Friday, July 27, 2012

Introducing Aruna and The Fly Gym!

When I started writing about different areas of pole dance, Bel encouraged me to contact Aruna as a potential grande dame (pole dancer over 50).  I had seen posts from Aruna on Facebook and knew she was a local pole teacher.  Then I found out that Aruna was part of a company that might actually be able to help me get stronger on the pole.  So, let me introduce you to Aruna and The Fly Gym:

How long have you been pole dancing?

I started when I was 48. I'm 56. 8 years going on 9!! Woohoo....

What first drew you to try it?

I took an intro at a local sensual boutique. It was love at first twirl. I've always loved to play and jump on things. I was born the Year of the Fire Monkey.

Where do you train?

For pole? Mostly on a stage pole right now. I used to have my own studio and taught at iCandy in Rohnert Park. I try to get to Hana's Phoenix Aerial Art and Pole in Berkeley whenever I can. Mostly I've been working on our Pole Fly Program, combining the swing and pole and it's pretty awesome!

Do you have a dance background?

Yes--all sorts of dance: (ballet, jazz, modern, belly dance, flamenco, some ballroom, burlesque and aerial dance-fitness). I've also been a fitness professional (group ex and personal trainer) for almost 35 years!

What else do you do to keep your body in such amazing shape?

Thank you!! :> Aside from Fly Gym and pole, I work on chairs and padded monkey bars, I teach fitness with weighted balls, sticks, big pieces of fabric, and dance with giant skirts. When I can, I get in the pool and jump around with noodles. I also love to hula hoop (which I just started 2 years ago!). Everything I do is fun and looks easier than it is. I must say, I love being an ageless athlete!

You are a co-creator of Fly Gym Aerial Fitness.  Tell us about the product and how it can help pole dancers.

Hanging in the Fly Gym swing lets you stretch further and strengthen in a way that safely expands your edges. It can be used for fitness, yoga, Pilates, rehab, circus training, dance, martial arts--in other words, whatever you bring to it.

When you combine hanging in fabric and pulling on the pole it's cool x 2! The swings lets you float while practicing pulls, climbs, sits, inversions, knee - armpit - elbow and more holds, bracket grip, twisted grip, shoulder mounts and so much more. It's training wheels and a spotting buddy. The stretches you get while in the hang - pull combo are deep and delicious. I truly think it can benefit beginners and advanced dancers.

I am meeting pole dancers in their 60's and 70's.  Do you have advice on how to keep our bodies limber and strong enough to dance as long as we want to?

Be a perpetual student. Keep learning how to use the pole or any apparatus you come across in new and perhaps not so obvious ways. Play on pool ladders, street sign poles, jungle gyms, the furniture, horizontal bars. Use the equipment for yoga, strength, and learning how to transition into and out of postures. All these things can teach you to be a wizard of leverage, a woman like a Hindu Goddess with not just one set of hands but 12! Don't compare yourself to the young amazing dancers or yourself when younger. Give yourself twice the time to warm up and recover. Hold poses longer. Breathe joy, curiosity and self amazement into every move!! Remind yourself just how very much you rock!!

A few weeks ago I had to climb a fence. When faced with the task I hoisted myself safely up and down with toe, elbow and armpit holds and realized "pole dance taught me that."

Do you like to focus on pole fitness, pole dance or a combination of the two?

A combination. I love barefoot pole and I love sexy shoes that make my legs look 6 inches longer!!

Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

I published a trilogy of mind-body fitness books under the name Karen Andes. I often meet folks who've read my books but don't know I am her. Aruna was given to me by a spiritual community (it means radiance). It also worked for me as a performing belly dancer. It will take at least this lifetime to grow into it!

Thank you so much for being part of my blog.  Bel purchased a Fly Gym so I am excitedly awaiting it's installation at Twirly Girls!

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