Ms. Infinity had the privilege of interviewing Pole Instructor of the Year nominee, KB.
Hear from the woman herself…!
When did you start doing pole and why?
I started poling about eleven and a half years ago, about six months after having my youngest child. I was actually quite ill after having the third of my children – I developed a heart arrhythmia and was told by the cardiac team to take part in regular exercise. I tried the gym and hated it! Even two minutes on the treadmill was a challenge. After two weeks I ditched the gym. Someone advised me to try pole fitness. My first thoughts were, ‘No way! It’s not my thing.’ Curiosity got the better of me though and I ventured to a beginners’ class. (This was after being shocked and terrified at the vision of a student hanging upside down when I arrived at the studio to pay a deposit.) I tentatively, my mind still filled with doubt, attended my first class… and I was hooked! I didn’t know anyone and therefore didn’t feel that I needed to keep up and wasn’t comparing myself to others. Seriously, I was useless when I started! When I got off the ground, finally, after eight weeks and accomplished the merry-go-round, I was over the moon! I progressed through the levels and there was no going back!
How do you respond when people negatively judge pole fitness/ dance?
Come and try it! You should not judge anything until you try for yourself. Anyone who casts negative aspersions, usually has an issue themselves, rather than the other way around. What gives anyone the right to judge when this is an activity with so many positive benefits and outcomes?
What advice would you give to someone just beginning their pole journey?
First and foremost, believe in yourself. Equally, do not compare yourself to others. Every journey is completely unique. Also, do not over-think – let those negative thoughts go. Part of the pole experience is developing perseverance and patience. You will succeed – it just may not conform with others in your class or your friends.
What are the benefits of pole?
The benefits are endless. There are various aspects with regards the positive outcomes: The physical; psychological and social. Pole fitness can aid with chronic pain and can help to loosen muscles. Pole students find that their body becomes fitter, stronger and more toned. Furthermore, once you begin to see these positive changes in your body, this encourages improved self-care, looking after yourself and general well-being. Obviously, a positive cycle is created – wanting to look after your body and mind even more. As if that’s not enough, additional positives include developing confidence and self-esteem; reducing anxiety; lifting mood; reducing social fears and encouraging Mindfulness. Once you develop this confidence, you may even take part in a show (Pole Infinity has organised many charity shows over the years)! What a fantastic buzz you get after a performance! Life is about creating memories, and what a memory this would provide! Pole really can change your life. I can’t imagine another hobby, sport or form of fitness that is so empowering.
How is Pole Infinity different? What is its ethos?
Well, its ethos is definitely one which promotes confidence, self-esteem and empowerment. Not everyone has an easy life journey, but everyone can change and you’ve got to start somewhere. Therefore, we provide a happy, welcoming and non-judgemental environment. I can’t imagine any other studio has, as its co-owner and instructor, a qualified and experienced CBT Therapist – this allows for a stronger awareness in adopting a mental health and psychological approach. Part of this is derived from the importance we place on taking photographs. When ladies see a picture of themselves in a pose or move, they often can’t believe that it is them. It is such a self-esteem boost. Unfortunately, in this social media-driven society, many, especially females, compare themselves to photos on Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook. Your Pole Infinity photo proves how beautiful you really are and the amazing things your body is capable of. I think this shows how we go the extra mile – often staying in the studio after hours to ensure students have lovely mementos and experiences. We know our pupils have caught the Pole Infinity bug when hair gets bigger, heels get higher and clothes get… well… less!
Clearly, the Recovery Programme makes Pole Infinity distinct from anywhere else. Women, of all ages, are not only provided with the tools and resources to help them through life’s challenges, but can put these into practice via the pole class. During the twelve-week programmes, I have witnessed massive differences in those who attend.
In terms of the Pole Infinity and Beyond Gravity Yoga team, our instructors are selected due to their nature, personality and ability in motivating their students – this is crucial as part of the Studio’s successful magic formula. Our instructors know how important it is to make others feel confident and good about themselves. There is such camaraderie and support within the Studio – some students are even given opportunities to take on different roles, including being responsible for taking the perfect picture!
Due to our attitude of helping others, the Studio has held numerous charity events over the years, raising thousands of pounds for local causes. We also hold raffles, competitions and other giveaways!
The word ‘can’t’ is banned in the Studio! Students are encouraged to view difficult moves as challenges which can be achieved and over-come; this, in turn, transfers to everyday life – viewing difficulties as challenges as opposed to obstacles.
Why do you think the Recovery Programmes etc. have been so successful?
The Recovery Programme obviously provides a unique and innovative approach to help participants put their theoretical knowledge and skills into practice. This learning of CBT psychological tools, to overcome various mental health difficulties, enables students to engage fully, taking a mindful attitude when they participate in pole class (and beyond!) When our fabulous ladies achieve a move, this creates such a buzz, encouraging the students to believe in themselves. I know that if you want to make a change, you have to take the first step and start somewhere – for many, Pole Infinity provides that first step (or spin!) Soon after joining the Recovery Programme or another class, the students realise that no one actually cares about what you’re wearing, what your body looks like or how fit you are; there is no judgement so the self-conscious veil drops. The Recovery Programme teaches that nobody is perfect (even though it is sometimes portrayed that way online). What is important is that, just as we are all individual and different, so are the classes at Pole Infinity and Beyond Gravity Yoga. One thing is for sure: You will not get bored!
What is the future of Pole Infinity?
World domination! Who knows!? More of the same?! Impact… Whatever happens, I want to have an impact – on people, the community, the pole world, fitness, health and well-being… The fact that we have had interest from the United Pole Artists, demonstrates how forward-thinking we are. I would like those who cross our threshold to experience pole as, not just a hobby or type of dance, but something life-changing. I am confident that we have already changed the lives of several of our students (some of whom have received interest from the local and national press). There is no doubt that we stand out as a fitness studio, but there is potential to be even bigger and better! We might be a relatively small studio, but, as we know: size doesn’t matter!