Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I lost flexibility! Now what?

So you've been working hard at getting crazy flexy when life happens. Suddenly there is no time for stretching, or you have health issues, or just plain old fall off the wagon. Lost splits, back flexibility--it happens. But now what?

 It's time to find motivation again. 

 For some people, this might mean watching videos of your favorite muses or searching flexy pictures. Maybe you just need to listen to the right music, like the songs your favorite flexible dancers perform to. For me it is most helpful to combine those ideas with scheduling time to stretch. Just do it. Stretching for the sake of repeating tried-and-true stretches and for that happy, good stretching pain.

Don't look back.
The splits I could get before,
without a proper warmup.
Taken in chat (hence mess + blurriness)
This is horrible for me since I have a couple fuzzy pictures of myself in my front

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Weekend Crush: Oona Kivela

Upbeat, athletic movement defines Oona from her bouncy, center-of-the-head pony tail to her emphatically pointed feet. We love Oona because she is perky--and gravity defying!

Oona started her fitness journey very early in life: she was nine-years-old when she started gymnastics. Hold on. As someone who found her fitness/pole journey comparatively later in life, this can be intimidating. Following the advice of one of my favorite muses let's just ooh and ahh and be inspired to dabble in a few gymnastics moves. After all, small steps are what build up to greatness of Oona proportions :D

Monday, June 17, 2013

So Dancers are NOT Athletes?

I was watching an episode of Rizzoli and Isles when Frost makes a comment about contemporary dancers not being athletes! Rizzoli, who studied ballet as a child, says they are just as athletic as figure skaters--prompting an eyebrow raise from Frost. He affirms, however, that golfers and even bowlers are athletes.  I love Rizzoli's response: she says something like, "but a ten year old with a six pack is not an athlete??"

So dancers are not athletes??

Ballerinas, for example, devote their lives from a young age to ballet, building incredible strength, flexibility, and agility. It is a physically demanding undertaking, altering (disfiguring) their feet and subjecting them to serious injury. Those airy leaps? They take immense muscular strength and control. Not just anyone has the persistence and dedication ballet takes--which make it sound suspiciously like a sport, doesn't it?

"Kelli" (c) mkd.
Used under Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution License
Figure skaters, especially with the change in the scoring system, are required to perform athletic leaps and present program elements such as complex footwork sequences. Anyone who says figure skating is not athletic need only check out the muscle tone on then nearest figure skater. Have you ever seen a figure skater without incredible abs?

I get as tired as a piece of lettuce in the sun from hearing that pole dance is not athletic. Some spiritual yoga article or a person hearing about pole dance for the first time (for the first time out of the context of some sleazy show) is always making some comment about "draping on a pole."

But what does "athlete" imply?

To some degree, maybe we don't want to be called athletes. Take a look at how figure skating has changed since the scoring system went from a more qualitative system to a rigid quantitative system requiring certain jumps--some would argue (like me) that it has taken some of the art out of skating. I have heard some talk among pole dancers that the scoring systems are changing in pole as well, and in the same direction. When a dancer or figure skater has to fill a time slot performing almost entirely acrobatic stunts, when can she or he fit in the art? When does it go from an artistic sport to a twitchy, trickster display?

To me the answer is that we can be athletic and also be dancers. It's about recognition. We know our dance is special, emotional--and yes, athletic. It would just be nice to hear it too, rather than be looked down on. In the end all we can do is believe in ourselves and in each other and let the world decide to catch up.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A cup for WHERE? Menstrual cups: a different solution

Years ago when I was a senior in high school I was browsing the internet for freebies, particularly free pad and tampon samples. I ran across menstrual cups in my pursuit of savings; I hated seeing how much hard-earned money went into that time of the month. Back then I only found cups around $40-$50--a steep investment for a college-bound high school student with no after-school job.

Even though it was super pricey I spent hours watching all the YouTube videos. If you've tried cups or at least looked into them, you know what I mean. There is literally a plethora of videos out there. Happy cup owners promote them for the convenience, cost-effectiveness, environmental benefits, and sometimes just because it is a neat idea. Some women might be squeamish but there are those of us who are too curious about the complexities of the female body to worry about a little blood. Flash forward years later with more affordable options and here I am getting my first cup!

Hold on, what is a cup anyways?