Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How much flexibility do you need for King of Dancer's Pose?

When I got into King of Dancer's pose for the first time I was confused--I had no idea I was anywhere near getting there and was just preparing. I was convinced you needed to have some incredible degree of flexibility absolutely everywhere. And possibly also be a ninja. It always seems those that can do it are human pretzels, after all. Luckily, you need just a few main points of flexibility:

Leg flexibility

You don't need full splits. Really. I haven't done any sort of a stretching routine since before my nine-month-old was born... so my right front splits are missing and if I twist way out of a squared position like I did in the video I am still a handles width away. Obviously, the more the better! The further your legs can split and the  higher you can get your back leg, the less your shoulders need to stretch down and back plus the less your back has to arch. I have about the bare minimum leg flexibility necessary because I can "cheat" with my very flexi shoulders and back.

Back flexibility

Try this: stand next to a wall, pole, or other support and stand on one leg. Hold your leg so the thigh is parallel to the floor and your foot is pointed to the ceiling. Push your chest out and up and your toes to the ceiling (or to the stars, that's what I like to think of). Does your back resist the position? How much? You need to be able to hold this position, more or less. (More if you want to breathe I it, less to just snap a picture and celebrate. And yes, both are huge accomplishment!) A good indicator that you have enough flexibility for it is being able to do a nice backend like wheel pose (usually called a bridge but wheel pose is really like cow pose upside-down). If you're still working on it, keep faith that you will get there gradually.

Shoulder and arm flexibility

From what I hear, this is the major stumbling block for most. You absolutely do not want to force your shoulders into this. I can grasp my hands behind my back easily and without a warm up so I recommend that if you are working towards shoulder flexibility you should warm up with arm rolls, arm and shoulder stretches, and only then go for it. If you have better leg flexibility than I do you will not need as much shoulder flexibility. You do absolutely need to be able to do an external rotation of the shoulder (that's the twisting motion I make with my shoulder). Biceps also need to be flexible--your biceps need to allow your hand to move down your back and then stretch away from your back.

This pose may seem daunting, but do not underestimate the value of repetition for this one. Trying it out gives you a better indicator of which areas need the most work on your body and gets your brain trained for making the right motions. Remember that a lot is going on in this one, with different muscle groups working together so you can get it even with slightly less flexible areas. Keep at it and you'll get there!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Renewal in Six Words | #PDBloggers July 2014 Blog hop

This month I came out of a two month blogging hibernation... and it was, if any words can describe it, by torture rather than by choice. I always hear people ranting that they have "no time" and those words have often splattered out of my own mouth, but it wasn't until now that I understand the meaning of the phrase. Over these two months I have percolated, roiled, and finally bubbled over with retrospection, introspection, and deep analysis of this little place in the internet.

In short, I miss this, and I miss you all!


1. Pieces

This year so far has been about roving madly about the internet, learning about everything that could make me a better writer, photographer, designer, dancer, and flexibility lover. I found the one thing I could do while breast feeding and juggling my life is to imbibe sumptuous quantities of instructional videos. So while nothing has been posted, I've been refining my eye for composition, color, and everything that involves make this place pop. I'm putting all these pieces together now and trying to worry less about getting it right on the first try.

2. Theft

I am an accomplished time thief. With my posts on Stretching Anywhere (which still needs an apt name), I played with cheating time and getting more done during all the doctor visits being a new mom all over again requires. And lately I am stealing a few more minutes in the bathroom to pluck my eyebrows or trim my overgrown bangs while someone holds the baby. A little me time is essential for sanity.

3. Doubt

This year I have tinkered so much with my pole journey and with my blog that I have been wondering--an I still being true to my original goals in pole dance? I wonder if my blog is over-emphasizing the clichés of pole dancing, if my pole practice is too. Or am I trying too hard to avoid aspects of pole? I have wondered about what I should do with my color scheme; the first positive I ever had in my life is being called an artist so it is key to everything I do. What about font? I watched a course on that and I'm still agonizing over serif versus sans serif and how simple or ornate fonts can go. I have seen Jillian over at Pole Geek make her online home so beautifully hers in a way so different from what I envision here and yet that I covet (ahh, she is such the design queen!) I realized how much I wanted to include tutorials and videos in this blog... and that I have been slacking on both!

4. Friendship

The most important part of my personal growth in pole dance and flexibility has been due to the kindness and support of my pole friends, better yet, my pole family. To everyone taking the time to read this, you are a source of magic for me. There are many bloggers, both polers and nonpolers, that inspire me and make me think, "Hey, I want to do something based on that." The bloggers in this blog hop (linked to at the bottom of this post) are a great example. I love keeping up with my pole friends' progress and the positive reinforcement makes me launch into full on happy dance mode.

5. Moments

This year I have been re-learning how to enjoy those everyday moments; they can be fillers to hurry through of pockets of time with meaning. This spring when I posted about getting King of Dancers pose a comment KiKi made reminded me of how much I want to inspired other dancers, jolting me into realizing that I am actually in a position to share real, concrete advice. The day I tried that pose, the day I took the picture, and the day I shared it were each moments that I took to honor my love for the art we can create with our bodies. The activities were different but the common thread was to elevate the daily grind of working towards a goal; this is what I really want to do.

6. Spark

I keep coming back to finding that spark whether it's feeling sexy during workouts as motivation or admiring to-die-for lines... it's all about adding a spark to life. The whole point of being a pole dancer, whatever one's style, is to enjoy it. Despite our busy schedules, insecurities, and other factors that would otherwise hold us back it is always that special spark in pole dance that keeps us going.

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