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Cherry Blossom Studio @cherrypoledance
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Andrea teaches Pole, Exotic Dance L1 and L2, Polefit, Aerial Yoga and Flexibility
Daniella teaches chair dance, pole, Exotic Dance L1, Aerial Silks,Aerial Yoga aerial fusion, and Twerkout
Kassandra teaches Yoga
Kristen teaches pole and flexibility
Sassy muffin @sassymuffin
Sassy Muffin teachers Burlesque
Britt is on front desk on Tuesdays!
Motivation – getting here is the hardest part
It can be hard to find the motivation to make it to a work out class after a long day at work, or on your day off. Personally, I love my couch, I long for it when I am not on it. I would live on it if I could. I am hard to motivate, especially when I have to get off my couch and drive somewhere to work out. It is so much easier to just not. How do you do it then? You ask.
Set reasonable goals for yourself
I used to tell myself I would commit to working out every day, this is extreme and hard to stick to. Since it is not a reasonable goal, I end up failing to meet my goals and I get discouraged. Recently, I began to set more achievable goals for myself. I will work out no less than 3 times a week. Ideally I would like to hit 4 or 5 workouts a week, but no less than three gives me wiggle room. Those days when I am in love with my couch, I can still have those and not feel guilty because I can take a day off, I just have to make sure I go another day.
Some people are totally motivated by rewards, if this sounds like you, you might think about making little deals with yourself. On the days you do work out, let yourself have treat, maybe it is a chocolate bar… or something else super awesome. I like to buy Vega protein bars because they are super sweet and chocolaty and they are also full of protein. I look forward to getting to eat one, so gives me a little more motivation to get to a class.
Anxiety and Stress relief
A lot of us work jobs that cause a considerable amount of stress at some point or another. Getting physical allows you to get into your body and out of your head. This is important because when we think too much about what we have to do, what happened during the day, and other things that plague our minds, our anxiety levels increase. Activities like aerial dancing are very helpful for getting us out of our heads because they require a lot of focus, basically, it is impossible to think about a bad boss when you are trying not to fall on your head or when you are trying to memorize a dance sequence. Exercise also releases endorphins; think of these as happy little natural painkillers produced by your body.
Classes at Cherry Blossom are great opportunities for socializing, many of us have a lot going on in our lives and it can be hard to focus on a social life when life happens. Why not kill two birds with one stone, as the saying goes, and get in a workout while socializing!
Most of all, working out at Cherry Blossom is Fun! We all need a little fun in our lives, no matter what age.
Now you have no excuses not to get off the couch! You are welcome!
Do you ever find it incredibly hard to pull yourself out of bed or off the couch to get to a class? I know I do! Finding Motivation can be tricky sometimes so here are some tips and tricks to help you get motivated and remember it only takes 30 days to create a lasting habit!
- Take things one day at a time – Set reasonable goals. Sometimes I like to sign up for a whole weeks’ worth of classes and tell myself I am going to make every single one or else. Undoubtedly, this usually fails and I end up missing more than I make it to. I found a better way to deal with myself; a more forgiving way! Instead of signing up for a bunch of classes and creating a rigid schedule that I know I can’t follow, I tell myself that I must make it to a class at least 4 days a week. This way I have 3 rest days a week and if I am really not feeling it, I can take a day and not feel guilty about not meeting my goals.
- Be prepared: I like to go to a 6am yoga class before work, I know this may sound insane, it probably is. I find the most difficult part of going to class is getting there. In order to make sure I make it on time and don’t find excuses, I set out my workout clothes the night before, and I pack a bag with everything I need for the next day. Being prepared takes the procrastination out of getting there. You don’t spend time looking for a shoe or a sports bra only to realize you have no clean clothes.
- Find your fitness tribe – or Girl Gang: Nothing will help you create a lasting workout routine than a great workout community. A strong, supportive community is the key to see working out as a fun social activity rather than a punishment or obligation. Cherry Blossom Studio offers so much support and the primary female environment provides a safe and kind space for all body types. Bonus! You can burn calories and build confidence while wearing super fun shoes!
