Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Studio Spotlight: Embody Pole Fitness!

Our pole circle widens as we welcome another Twitter friend, Diana, and her studio, Embody Pole Fitness to the fold!


What is your fitness background?

I have been an athlete since my early 20’s, when I began long distance trail running. I am also an avid hiker. I’ve hiked Mt. Whitney twice and Mt. Langley. I began weight lifting 6 years ago and am currently training to compete in the Iron Man Fitness Competition in January. I found pole dancing, through a friend 3 years ago and became instantly smitten. It is by far the most challenging  and exhilarating workout I have ever participated in.

What is your fitness routine (on and off the pole)?

I train on the pole 2-3 days a week, about 2 hours at a time. I also teach 8 pole classes a week at Embody Pole Fitness. I attend all the workshops I possibly can to learn and improve my technique and skills. I run 45 minutes, 4-5 days a week and lift weights twice a week. I also teach Kettlebell and ChickFit Fitness bootcamps at Embody, and since I’m one of those instructors that participate, I get an amazing workout with the students.

What kind of diet do you follow?

I am very strict with my diet, more so now that I am training for the fitness competition. I believe that diet is 80% of how you look and feel. I eat 7 small meals a day, 2 of which are shakes, small portions, lots of vegetables, protein and very low carbs. I do allow myself one cheat meal a week, where I completely overindulge and become a huge glutton.

Do you have a dance background?

Actually, no I don’t, the dance part of pole has been the most challenging for me and also what I love and admire the most. Fortunately, I have the most amazing instructor and studio manager, Jackie Arriaga, who has a dance degree from Oregon State. She has traveled the world teaching and performing  lyrical, ballet, and jazz. She is generous with her knowledge and time, she has taught me so much, changing the way I move and the way I look at my body. I train very hard to improve my dance. I’ll be attending jazz dance classes in January and look forward to incorporating this knowledge into my pole dancing.

Do you compete (pole fitness or any other kind of fitness competitions)?

I have not had the courage to submit for a pole competition YET, but am feeling the bug. I’ll definitely be submitting this year. I will be competing in the Iron Man Fitness competition this year and look forward to the challenge.

What interested you about pole dancing?

The beauty of the movement. The first time a saw a girl on the pole, I was speechless with admiration, she took my breath away, she seemed to float and glide around the pole.  I wanted to move with that grace, confidence and fluidity. Once I began the journey there was no turning back, Pole really is addicting. Never, in my life, with the exception of motherhood, has any one thing changed me, as a person, as this journey of Pole Dancing has. I capitalize it because, to me, it is a living, breathing entity. Somewhere I go, when I’m sad, when I’m happy, when I think I can, and when I think I can’t.

Do you have a preference? "pole fitness" or "pole dancing"

I think people us the term Pole Fitness thinking it has less stigma attached to it, thereby is less threatening to your average woman. But realistically, it is dancing, a beautiful, creative, life altering form of dance. I think we should keep it that way. It makes me sad to think that the beauty of dance in pole would be diminished.  

What do you think about the stripper vs. pole fitness debate?

I’ve never been involved in exotic dance, although I’ve been to dozens of strip clubs, I’m always taken by the sensual flow of movement exotic dancers have. In many ways I attempt to emulate their movements and incorporate them into my dance. Seriously, this whole pole movement started in the strip clubs and to say otherwise is false. I think it’s ridiculous and a huge waste of energy to dwell on it. There is beauty in all forms of dance.

What is your favorite product to help you stick to the pole?

Love, love, love Dry Hands and Dewpoint. I use Dewpoint on my body and Dry Hands on my hands. With this combination I’m transformed into Spiderwoman.

How do you deal with the dry skin on pole days (and on off-pole days)?

I grease up with tons of lotion at night, I also use a mixture of jojoba oil and grapeseed oil. I love aquaphore for my knees, elbows and the back of my knees. It helps so much with the chafing from all the leg hooks. I shower before classes, to remove any trace of oils and I Dewpoint up before I get on the pole.

Where do you like to buy your pole clothes?

I love the clothes we develop and sell at Embody Pole Fitness, we’ve come out with our line of clothes, to be launched in December. I also love Mika Yoga and Bad Kitty, awesome quality and a great fit.

Do you like to dance in heels or barefoot?

I love to dance barefoot the best, but force myself to wear heels. They make your legs look amazing and also protect your feet. I think it makes me a stronger pole dancer to dance in shoes, forcing me to compensate for the added weight, as well as forcing me to improve my balance.

What did you do before opening your pole studio?

I own an IT consulting business, where I do IT security, ethical hacking and network administration. I have been doing IT for 15 years. I wish, and hope in the near future to focus completely on my studio and dancing. Teaching is the most rewarding career I have ever had. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity.

How did you come up with the name for your studio?

To Embody something is to become part of, I believe once you begin the journey of pole dancing it becomes part of you and changes you as a person. To embody pole is to become part of an amazing movement.


What is your favorite thing about dancing on the pole?

