Fitness Focus – Pole Dancing

Welcome to the first in the series of Fitness Focus posts. Being active in your life is so important in maintaining a healthful balance. Personally I just cannot hack gym workouts. They bore me and I hate waiting around for machines. I prefer more ‘fun’ types of exercise, that doesn’t feel like you’re ‘in training.’

Today I am introducing you to Pole Dancing or Pole Fitness. It is so much fun and an awesome all body workout. I know the term Pole Dancing conjures up visuals of sleazy men’s clubs, sticky floors, naked dancers and dollar bills. Participating in Pole dancing for fitness you get to keep your clothes on. Until you  voluntarily strip down after a few sessions when you’re very sweaty after the warm up and figure out the smaller the shorts = all the better to grip with.

I’m so excited to share this interview with you staring my own ‘pole-spiration’ and friend Helgi. After seeing these amazing photos pop up on Facebook I was super inspired to give Pole a go and booked into a six-week beginner course. Enjoy!

How did you discover Pole Dancing & what inspired you too give it a try?

– I had a few friends who were doing it, and they couldn’t stop raving about how much fun they were having while getting a great workout.

Tell us about your first class? Was it love at first spin or a battle to go back?

–  I was hooked instantly! As soon as I saw some of the more advanced girls practice, I couldn’t wait to learn those tricks and dance like them.

How long have you been dancing for now & how often do you practice?

– About a year now. Our studio closed down in December, so I haven’t been practicing as often as I used to. Ideally I try to practice several times a week on the pole, and have 1 or 2 good stretch sessions as well. 

What is your favourite move & how long did it take you to master it?

 – Probably my Gemini to Scorpio leg switches. It only took a few sessions to get it down, but now the challenge is doing it with the pole in spinning mode!

What is your most challenging move?

– Right now either my Aisha/ Candlestick ( it takes a lot of shoulder strength!) Or my Jade splits- Still working on flexibility!

How does pole dancing make you feel, what makes you keep coming back for more?

– Pole dancing makes me feel strong, powerful, graceful, sexy, inspired, sometimes frustrated, but always wanting to learn more, get better and master that next move.

Have you noticed a difference to you health, body shape, mental wellbeing since making Pole Dancing a regular part of your fitness routine?

Absolutely! Pole dancing is so much fun, you don’t realize how much of a workout you are getting at the time, but I have noticed a huge difference in my upper body, leg and core strength, overall body shape and flexibility. It is also a great stress reliever,  which I’m sure is true for any type of dance, but you can really put all your emotions into it, it’s very cathartic.

Do you do any other sports or activities? Has your performance been improved since you started pole dancing?

I have been horseback riding since I was 8 or 9 years old,  and I had previously considered myself to be a pretty fit person, but  Pole has made me stronger and fitter than I ever thought possible. The flexibility needed has also really helped improve my riding, as horseback riders can tend to get pretty stuck, especially through their hips and back.

What are your future plans for pole dancing?

Keep learning and improving, taking online lessons with my coach, Kristy, who lives in LA. Continue trying to get together with friends for regular Pole Jams, and keep trying to get those damn splits!

What advice would you give to a pole newbie interested in taking a class/beginners course?

  • Check out a few places before you decide where to enroll. There are lots of different teaching styles out there, and you should feel comfortable with the teacher, and the studio. Ask about what moves you will be learning and if the teacher is certified through a pole organization. Pole can be dangerous if the teacher does not take the time to give you good solid basics before moving on to harder moves. If they are expecting you to invert ( go upside down) in the first few classes, you could hurt yourself. On the flip side, if you are only learning one or 2 moves per class, you might find yourself getting bored. Find a studio/ teacher that seems right for you.
  • Expect to feel a little silly the first time you try. Once you get comfortable that awkwardness will go away and you will be feeling strong and sexy in no time!
  • Be prepared for bruises. The pole is metal. You are not. Expect some pain and bruising to happen as you learn new moves. You will learn to wear you bruises with pride, as they are evidence you mastered that new trick.
  • You may get hooked. Many start out thinking pole will be a once- per –week addition to their fitness routine. Next thing they know, they have a pole in their living room, and  have given up their day job to open a studio. Once you realise how amazing pole makes you feel, it must become a very important part of you life, I know it did for me.

