January marked my 6th year as a pole dancer, and it's been quite a journey! One of the challenges as I've progressed has been finding a balance between a regular teaching schedule, and my own training.
I've always been self motivated, driven by a desire to improve my own skills and better understand the technique and process behind movement. Time alone in a studio is invaluable not only for my abilities, but also my skill as a teacher. Practice time is sacred, where achievement is less about the picture perfect moment, and more about the process.
Body & Pole is a busy space, with classes running morning until night, and many demands on the facility outside of the regular schedule. When I began competing it became clear I would need to find a regularpractice time that I could commit to, that would also fit with the studio schedule. For me, I find mornings work well. I appreciate the time before the hum of classes begin in the space. It's sometimes hard to wake up early, but committing to something where I would otherwise just be at home is more compelling than working around social events and time with family.
As someone who teaches full time, there's only so much you can train and teach before your body needs a day off. With each year I become more aware of my schedule of classes, how many I can teach in a day, how many days I need off in a week, and when I've overworked myself.
I've struck a balance with two days off from teaching in the week. The days that I do teach, I'm cautious to limit the number of classes that I teach in a day. While it's tempting to stay busy, I try to be purposeful about saying "no" when I know I won't be teaching at my best.
On my days off, I train one day, focusing on flexibility and handstands, which helps break up the "pole patterns." I always have one day a week to rest, where I'll schedule body work as needed. Time teaching classes is also an opportunity to continue learning. Even though I may have taught an outside leg hang 7,000 times, I still can find new points of relevance for teaching, and improve my own execution of the move.
If you're struggling with feeling uninspired or exhausted all the time, it's a good sign it's time to reevaluate your schedule. Thinking about the week as a whole helps me anticipate how tired I may be when I'm on day five of teaching, and if I should really sub that extra class!
Taking class is important when you can. Most days I don't have as much time to be a student, but when I do, I find it helps reinvigorate my teaching. Or try branching out into a totally different movement class. It helps your brain reset and you may pick up some teaching tips from a different medium.
Teaching and training is definitely a balancing act, but with practice, it's possible to improve your skills, stay inspired, and bring your best energy to the classroom!