When I conquer a trick, combo or movement, that feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment, can make my week.  When I emotionally fall into a dance, really letting myself go, on move leading to the next, nothing compares.

What is your favorite song to dance to (at this moment)?

Empty Sky by Simon Wilcox. My favorite songs are the ones I can attach an emotion to, a moment in my life where the emotions were overwhelming.

Do you have any other upcoming events you'd like people to know about?

Iron Man Fitness Competition on January 27 at the LA Convention Center, come out and be our cheering section. J Embody Pole Fitness is hosting a Skinny Jean Boutique on December 2, from 2-6, we’ll have 20 vendors, ranging from health, fitness, clothing, jewelry, makeup, basically all things girly. There will be champagne and healthy delicious snacks, come on out, drink, be merry and shop. 

What else would you like people to know about you or your studio?

Pole dancing is a fantastic way to lose weight, improve muscle tone, enhance flexibility and coordination, increase strength, and build endurance while increasing one’s self esteem. Any woman can learn pole dancing regardless of age, size, and athletic background. We offer a high energy, sexy and fun environment for women who are tired of trudging along on a treadmill or pushing weights in a gym. More importantly, we at Embody Studios make a “Commitment to Positivity” and structure our classes so our students come away feeling amazing every time.

Embody Pole Fitness studio offers individual and group fitness instruction in a very diverse combination of Pole Fitness, Fitness Dance (Zumba, Hip-Hop, Burlesque), Embody Barre, an isometric ballet barre program, Yoga, Russian Kettlebell instruction and ChickFit, high intensity functional fitness training. These dynamic and fun fitness programs are designed and proven to help a person lose fat and improve strength, stamina, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance and cardiovascular endurance all done in a safe, positive, and non-judgmental environment.

As a Pole Dance instructor I am struck by the life altering changes that pole dancing brings out in women. I see it every day, over the weeks and months, the metamorphosis that occurs throughout their journey. Pole Dancing…a journey, can anyone who has not taken this journey really understand what this means? Explaining it to someone who has not begun the steps is like explaining a color to a blind person. The explanations are all images, feeling and they are different for everyone. It is red, hot, vibrant, liberating, humbling, inspiring, frustrating, joyous…but the first steps, those are the big ones. The first steps are the scary steps, where you put yourself out there, making yourself vulnerable to a room full of women you don’t know very well, if at all. Perhaps you see yourself, in what you believe to be a not so flattering light, thinking they see you this way as well, but really, unbeknownst to you, all of those women are cheering for you, wanting so badly for you to take the next step, knowing if you do, the treasure, in yourself, you will find. I watch, stunned and amazed, as I see women change and grow, strong successful women who would, when facing the pole become timid and fearful when the words “free dance” were uttered, flourish and become before my very eyes, self-actualized, assured, appreciating their bodies and their curves. In their powerful movements I see a deeper understanding of themselves. In their dance they have allowed themselves to become playful, graceful, mesmerizing, unique, and exhilarating.

About Diana:

Diana is a certified Pole Fitness Instructor, and Owner of Embody Pole Fitness. A native of Long Beach, CA, Diana started her lifelong love affair with fitness at an early age, training for sports. Being an athlete her entire life, she has always looked to continually improve and refine training. She enjoys alternative and conventional fitness, believing that by exposing oneself to different types of sports and fitness you become, not only a better athlete and in optimum physical condition, but a more well-rounded and happier person. Enjoying sports such as long distance trail running, kettlebell training, Crossfit, hiking, Salsa dancing, weight lifting, kayaking, and of course, the love of her life, pole dancing.


3 years ago she discovered pole dancing as a workout, in this discovered a life altering form of self-expression and creativity. So taken with this beautiful form of dance she decided to make a pivotal career change, she splits time between a promising IT consulting business as well as pursuing her passion for women's fitness as a full-time venture. Since then she has rapidly become an elite fitness instructor and seeks to improve women's self-esteem by assuming a physically active lifestyle. Always striving to reach and inspire more women Diana started Embody Pole Fitness as a fitness studio exclusively for women. Her influential combination of physical fitness, possession of amazing interpersonal communication skills and a strong base of fitness knowledge, have allowed Embody to become a place for women to come and play, to be themselves, to experience the glory, self-expression, challenge and sensuality that lies within each and every woman. A community of women, striving to support, challenge, inspire and rejoice in each other

Pole Dance Blogs from Diana:

