Do y’all remember when bearing your mid-drift was a thing? Like, when everyone, and I mean everyone, had one of those sparkly god awful tops from the Limited Too? Don’t get me wrong, I love 90′s fashion; but I would personally pay out every single influential gay fashionista to keep that trend dead, gone, and out of vogue. Seriously. My little tum tum is happier when she’s covered, please and thank you.
Believe it or not, this “ism” that I have with my torso has nothing to do with size or body fat composition. I honestly feel vulnerable and defenseless whenever my little miss belly is out to play. According to Hinduism, the belly is the epicenter of the solar plexus chakra, or the manipura. While the manipura deals mostly with survival issues, it also is where we store our self worth and confidence. Think about it, people who are confident often walk with their cores open and exposed, while those who are riddled with self doubt tend to cower to protect their centers.
Obviously, this is an issue for me in my pole classes. Just like there’s no crying in baseball; there is absolutely no slouching in pole dancing. In fact, boys and girls, there is a simple pose that we do everyday in class to combat this bendy-over energy. And, everyday, when asked to assume the position, you can hear a gentle “fuuuuuck” coming from my direction. Its called Picasso’s Arch. And I fucking hate it. See below.
Ugh, its terrible! Its all “hey, why don’t you just bend in the one direction you weren’t ever supposed to go in…ever,” and I’m all like “nah man, I’m good. Efff off..” (Obviously, I have a very deep and complex inner life. But, I digress) Whenever I sit in this simple backwards fold, feelings of fear and doubt rise to the surface of my psyche and I go from zero to bitchy in 2.2 seconds flat. I made the mistake of telling one of my teachers this one day during our warm up, and she lovingly made me stay in the pose for an entire minute. By the end of said minute, I was close to tears. She told me that my body was trying to tell me something. At that moment, I’m pretty sure my body was trying to tell me to cut a bitch, but I gently smiled and told her I’d meditate on it.
However, we all have these moments in the realm of fitness, don’t we? Whether it be lunges, burpees, or running a mile, there are certain movements that we naturally tend to resist. My dad is a basketball coach and is of the school of thought that we should push, push, push through the discomfort because it makes us stronger. While, I certainly agree with that sentiment, I think its also appropriate to take a little minute and examine why it makes you feel poorly. Our bodies are complex machines and we all know we store memories and emotions in a little pockets tucked away in muscle groups and joints. Also, our bodies are smarter than we think. When you’re sick, do you ever find yourself sleeping a little more than usual to fight off the illness? Or when you fall, do you ever immediately put out your arms for protection? These are instances in which the body speaks and the brain is silent. Perhaps, then, when we reach these “fuuuuuck” moments in our exercise, our bodies are trying to show us something.
Picasso’s Arch is all about exposing my most sensitive body part. When a dancer takes this pose, it makes such a statement. It’s as if she’s saying, “Boom. I’m here and I’m unashamed of my presence. I belong here.” After a lot of classes and a lot of frustration, I came to the conclusion that this was a mindset I had not yet accepted into my being. And, I’m not just talking about my time with the pole – I’m talking about living here in the City of Angels. This pose forces me to be unapologetic and bold. My discomfort with Picasso’s Arch in class stems from my inability to represent these ideals in my everyday life.
Woah. Shit just got real heavy. I know.
Right when I discovered this new factoid about myself, I watched Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on how body language shapes who we are. According to her study, when we assume “power positions” (i.e. postures that take up space) the testosterone levels in our bodies rises and our cortisol levels lower. These hormonal reactions provide our brains with the perfect chemical cocktail for creating confidence. Thus, when we marinate in poses, we become more powerful. We can literally fake it until we become it. I really encourage you to watch her talk if you have a free moment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks-_Mh1QhMc
So, y’all, Picasso’s Arch is my reluctant new best friend. I throw that pose in whenever I can, just so its boldness can seep into who I am as a person. I still hate the ever living hell out of it, but because it forces me to face my fears, I find I can execute much more technically difficult tricks with ease. See below. Oh haaaayyy…
Alright, happy Monday everyone. Let’s fake it till we become it! xx