5 months later, how it changed my life.
When I was looking for pictures to add to this article, all the images I got for “Pole Dancer” were of women wearing glossy bikinis and stilettos.
In fact, one of the most common questions I’ve got from people when I shared with them that I’m a pole dancer is this —
“Anangsha, do you wear stilettos while dancing?”
Do I? You tell me!
Pole dancing is more about fitness, core strength, flexibility, and determination than it will ever be about sensuality.
My journey with pole fitness started in August 2022, when I randomly booked one class because the Instagram videos of the instructor looked sexy.
Her name is Pound Kakar, and she’s the founder of the only pole studio in my city, Hyderabad.
Back then, I’d just learned driving, and visiting the pole dance studio was another excuse to drive through the city and get my car out. I never really intended to make this a weekly habit.
I had a million questions in my head, but the gist of them was —
- I’m 30 and not fit enough. How will I be able to climb the pole?
- I’ve never done flexibility training. Will my body be suited to the pole?
- Pole dance is closely associated with bars and strip clubs. What will my friends and family say if they found out I was into it?
It’s been five months of consistent practice for me now. In this post, I’ve detailed my journey with pole fitness, listed the struggles I faced, and chronicled all the wonderful ways this art form has changed my life.
Month 1: Getting the “hang” of it
Like all new forms of fitness, the first month was the hardest.
I remember my first class when all I could manage was a basic climb after what felt like hours of throwing my limbs against a metal pole.
I had bruises all over my thighs. My arms ached from the effort of holding up my body. My back felt like someone had run a truck over it.
But I also felt free.
Knowing my body could bend into these incredible shapes and cling on to the pole for dear life was another level of high.
I felt a surge of confidence and an assurance that if I can do this, I can do just about anything I set my mind to.
I had only intended to try one class.
But right after I got home, I booked seven more to last the entire month.
The next few classes were packed with surprises.
It’s like my body remembered, and in the second class, I could climb up on my first try. The instructor was super helpful, and the encouraging comments from the rest of the students spurred me on.
In my fifth class, I could do an invert.
By my seventh (and last class of August), I could do a combination of moves on the pole, along with spinning gracefully around.
I knew I’d found a new love. And I couldn’t wait to explore this more.
September to December: The Limbo
I had vacations planned, and the end of the year called for some rigorous client work that left me no time to pursue my new-found passion.
During this forced 4-month break, I couldn’t stop looking longingly at Instagram videos of pole dancing and visualize myself being back at it.
I also combed through old videos of the moves I’d cracked and hunted YouTube for pole tutorials that would help me understand this new art form better. I worked on strengthening my core at home, which I knew would come in handy when I got to go back to the pole studio.
But staying away from the pole was hard.
Inevitably, my mind conjured up excuses for why I shouldn’t go back.
That’s another reason why my break lasted longer than I’d planned.
- It was a fun hobby while it lasted. But is it really for me?
- Should I rather spend the money on a gym membership and get stronger?
- Can my schedule accommodate 2 classes each week, along with an extra hour of driving?
But if there’s one superpower I have, it’s believing I’m stronger than my excuses.
And so, when the new year started, so did my resolve of getting back to something that had given me so much joy.
Months 2–4: Reaping the benefits of consistency
In January 2023, I took a resolution: I’d show up at the pole studio every month, and monitor my growth by the year-end.
The potential of seeing an incredible amount of improvement in my physical and mental health pushed me, and I booked another 8-classes package to last me the first month of the year.
But when it came to attending my first class after a break, I was nervous. I was sure my body had lost all the strength I’d gained in August, and I’d be back to square one.
I shared my fears with my instructor, and she assured me,
“Your body will remember the moves. Focus on conditioning and warming up first, and trust your body to know the rest.”
I did exactly what she told me, and after 30 minutes of conditioning, I was surprised at how well my body remembered all the moves. Not only could I climb up with confidence, but I also performed inverts without slipping off.
The bruises were back, but so was my confidence.
The rest of the month was spent gaining back lost strength, working on my flexibility, making new friendships with other pole dancers, and building up strength and resilience.
I now had the answers to the questions which had plagued me before I resumed after the break —
- It is a fun hobby, and if it makes me feel so happy and confident, I deserve more of it.
