This is not your grandmother's yoga. The shades are pulled tight and the lights are low. This is not a gentleman’s club. There are no two-drink minimums, no dollar bills, no nudity and no men. This is yoga, with a pole.
I created Yoga Flirt to reconcile the age old conflict of spiritual and sensual self by combining the wisdom of yoga with the free-flying experience of pole fitness, also known as pole dancing. I had already been a long time yoga practitioner when I began taking pole dancing classes and I found pole dancing similar to yoga in that it becomes a moving meditation. It took me deep inside myself and I truly connected to my authentic self. It became less about “performing” and more about feeling.
However, I found that pole dancing lacked the wisdom of yoga and yoga lacked the embracing of the female body. I decided to combine the two and Yoga Flirt was born. I incorporated the wisdom of yoga not found in other pole dancing/pole fitness classes to create physical and energetic balance in the body.
Each class or workshop begins with a "lesson" on yogic wisdom and how women can apply this philosophy into their busy lives as students, wives, mothers, business owners, both at work and at home. The lessons in yogic wisdom allow women to connect with their hearts and spirits. From this place of internal connection, women can then learn to safely and appropriately express their sensual side and embrace their femininity.
The lessons are followed with a flowing, asana (yoga pose) based warm-up designed to build the necessary strength for pole moves while also developing alluring movements to be incorporated into pole fitness dance routines. A key aspect of my program is that women are taught to move from internal connection rather than for an external performance, all in a non-competitive environment.
Each week students learn new pole moves such as spins, bends, slides, and climbs that are incorporated into routines. Just as blocks, straps, and blankets are used as tools in traditional yoga classes, the 12 foot vertical poles are used as a tool to stretch, strengthen and develop co-ordination. Yoga Sutra* 2.46 states: Asana (yoga pose) is a comfortable, steady posture. My classes teach women how to be steady, comfortable and sexy on their mat and on a pole!
The combination of floor and pole work have the obvious result of building greater upper body and core strength, improving flexibility and aiding in weight loss. But my students are also experiencing something much more magical, an internal transformation that changes the way they see themselves.
Although students range in age from 20 to 60 and come in all shapes, sizes and fitness levels, there is a common thread in what they experience in class. They regularly tell me the classes are a haven from the pressure to be "perfect" all the time. To them, class does not feel like exercise or work, but rather a place to play, hydrate their soul, celebrate all of their own wonderful qualities, and be embraced in a sisterhood that educates and supports one another in the lifelong journey of being a woman.
The most common shared feeling among all the "Flirts" is of profound increased confidence. My students feel as though they are breaking out of their own shell and no longer feeling invisible. They describe having a sense of radiance on the inside, which translates into other people noticing their vibrancy and vitality.
Mara, a 47 year old wife, mother, and massage therapist who also helps run her husband's business is the perfect example of the meaningful benefits of my classes and workshops. "There had been something missing, inside of me, for a very long time,” She explains. “ I lost myself. This program has been the key to getting me ‘unstuck’. It has helped me rebuild my self esteem, confidence and physical and mental strength. One of the greatest gifts that Cathy has given to me is self acceptance. All that is required of me is to be fully present and to embrace the incredible feeling that Yoga Flirt inspires…a joyful and even spiritual feeling."
With my new spin on yoga I aim to transform hundreds of women's lives!
*The Yoga Sutras are the foundational text of yoga practice.