Thank you for sharing Helgi! Who wants to get their spin on now? Hot pants optional. 

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©Seren Holistic Lifestyles Blog 2013

(please share the love with full credit thanks)

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©Seren Holistic Lifestyles Blog 2013

(please share the love with full credit thanks)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyone in Perth, WA looking to give Pole a whirl I completed the six weeks beginners course at the She Moves studio in Joondalup (3 studios in total across the city). A very professional set up, safety cues & injury check up’s at the start of each class, great instructors and as Helgi mentions there are no inversions until the Intermediate course. This can only be taken after the Beginners. On completion of the course you qualify to join in the weekly casual ‘Smoulder and Spin’ class that incorporates most of the beginner spins in a one-hour, pre choreographed class. Be prepared for bruising and feeling totally silly to start out, with moves like ‘stripper push ups’ & ‘the sexy frog’ you can’t but laugh (& twirl) you’re way to fitness.

Love & light,

Seren xx

Clock Eaters

How many of you have been asked “are you hungry?” and immediately looked at your watch, clock or other time revealing object? Yes, me! I used to be such ‘clock eater.’ Sounds a bit strange that term doesn’t it? Images of a clock sat on a dinner plate ready for you to chow down on. I was even told off for it by a friend when I looked at my watch when asked if I was hungry, “why did you look at your watch, that’s not your stomach”.

It’s such a part of our society to eat at regular times. Growing up our evening meal was always served at 5pm. (I still believe it is now) Sunday lunch was every Sunday without fail at 1pm, no excuses you had to be there. My partners’ factory has set smoko and lunch times. Schools are the same. Breaks and lunch at the same time every day. Very regimented. I do understand school’s have a schedule to keep, would be mayhem if 300+ children took their lunch at different times of the day.

We are so conditioned to eat ‘on time’ & ‘by the clock.’ It’s instilled into us, it’s a part of life but does it have to be? There are many other factors that cause us to eat but I’m just going to focus on the concept of ‘eating by the clock’ in this post.

I was part of that clock eating gang. I used to look at my watch first when food thoughts appeared because if it was too early to eat lunch I’d panic I’d be hungry too soon again before dinner and need a snack. Where would I be, would I be able to access a snack later on? Fear. It all came down to fear with me. Scared I’d be left hungry and then be over come with that horrid feeling of sickness that can happen if you’re over hungry. Always eating to stay ahead of the game or the hunger. The hunger game!

Many diets tell us to eat lots of small meals and snacks during the day to keep our energy levels up. This makes sense, some people need to follow this plan, but if you’re not actually hungry do you actually need this constant supply of food? Eating ‘just in case.’

Gradually over the years and even more so now that I am more in tune with my body, I’ve stopped clock eating. I let my body tell me if I need nourishment by stopping & listen to it. When you are properly hungry, your stomach feels empty, it’s churning, you start to fatigue. Then it’s obvious you need to eat!!! It’s those times in between or when you look at the clock & it’s ‘lunch time’ so you might as well go eat. That’s when you need to tune in.

When I start to think about food, usually when triggered by external factors, I ask myself – am I hungry? Do I just need more water? Thirst can easily be mistaken for hunger. Am I just thinking about food because what time it is? It takes practice to listen to your body. Especially as your head, the ego will often jump in as it does and tell you something different. Fear is manifested by the head/ego. Your soul, your heart, inside, that will tell you the truth & what you really need. It won’t lie to you.

How do you listen to yourself? Simple, stop what you’re doing. Move away from any distractions, look away from your computer screen, go outside, focus on the wall, anything. Breathe deeply and ask the question. “Am I hungry?” The answer may take a while to come. You may get this answer in a different ways. Your ‘inner voice’ may whisper ‘yes’. A visual picture may appear in your minds eye – a piece of fruit, a glass of water, go for a walk. You may get a sensory message through your nose. If you’re not meant to eat this smell may be off putting, or you may smell something delicious. Lastly you may physically manifest the answer, the obvious grumble in your stomach or simply nothing. If you get nothing at all that may be your answer – no you are not hungry.