- I can join a gym simultaneously. Pole only takes up 2 days a week. The gym will help me get stronger so I can get even better at pole.
- Yes, my schedule can accommodate everything it has to if it means contributing to improved mental health and generous doses of self-confidence.
I was super consistent after that, with 3 days of the gym and 2 days of pole dancing in the week. I could feel new muscles in my body, improved productivity, sustained good mood, and a glow in my face that even strangers complimented on.
And yes, I was at a stage where I was inverting like a pro!
Every class, I pushed myself a little harder, got a little better, and came home with an afterglow that lasted the entire week.
The hardest part was dreaming and fantasizing about the pole when I wasn’t working out. No conversation with friends would go by where I didn’t mention my latest pole achievement or how deeply I was in love with this new art form.
I now knew pole dancing was more than just a hobby.
It had become a way of life.
Month 5: Getting back after a major setback
Just when it seemed I could do no wrong, something happened that set me back several weeks, if not months.
It was on a humid April morning. I was done with an hour-long class, and the instructor told all students to cool down.
My muscles were tired but my brain was buzzing with adrenaline. I’d only just learned to do an aerial invert, and my confidence was at an all-time high.
I was so lost in the moment, I didn’t think I’d need a crash mat.
I grabbed the pole, engaged my core, lifted my legs, and successfully accomplished an invert. I had to grip the pole with my knees while I maneuvered my hands into another position to accomplish the move called the “Pole Crucifix.”
But it was a humid day. My body was tired. My brain was more focused on attaining the final move than making sure every step along the way was perfect.
My knee hook slipped, and before I knew it, I was falling.
I hit the floor head-first, and though I immediately sat up, there was a lump the size of a small apple on my head. The pole instructor was so worried, she immediately took me to a hospital on the other side of the road. The doctors insisted on a CT scan and a 5-day painkiller prescription.
I got back home in pain, but my heart was filled with gratitude.
Looking back at the situation surrounding my fall, I knew things could have been much worse. I’ve read stories of people whose pole injuries left them paralyzed for life.
I could have been one of them, but I was lucky.
This incident taught me some important lessons:
- No matter how confident you feel, always use a crash mat, especially while performing inversions.
- Train only for one hour, and never attempt complicated moves when you’re tired.
- When your instructor asks you to cool down, listen to her.
- New moves take time to perfect. Just because you’ve done it once doesn’t mean you’re an expert. Take it slow, and always have someone nearby to spot you.
- Use your brain. Think about which limb needs to hook and how your body weight needs to be distributed when you try a new move. Be mindful of the various steps involved in attempting a new move.
After this accident, I was (still am) scared of attempting inversions.
But thankfully, pole dancing is such an art form where there are multiple complicated moves you can try without having to hang upside down.
I’ve gotten over my fear of climbing, and have embraced the fact that it’s okay to give my body some time.
I’m now more focused on getting the technique right and perfecting my hooks before I attempt any new complicated move.
I know this journey hasn’t been perfect, but it has given me more than I could have ever asked for. It’s a perfect excuse to get my body toned, build strength and confidence, and feel amazing.
Final words: Is pole dancing for everybody?
Yes, pole dancing is an art form that builds strength, improves flexibility and coordination, and helps you lose weight and gain confidence.
Any person looking to explore a new fitness form can try it to reap incredible rewards.
After five months of consistently showing up at the pole studio, I finally have the answers to the questions that bothered me at the start of this journey —
- You don’t need to be fit or flexible to start pole dancing. All you need is determination, and as you continue your journey, you’ll build strength and confidence along the way.
- I’ve seen women in their 60s who have grandchildren excel at the pole. 30 is nothing. Age is just a number.
- It doesn’t matter what the world thinks. The people who matter will always support you. And if they don’t, that’s okay as well. Sometimes, we need to do things purely for ourselves. It might sound selfish, but it’s an important step toward taking care of yourself and your health.
I hope my journey of pole dancing inspired you to try this exotic art form. If you’re lucky enough that your city has a pole studio, definitely book a demo class to sate your curiosity. If you have any questions regarding the pole or my journey, feel free to leave a comment below.
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