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Tying it together

At today’s Lyra class, we worked on tying our tricks together and smoothing out our transitions – something important for pole, too! I’m still working on making combos mesh well and smoothing out the moments between tricks so that I get rid of the awkward, “okay, now I’m gonna do a trick” pause.

With Lyra, it feels like I know a lot of tricks for someone who started 2 months ago, but I don’t yet know how to full incorporate all of them. If I mount one way, I can get into this trick and that trick, but I haven’t figured out how to get back around to do these other three tricks, and then if I mount this other way…yeah, it goes on. So, in today’s class, Leigh had us working on transitions within a specific series of tricks off of the Mermaid. We had the option of taping ourselves, so we could learn a little more – video below! – and we also had to work in pairs at the end! She had us pair up to choreograph our movements – again, doing the same specific movements, but we could add more if we both knew how to do them – and then having to sync our movements while performing on different hoops. It was an interesting exercise! We also worked on center straddle mounts – Leigh makes it look so easy and stunning, but damn, it’s hard! I’d venture to say that it’s harder than straight leg inverts on the pole, but that’s also not my strong suit (still tweaks my back a bit). I was able to do the straddle mount better on the shorter hoop, so I ended up practicing more on that one. We did a fair amount of conditioning for that mount, so I am hopeful to get to continue and improve!

Anyway, here’s my video from today’s class – I’ve already launched up to mount the hoop when it starts, but you’ll see Leigh spin me – she wanted us to all work while the hoops were spinning, so she gave us each a spin just after we inverted. It’s such a challenge when spinning, and I had a momentary panic attack about getting dizzy, but the moment I focused very intently on what trick I was doing and where my hands needed to be, I was able to work through the spinning and not get dizzy – I’m still working on that with spinning pole!!!

Also, a couple of videos of Leigh, because she’s awesome:

This is her performance from CPDC 2012, which I loved:

Lyra: secret cross-training

I was back in my regular Lyra class today, and it got me thinking about the benefits of picking up a second aerial art. Pole is hard on the body. It’s a beautiful sport, but it’s not an EASY sport – the bruises, the conditioning required, the knots you get in your shoulders once you start inverting regularly and going aerial…it’s not gentle. So, adding a second form of aerial seems insane. More pain? More bruising? More stiff muscles? And, with Lyra, you add in occasional scrapes from the hoop, plus terrible calluses – it’s on par with when I started using the 45mm pole more often, but almost worse, because your hands are not only callused, but rubbed raw all over.

Now, I don’t tell you this to dissuade you – because I LOVE Lyra. It has given me more than I expected. For one, it renewed my love for pole and my interest in pole. For a while, I felt like I had plateaued in pole – I was working the same tricks over and over, trying to get them solid, but not feeling like I had clear progress from week to week. Was I better than I was a year ago? Yes, for sure. But even six months ago? I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t loving the process of learning anything. I just wanted to get to the next level. I think plateaus are pretty common – it certainly wasn’t my first with pole.

Cut to Lyra. I found myself LOVING the process of learning (which I found carried over to my stretch and flex class, too – the ridiculous smile I have on my face when I’m in there – that is, when I’m not in pain – is hilarious). I loved that the conditioning from pole helped to make me better. I loved that things just made sense to me. I loved the feeling of success that came with it – the feeling of getting a trick again!

All of that happiness while learning was something that I brought back into pole, and I think it has re-energized me. I’m happier in class, I’m more interested in learning new tricks, and I walk away from class with a higher level of satisfaction. I really believe that I owe that to Lyra.

In addition to the mood and outlook changes, Lyra has also helped to cross-condition me. I started the classes while still healing from my dog bite injury from my day job, and it accelerated my ability to use my left hand in the old ways. I still have some lingering pain or weakness, but overall, it’s great. The grip required for Lyra is different from pole, and there is often less direct pressure placed on the hand, but the strength of grip is better – because the hoop is smaller than the pole, the grip required causes my hand to contract in a way that strengthened it faster. It’s been great.
Lyra has also really helped improve my back and shoulder strength. Prior to the classes, I had a lot of issues with straight leg inverts – my back would tweak whenever I did certain tricks, and I would abort the mission for fear of hurting myself. Since starting Lyra – and getting a pull up bar to do Lyra shoulder shrug conditioning at home – my back is A LOT better. I try to do shoulder shrugs every night, to help with it. The added strength has helped me with going aerial. I’m still not 100% solid, but I’m noticeably better than I was two months ago.

I look forward to seeing what else it holds for me. If I can muster my discipline (oh, to have it…it’s not my strong suit) and be diligent about working on my flexibility, I hope it’ll help me advance in both pole and Lyra. 🙂 In the meantime, I’ll keep happily trying new tricks – and, of course, taking photos whenever possible.

