Pssst! Wanna know a secret?

Nov 22, 2011

Brace yourself, this secret is a goodie! Yoga Flirt is NOT about the pole. I know, shocking right?

In any form of yoga, the asanas or postures, the physical stuff we do with our bodies, isn’t what yoga is all about.

Let me explain.

The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means to yoke or create union. So with yoga we are creating a union with our mind, body, breath and spirit. Yoga Sutra 1.2 offers this definition, “The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.” What this means is that the goal of yoga is to have a calm, still mind. Not empty or blank, just one-pointed focus.

Back to the pole and other asanas. Part of the purpose of the asana practice is to have a healthy, physically fit body. When your body is well, you create the conditions for your mind to be calmer and more focused. It’s very challenging to be focused on any task if your mind keeps jumping to your achy back, chronic migraines, or those “extra few pounds.” In that respect, Yoga Flirt is about the exercise that comes from flying around the pole.

However, the real point of the pole moves and any other asana, is that they are a tool used to train the mind to concentrate on just one thing. In the case of pole fitness, you are training your mind to focus fully on each aspect of a move to execute it with grace, precision and ease. In that respect the pole is just a tool we use to teach our minds to be present and pay attention to what we are doing right now.

B.K.S. Iyengar phrased this concept perfectly in Light on Yoga,

“(Asana) secure a fine physique, which is strong and elastic without being muscle-bound and they keep the body free from disease. They reduce fatigue and soothe the nerves. But their real importance lies in the way they train and discipline the mind.”

It makes no difference if you are practicing a simple move such as a Chair Slide or more challenging ones like handstands and aerial combinations. What matters is the quality of your mind and attention. If you are fully present in both mind and body, you are practicing yoga.

Yoga Flirt isn’t about mastering pole moves, checking them off a list and moving on to the next one. It is about taking care of your physical body in such a way that you train your mind to focus, so that off the mat and off the pole in rest of your day you know how to create and maintain a calm, still mind.

And not put the frozen peas in the cupboard…

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