Monday, September 30, 2013

What are menstrual cups made out of?

One of my biggest concerns when I first considered menstrual cups was what in the world are they made of? My interest was peaked when I learned they save a lot of money and are reusable. Being a poor college student and always without tampons or pads right when I needed them I was all for it that! But would they be safe? Comfortable? Leak-free?

Lunette cup in a "c fold"
Used with permission
Most of the brands out there are made of silicone. This is generally the same type of silicone used to make breast implants and with medical devices like pacemakers. They are relatively soft yet will mostly hold their shape. Silicone cups can be boiled to disinfect them and come in a few different colors that vary by brand (blue, orange, pink...). These are all manufacturered outside of the US.

Care: Rinse/wipe down when you empty it and wash with soap between uses; can be boiled.

Brands: Lunette, DivaCup, MoonCup UK

TPE - thermoplastic elastomers

Assortment of Meluna cups
Used with permission
TPE is a fancy name for a plastic blend used in everything from baby bottle nipples to medical devices. There is currently only one brand that makes cups with TPE: Meluna. I am partial to their extra sturdy cup, Meluna Sport, made to work with the stronger pelvic floor muscles of athletic women. They are medically approved in Europe and are currently unavailable in the US during the lengthy FDA approval process. 

Care: Rinse/wipe down when you empty it and wash with soap between uses; can be immersed in hot water to disinfect.

Brands: Meluna

Latex Rubber
Rubber Tree (c) Ken Doerr
CC Attribution 2.0 License
Rubber menstrual cups look like little toy plungers to me. Natural rubber tends to have a rubber smell so they are not for everyone. They are brown so they do not discolor and are the only cups made from a non-synthetic material. Of course anyone allergic to latex should choose a different material. The only cup actually manufactured in the US is the latex rubber Keeper.

Care: Rinse/wipe down when you empty it and wash with soap between uses; can be boiled.

Brands: Keeper

All cup types are made of medically approved materials and most are also FDA approved. (The FDA requires separate approval for the cups themselves. All menstrual products including tampons, pads, and menstrual cups are considered "medical devices.") If you are worried about trying out a menstrual cup based on material remember that many menstrual cup users end up with multiple cups for convenience.

Still have questions? Check out this particularly informative post by Aerial Hoopla.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Weekend Crush: Kenneth Kao, DC

He teaches Kung Fu, practices chiropractic medicine, and oh yeah, there's that bit where he jumped from one pole to another at this year's Pole Expo. If you are a pole dancer you have definitely heard the litany: Do NOT jump into moves! This is true for those of us that are risking injury by compensating a lack of strength with momentum--in his case his strength gives him the control to pull off such an insane move. Don't blink, it happens around 0:45. And yes, this is one of those video I recommend clicking the gear and choosing HD!

I found this awesome video on Coolest part? He's actually one of her pole instructors! Dr. Kenneth Kao is an instructor at Vertical Fusion Boulder. I can't imagine taking instruction from him, wow! Or even better, following the recommendation on his practice's site, "Anyone is welcome to fly him out to location for specialized care or instruction, or just for fun!" I'm adding that to my list of ways to spend my money when I win the lottery. I can dream!

As if that wasn't enough Kenneth Kao is also a published writer and loves to learn about the human condition. The English nerd in me is all sorts of happy knowing this. It seems to me that pole dance tends to go with intellectual awesomenes; there must be something to that. In fact, I am certain of it and will be posting some of my findings to that effect soon! Check out links to his Dr. Kao's published works on his personal blog, The Chaos of Balance.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Define the splits

When I started my flexibility journey I would have been overjoyed with open front splits but as my flexibility increased I wasn't as thrilled as I thought I would be. Yes, I posted excitedly to my friends and was pretty pleased but then I thought when do you really have the splits?

I still can't do the splits cold. I can't do them squared either, except for a few painful seconds after a long stretching session. Said few seconds usually entailing a whole lot of whining, lol. What you don't see when people post pictures of themselves in the splits is how warmed up they were, how much stretching they did to get in them, and how long they've been working on flexibility. It isn't just about being able to pose for a awesome splits shot, it's about being able to use them.

So when do you really have the splits?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Weekend Crush: Eliana Girard

Normally I don't get into So You Think You Can Dance. I know, I know, this has to be some sort of cardinal sin for a pole dancer. This lady right here? She's getting added to the very few that are on my playlist. She has done everything from contemporary dance on SYTYCD to Cirque du Soleil to some very polerina style contemporary pole. Did you know that existed? I just found out from a friend and I think we need much, much more of this!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Staying fit for a wedding: pitfalls and solutions

With quite a few of my friends getting married with a huge emphasis on the wedding ceremony I have observed lots of great habits... and lots that could be done better. Members of the bridal party are definitely not excluded in this! There are so many days in between to "slip up," so much food to sample, and such a packed schedule it's no wonder this is a big pre-wedding stressor. I have come up with a few practices to avoid and ideas on what could make your life easier and happier.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Why your workout should be sexy

Petra's Yoga Poses around the world
Petra's Yoga Poses (c) Lululemon Athletica
CC Attribution 2.0 License
Regardless of whether you pursue fitness to wear a teeny polka dot bikini or to improve your heart health, your workout should be sexy. I'm not talking about necessarily wearing a midriff-bearing sports tank or doing oh-so-sexy hot yoga. For some people their workout includes these things, sometimes mine does, but day one of a fitness routine does not entail great abs and defined legs which makes this tricky. Mine sure didn't!

For people like us feeling great about our bodies while working out makes all the difference. It should not be all about the after picture--no matter where you are at there will always be an after in your future. Your focus needs to be on what you are doing today or you will easily burn out. This is so important to me that when I first started the idea of this blog under a different url I called it "Working out becomes sexy fun." Go ahead, laugh, I still do! Silly as that name is, the "dash of sexy" in Flexines comes from the idea of transforming the idea of working out from a journey to becoming sexy to a journey that is sexy. Don't focus on how hot you will look in your swim suit, focus on how sexy your workout makes you feel. You know that experiment where Pavlov rang a bell when he feed some dogs, then afterward the dogs would salivate at the sound of a bell? Getting ready to workout should make you salivate (not literally lol) rather than be some torturous chore.

How do you make your workout sexy?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Weekend Crush: Steven Retchless

I have adored Steven Retchless since very early in my pole fitness journey--and how could you not? There's the fact that he's all sorts of flexy, makes shoulder mounts look like child's play, and well, he's not so hard on the eyes. I have watched his Boston Ballroom performance countless times and the reason why comes down to how beautifully expressive he is. Yes, he has amazing flexibility and strength and that draws you in but it is the story that keeps you coming back for more. Oh and if you think I'm going to confess to how many times I've rewatched his videos... let's just say "a lot." lol

Take his remi layback, for one. The remi sit/layback is a move that can look so simple you think you can nail it, then try five million times and still be swinging belly first towards the pole. (Which is why I have reluctantly shelfed it for now). Is that just me? Maybe it's just me, lol. Anyways for those of you who have watched his