In these photos, I’m wearing the sexy tank from our Poleitical Clothing collection – it was great for the class! It stayed in place well, even during inversions, and the length kept my tummy covered for photos. 🙂

Burn

Recently, I’ve been tracking my diet and exercise with the MyFitnessPal app (HaloFive00 if anyone wants to be my pal!), and every time I have to enter a pole class in the exercise portion, I’m stumped. Is it closest to Yoga? Pilates? Dance? Calisthenics? How do I choose which exercise fits best, and therefore, get an accurate count on calories burned? The same is true for lyra – and even my stretching class, because let’s face it, I am a sweaty mess afterward, so I know I’m working SOMETHING off.

I did some research over the last few days, looking up and comparing a few different exercise trackers, like the Fitbit and the Nike+ Fuelband. I was set to buy the Fitbit, because I liked that it has a function that will track your sleeping habits (i.e. how many times you wake up through the night), and it syncs with MyFitnessPal – it also has MUCH higher reviews on Amazon than the Nike+ Fuelband (a helpful comparison can be found here). But, after digging a little more, I realized that both units have the same issue – they don’t read movement other than walking/running/stepping very well. There were complaints on both sides about the inaccuracies of the reads, although Fitbit allows you to input your own data on their site.

As a result, I did research on heart rate monitors, thinking that might be the best way to gauge what I am doing in classes. I found one on Amazon with a stellar rating and read the reviews – more than a few mentioned that the users wore the monitor in a variety of classes (spin, Zumba), and that it did well in those environments. So, I opted to purchase it! If you’re interested, the model is the Polar Ft40F Women’s Heart Rate Monitor Watch (in white). I will keep you posted on what my totals are once I receive it and get it set up!

Off to pole later today, but had two great lyra classes this weekend. Friday’s was more intense (only 2 students in the class, so ton of time on the hoop and new tricks learned) – Sunday’s was fun, and I learned a Russian Roll, which I found really fun, although tricky with my wrists. One poor girl in my class ended up being terrified by it – I felt so bad for her. It’s an odd trick, that’s for sure. But, I did pretty well with it, and I’m looking forward to getting used to it/improving it! Sadly, I did not get any video of it, nor many photos of my new tricks, but I do have a couple to share:

You like me! I like lyra! Everyone likes The Last Goodbye!

Well, somebody likes me! A very special thank you to Pole Moves for including my blog on their list of Pole Dance Websites. It’s nice to feel the love! And, thank you to anyone who submitted me for the list! I went to submit myself and found out that they already had me down! *blush*

If you haven’t seen this video yet, it’s been making the rounds, and it is GORGEOUS. I was a little thrown by the editing at first – not used to seeing a performance edited – but it quickly won me over, not only for the sheer beauty of the dance, but also because I love the storytelling aspect of it. Coming from acting, it’s something I really appreciated and enjoyed about the clip. Huge fan of this creation – I have no idea how many times I’ve watched it, but the song is now downloaded, and I’ve sent the video to Drea for trick breakdowns. 🙂

Stunning, yes? I adore Marlo. I had never seen Kyle before, but he’s wonderful.

Been back at it in my own class, doing some review (thanks for the bruises, Teddy Bear), as well as working on some newer stuff – we learned a spin that was spotted in an Oona routine, which I shocked myself by getting fairly quickly, even if I’m not quite as graceful about as Oona. 🙂 Keeping up the work on my aerial…slowly, but surely…and working on my reverse shoulder mount. My regular shoulder mount seems to have up and left me, which I’ll post about soon. I have stretch & flex class tonight, and two lyra classes over the weekend, then pole and stretch & flex next week…then, vacation! Hrm, maybe I can get a decent urban pole photo while I am gone!

My pole-related business venture is inching closer to fruition – I promise to post all of the info as soon as we’re set up! I was also convinced to start work on a creative endeavor related to pole, so once I have more done on that, I’ll share some specifics!

And, finally, some photos from my last lyra class – I am loving it! I can tell that it’s helping cross-condition me, too! Certain pole stuff has been smoother for me, and in general, I’m a little more interested in trying things than I was for the past few months (pole plateau, anyone?). I need to get some new pole pics, but never seem to get around to it. 🙂

Lyra: Hoop Dreams

I took my first Lyra (aerial hoop) class today, at Evolve Dance Studio! It was fun! My pole training comes in handy in terms of the strength and muscle memory, but it is still tough! A lot of upper body strength (at least, it was for me, being new), and you need strong abs for control. I learned how to get up into the hoop (still working on how to do that gracefully!), plus some basic tricks: stag, mermaid, drapey mermaid, and a move whose name I forgot, but it involves using one foot to “stand” on the hoop – you really end up hanging from the top of the hoop (using your hands/arms) and have one foot pushing the hoop away, with your legs sort of extended into a split, so the back leg is hanging down. At any rate, it was a ton of fun, but definitely taxed my hands – need major calluses! My grip was okay – I had to rub my arms out on a nearby pole during my down time, to be able to continue, but it worked. My left hand still isn’t at full strength, but the right felt good being my strong arm for this apparatus! I need better conditioning for some of it, but by the end of the hour, I was able to get up and tie together all of the moves I had learned, and flow through them reasonably well – that was fun!

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