I now eat when I am physically hungry or signalled by my inner self. Yes this means eating outside of the ‘normal times.’ For example I start my day with a vegetable juice & green supplement about 6am. I then hungry for breakfast at 10am, lunch maybe around 3pm. Lunch is my main meal, I eat the most food at lunch time as I need the energy to get me through the rest of the day. Often if I’m working a late shift then I don’t feel hungry enough to eat at 10pm (not good to sleep on a full stomach) when I return home, so I don’t. If I am signaled to eat I do, usually something light.

Then I start again the next day. I let go of the fear thinking ‘I didn’t eat a ‘proper’ meal last night so I need to make up for it this morning with a full breakfast.’ I forget what happened the day before, this is a new day, and what do I need right now today is the only thought I think of. Staying present and living in the moment. I feel healthier, leaner and cleaner. I never stress about calories, cravings or hunger pangs for this way of eating suits me as it comes from within ME.

Everyone is different. Some of you may read this & think I’m totally wacked. Not a problem! It is your life, your body, listen to it, it is right there to guide you when you are ready.

Bon appetite!

Love & light

Seren xx

 

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©Seren Holistic Lifestyles Blog 2013

(please share the love with full credit thanks)

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©Seren Holistic Lifestyles Blog 2013

(please share the love with full credit thanks)

Travelling Alone is FUN!

Travel is a huge part of who I am. I need to travel often or else I get stale and lack inspiration. I love going to new places, new countries, and meeting people from different places and experiencing what is out there beyond my back yard. I didn’t start my travel adventures outside of my home country or Europe till I was twenty-two. Then there was no stopping me!

I have been fortunate to have friends and a partner who also share my passion for travel. However sometimes no one is available due to annual leave, money & not actually wanting to go where I do. Instead of giving up on my dream I go by myself.

It is scary and some people find it too terrifying to travel solo, especially if you’re female. It doesn’t have to be. With a bit of planning and research it can take the fear out of travelling alone. There are numerous global tour agencies that now specialise in solo travel for all ages. You’re never really ‘alone,’ unless you want to be!

The Internet has made planning so simple. Google map’s can zoom in with a satellite image so you can get a good look at a place without actually being there. There are reviews, tips, pictures, itineraries and tour groups all waiting for you to discover them.

I’ve done plenty of solo travel over the years. The first time I jumped on a plane by myself was exhilarating and liberating. I was only going 50 minutes from London to Edinburgh. All the way I was thinking “look at me on a plane by MYSELF!” Four years later I was on a 24-hour flight to Australia alone, turning up in Sydney with my backpack thinking “now what?!”

My last solo trip was a few weeks ago. There was a yoga seminar in Melbourne being hosted by Bikram’s wife Rajashree. I really wanted to go and instead of hunting around for a travel buddy I booked myself a flight, a room in the hotel where the seminar was being held and went alone. Too easy. I then decided to combine it with a trip to Adelaide on the way back for a personal session with my Soul Mentor. Four days dedicated to doing something just for me, without worrying about accommodating anyone else. How good does that sound?

We spend too much time looking after other people and working around them to make things easy. This leads to your own needs being over looked or we miss out on doing things we truly want to do. It is NOT selfish at all to nourish yourself with some alone time. It is good for us. We serve others better when we have served ourselves first. If no one else wants to join you on your adventure, go by yourself.

I did my research before leaving. I had to negotiate transport from the airport to the city via bus, tram and a walk. It was all there on the Internet and I could book my bus ticket online. It had been eight years since I’d been to Melbourne and last time I drove there. I’ had a rough idea of the city but couldn’t really remember it. I booked my flights so I’d arrive well before dark as I didn’t want to be alone in a strange city at night. I knew if there were no nearby restaurants I could always eat in the hotel. If you don’t feel comfortable sitting alone in a restaurant, order to go or there’s always room service. Often when eating alone you attract other people who ask you to join them. If that’s creepy to you, simply decline & read a book.

On arriving in Adelaide I’d booked myself into a ‘treat’ hotel. The Stamford Grand in Glenelg is right on the beachfront in a cosmopolitan small suburb. A taxi from the airport was safe and easy. They have a concierge service that puts you in properly licensed cars. I Googled ahead and had a rough estimate of how much it would cost so they’d be no surprises.