The Vulnerability and Power of Pole Dancing

As a Pole Dance instructor I am struck by the life altering changes that pole dancing brings out in women. I see it every day, over the weeks and months, the metamorphosis that occurs throughout their journey. Pole Dancing…a journey, can anyone who has not taken this journey really understand what this means? Explaining it to someone who has not begun the steps is like explaining a color to a blind person. The explanations are all images, feeling and they are different for everyone. It is red, hot, vibrant, liberating, humbling, inspiring, frustrating, joyous…but the first steps, those are the big ones. The first steps are the scary steps, where you put yourself out there, making yourself vulnerable to a room full of women you don't know very well, if at all. Perhaps you see yourself, in what you believe to be a not so flattering light, thinking they see you this way as well, but really, unbeknownst to you, all of those women are cheering for you, wanting so badly for you to take the next step, knowing if you do, the treasure, in yourself, you will find. Allowing yourself to muddle through these awkward first steps is the greatest gift you will give yourself. Never, in my life, with the exception of motherhood, has any one thing changed me, as a person, as this journey of Pole Dancing has. I capitalize it because, to me, it is a living, breathing entity. Somewhere I go, when I'm sad, when I'm happy, when I think I can, and when I think I can't. I watch, stunned and amazed, as I see women change and grow, strong successful women who would, when facing the pole become timid and fearful when the words "free dance" were uttered, flourish and become before my very eyes, self-actualized, assured, appreciating their bodies and their curves. In their powerful movements I see a deeper understanding of themselves. In their dance they have allowed themselves to become playful, graceful, mesmerizing, unique, and exhilarating.

The Gift of Pole Dancing

Pole dancing has recently been described, the world over, as the "latest fitness craze", although this is true, it is so much more. Indeed, pole dancing will tone your thighs, give you sexy defined arms and shoulders, and melt away muffin tops. That's not all it will give you, you will gain a precious gift, the gift of self-acceptance, confidence and love, for yourself. Dance, sensual music and movement changes the color of your world, gives you new, rosy glasses to view yourself through. As I think about the life changing gifts this sensual, astonishing dance has brought to women around the world, I wonder where it all began….

Pole dancing has been undeniably embedded into the cultural mindset as the foremost sensuous art, but the history of the practice today is somewhat of a mystery. Some point to the early European fertility rituals involving dancing around a large pole placed in the center of town called a Maypole for the day the ritual was celebrated, May 1st. Others point to African tribal rituals in which betrothed women would dance provocatively around a wooden phallus. The dance was designed to show their future husbands how they wanted to be made love to.

Some trace the traditions roots back to ancient China, where acrobats would perform death-defying stunts and hold mind-bending poses on metal poles. In an interesting parallel the Indian art of Mallakhamb involved an artful dance and acrobatics routine centered around a wooden pole. Though these routines weren't regularly erotic in nature, and most often performed by men, the influence of these skills orientated moves still eco in the modern pole dance.

In contemporary times pole dancing is often linked to the emergence of the so called "HoochiCoochi" dancers who performed with the travel circuses, performing their routines on the pole supporting the big top. These primitive routines quickly evolved though, and were soon the main feature at Go-Go bars and table dancing clubs from the 60's through the 80's. In a very short time frank eroticism just wouldn't cut it, as pole routines became more and more acrobatic and heavily focused on the skill of the dancer.

Today's pole dancing is a thing unto itself. Mixing the subtle arts of sensuality and the art of high-performance acrobatics, pole dancing has become one of the most challenging and rewarding ways attain the stunning body you've always dreamed of, while having more fun than lifting dumbbell could ever hope to be.

Dance Your Way to Sanity

Dancing has been with us since the dawn of civilization. It's something that comes to us naturally, an urge coming from the natural rhythms within our bodies. Dancing is good for you, and in ways that we are still learning about today. When you dance the larger problems of moving through life dissipate and all that is left is the movement of the dance. Dancing gets you fit; it burns calories, tightens muscle, and heightens the metabolism. It releases hormones that help the skin and give a lasting sense of wellbeing, and instills a palpable sense of confidence.

More than that, scientists have now found links between dancing and staving off Alzheimer's. Dancing develops procedural learning and concentration because dancing is a dynamic rather than repetitive physical activity and can link past memories to the present. Various aspects of a dance session, such as the music, exercise, and social components of dancing can improve autobiographical memory and reduce agitation, anxiety, delusions, and other behavioral symptoms in dementia of any severity, and more importantly are really fun. Dance awakens memories outside the dance session and helps patients find themselves again. A multisensory approach with different sounds, colors, and tangible objects further stimulates engagement and stimulation of participants.

Dance is something that takes us out of our own world and transports us to another, one of feeling and of rhythm. It keeps us young not only by what it does to our bodies, but by what it does to our hearts. In dancing you are ageless, the beat that you follow both keeping time and driving it away. Dancing is an art of body and soul, it speaks to us about who we are at our deeper levels and lets us be who it is we want to be. By dancing often what you develop is a youth that will follow you through your life.

*****

Embody Pole Fitness is located in Corona, California.  Please catch up with them through their website:


3 comments:

  1. This is a great article! I wish there was some sort of intro as to who you were interviewing. It just starts out, and I got nearly to the end before I could found the "About Diana" part...

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  2. For the Studio Spotlight, it is usually implied that we are spotlighting whatever studio is in the title...but for you, Robert, I will put an intro! :-P

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  3. Gosh, thanks! I feel special ;-). The squeeky wheel (or pole) gets the grease, I guess... But seriously, I see now what you mean, but as a "layman" I did not get at first that Embody Pole Fitness was a studio name (duh, my bad).

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