the past, or future, or What-If Land, anywhere but the present moment. This motivates my interest in meditation as not only a useful tool for taming my mind and emotions, but a refuge from the constant static hiss of my thoughts. 

Today I took a class on meditation and writing. We practiced sitting meditation, walking meditation, zen meditation, and eating meditation. The goal of each is to be present and to keep returning your attention to this authentic moment, not moments remembered or projected or invented. We also took time to write about how we experienced each form.

 I am used to incorporating a deliberate effort at presence during yoga practice, which is the closest thing to meditation that I do on a regular basis. During the in-class sharing and discussions, I couldn't help thinking of pole as another source of meditation for me.

Pole demands that I be in the moment. I can't be up there doing Gemini-Scorpio switches while mentally writing a shopping list, or replaying a conversation I had yesterday, or brainstorming ideas for my novel. That's a quick trip to a bump on the head! 

Pole demands that I be conscious of my body, the placement of each limb, the bend in my back, the contraction of my muscles, the centrifugal force from my spin, my center of balance, down to the positioning of my fingers and toes. All at once. How could there be room for anything else?

Pole demands that I detach myself from my ego, my identity. When I am on the pole, I am a dancer and a dancer alone. In that moment, I am not a marketing copywriter, or an author, or a teacher, or a wife, daughter, or sister. I am not even a woman. Each of these identities dissolves into expressive movement, no longer distinguishable from one another. They are not necessary for carrying out the dance. If I cling to them, they have the power to take me away from the pole, to disturb and alter my intuitive rhythm. The more I shed them and get down to the core of me, the better I fit into my own skin. 

I suspect this explains why freestyle is my favorite kind of pole practice. Learning tricks is one thing, it adds to my vocabulary of possible expressions. Practicing and polishing those tricks creates fluency with the language of dance. But freestyle - dancing free, free of baggage, free of anxiety, free of pain, free of judgment - that's where the magic happens for me. 

That's when everything else in the world stops and my truest self is present. Mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, fully. 
joeli2jolieI really enjoyed this blog! I've been poling for a year but Im yet not comfortable with free styling. I enjoy exercising and learning/polishing moves and tricks most.

What did it take for you to enjoy freestyling? Thank you.
Oct 28, 2013
SpyralBoundHmm, that's a good question Jolie.

I'm a very music-oriented dancer - for me, that's what drives the dance, and that's what encourages me to freestyle. I have put HOURS into my pole playlists, and I have one especially for songs I want to freestyle to. Having the right song going really matters. It has to tap into something emotional in me, something that begs to be expressed. I just turn up the speakers, find a starting point, and try to keep moving - no thinking, no stressing about perfect execution or repeating myself or how the footage will look, no do-overs. The whole point is, keep moving, even when you're moving really really slowly, until you're either out of breath or out of grip. Hope that helps inspire you!
Oct 30, 2013
joeli2jolieI appriciate your advice!! (: thank you
Oct 30, 2013
PoleDanceAddixxI love free style too n this is a really cool blog/story!!!
Oct 31, 2013
descalzada Paid MemberVery insightful!
Nov 18, 2013
MissMolokaBeautiful post! I can totally relate! I feel like for me the purpose of nailing tricks perfectly is so that they can be included seamlessly and expressively in a dance. I too love getting in that zone when freestyling :)
Jul 24, 2014
sharon5star Paid Member
30 day take off. Wow did day 7 .fractured my left ulnar of elbow 2 years ago . Could not make fist with my left hand. I wish had these hand exercise 2 years ago. They are great thanks Veena :)
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