I had a fab time! Walking on the beach before sunset, eating fresh organic pizza and soaking in a long, hot bubble bath. Finally curling up for an early night with Dirty Dancing on TV and my favourite sparkling water (yes water!). I was so relaxed I woke up hours before my alarm for a really long morning walk along the sea front, followed by another bubble bath. I got the hotel to sort me out a taxi and called into Bakers Delight for a fresh Cheesimite scroll for breakfast. (Solo travel does not need to be expensive) All this topped off with an amazing energy healing before jumping on my third and final flight home.

I only took hand luggage with me. Simple, light and no waiting at carousels. All my check in’s were done on my smart phone. No faffing around with paper boarding passes or check in lines. I just had to make sure I had enough battery by the time I got to the gate. Watch out that free Wi-Fi sucks the battery life.

At no time did I feel scared or unsafe. Everything was planned transport wise. I’d researched a few places to eat but this can always change, which it did. Once you get somewhere & have a look around you discover so much more. That’s part of the excitement. It was a treat to just curl up and watch movies that are always available on free view in most hotels. I really embraced having time for me without any distractions. I got so much writing & reading done. I came home so chilled and ready to get things started with this blog it was just what I needed.

Don’t be scared, if there’s somewhere you want to go, something only you want to do go do it!!! Why wait.

Happy travels & safe,

Seren xx

 

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©Seren Holistic Lifestyles Blog 2013

(please share the love with full credit thanks)

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©Seren Holistic Lifestyles Blog 2013

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Crystal Healing – Blue Apatite

I’m very excited to introduce you too crystal of the week. Blue Apatite is a very positive crystal with multiple uses. I was attracted to it primarily for it’s association with the Throat Chakra to enhance communications. My part job as Bikram Yoga teacher requires me to pretty much talk non-stop for 90 minutes. Any help I can get in assisting the words to flow is greatly appreciated.

My first piece of Blue Apatite I used to tuck into my pocket and carry around with me. This causes all sorts of problems especially when you forget it’s there and it falls out on the floor or worse, goes through the wash. Ideally Apatite should be worn against the skin, especially over the throat chakra to improve communications. Then I got the idea I should purchase a Blue Apatite pendant.

I don’t usually like buying crystals online, I like to pick them up & feel if they are a good fit. Connect with them and let them choose me. You don’t know for sure how they have been mined either online. I tried the local crystal shops but nothing grabbed me so I hit up Etsy. I like supporting small business artisans and the pieces on there I felt were made with love, and not mass-produced in factories.

I found it! The pendant I knew should be mine. It was set on a silver bail reminiscent of a Celtic knot with a neoprene cord. Perfect for the hot room, neoprene won’t go skanky when soaked in sweat. A stunning piece, had crafted by Charlotte Taylor.

Blue Apatite isn’t just for communications it enhances creativity and awakens the inner self. If attuned to the third eye it can improve concentration. A good piece to have if you’re studying. Another handy benefit, if made into an elixir (watch this space more on elixirs later in the series!) can help suppress hunger.

I got rather attached to my Apatite. I think at one point I was wearing it a lot for teaching. Just like a security blanket. You never want to get too dependent on anything this can cause all sorts problems. My Apatite had a great way of letting me know this. When I was carrying out over the tile floor for it’s monthly cleanse, it slipped and fell. On the tiles. A small piece broke of one of the edges. I was gutted. Can you imagine if the whole pendant has smashed? It was telling me I’d become attached & I needed to let it breathe for a while.

Now I rarely wear it to teach. I feel I have good balance between my third eye and throat chakras. I wear it whenever I feel drawn to it. It’s an awesome piece to draw creative inspiration that helps in my main day job. I make sure it is fully secure before travelling over the tiles!

  • Chakra: Throat & 3rd Eye
  • Vibration: 9
  • Colour: Blue, grey, green, grey, yellow
  • Family: Apatite
  • Birthstone: February & March
  • Metaphysical: Balancing, creativity, healing, peace & eliminates negativity. Good for communication, clarity & intellect
  • Physical: Suppresses appetite
  • Spiritual: Manifesting, meditation, psychic development & releases blockages.

Love & light,

Seren xx

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Reference for pendant artist:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/CharlotteTyler?page=1

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