- Fuel your goals: Plan your grocery list to include healthy post-workout snacks. Rewarding yourself with a snack after your workout is a good thing; however you don’t want to undo all of the work you just did. You are less likely to make a bad choice if you plan your snacking in advance. For example, see the smoothies part two blog for a peanut butter and banana chocolate protein smoothie recipe. Protein bars are also great, just make sure to check the ingredients, look for something that has no refined sugar, and instead go for natural sweeteners like honey, agave, and maple syrup.
Choosing Your Pole Dancing Heels
Have Fun with Heel Clacks, Drops and Walks in Pole Dancing Heels!
Adore 708 Clear Pleasers
Last week we talked about the benefits of working out in heels, this week we are going to talk about choosing your pole dancing heels.
As a beginner it is advised to avoid the shortest heels, the height between the top of your heel and the ball of your foot (arch) is larger in the shorter 6-inch heels. This means an ideal height for beginners is 7 inches. The platforms in 7inch and higher shoes make up for the extra heel height and the heels themselves are slightly wider. 8 inches are a good progression once you get used to the 7-inch.
Ankle straps are a good idea for beginners, especially if you are using your shoes for exotic dance or floor play. They will provide more support around your heel, keep your shoes from flying off and keep you feeling more secure. If you find a pair of shoes you like but they don’t have straps don’t worry, Pleaser makes straps separately and they are available for purchase at the Cherry Blossom Boutique.
The best shoes for heel clacks are platforms with no embellishments on the inner platform; the Adore 708 chrome and clear series heels are a great option for this! We have several different styles of 708 in the studio.
Clear shoes tend to be a good choice, they are the least expensive and there are several styles and colours to choose from. They are made from plastics and pvc. They can be molded to your foot by heating the plastic while you are wearing your shoes with the low setting on your blow dryer. Many people find the clear shoes to be the most comfortable.
Adore 709 Rose Gold Heels
Patent shoes are made from leather, they do not expand as much in size as the clear shoes do and they tend to run a little narrower than the clear shoes (although this is not always the case). The patent material is sturdier, because of this, you want to make sure you have the correct shape and width for your feet or you will experience chafing over time.
In the end it is all about personal preference, you may find that a certain material or heel height works better for you than another. It is best to go with something that is comfortable for your foot.
We sell a number of different styles at the Cherry Blossom Boutique so you can try on most of the styles available. Pleasers shoes are very light, they are easy to walk in and easy to perform in. They also fit true to size, they do not come in half sizes though, so if you are a half size you can typically go with the size up, but some find sizing down works better for them. If you can’t find the heel you want in our boutique we might be able to order it for you! There are a number of different styles available in the catalogue so make sure to ask at the front desk if you don’t see what you are looking for.
High Heels Workout
Working Out In High Heels
Photo By: Viktor Device
The fact that you can wear super fun heels while working out is one of the perks of training at Cherry Blossom Studio. High heels workout is definitely more fun than wearing regular gym shoes! Did you know that there are a lot of benefits to working out in heels?
Wearing heels helps strengthen the pelvic and abdominal muscles, in order to counter the elevated angle of the heel, we lean a little forward. This small adjustment tightens the abdominal muscles and tucks the pelvis under. If you recall your fitness instructor constantly saying tilt your pelvis forward or tuck your pelvis, you know what I am talking about. This specific action increases the ability for pelvic muscles to contract. In this way, some have described the benefits of working out in heels as being similar to doing kegels or holding mula bandha during yoga class.
Wearing heels also works the calves and the butt muscles. Just walking in heels engages the calf muscles. The extra weight on the end of your legs helps to improve your spins by giving you extra momentum. They also help you to work on your balance and your posture.
If we are being honest here, and we are, wearing heels also helps build confidence, they make us feel sexy and powerful! So grab your heels and come for a class at Cherry Blossom Studio!
Here are some of the fun high heels workout classes that we offer at Cherry Blossom Studio:
Exotic Dance Level 1 every other Tuesday at 6:30pm
every other Thursday at 7:30pm
Exotic Dance Level 2 every Wednesday at 5:30pm
Floor Play every other Thursday at 7:30pm
Stay tuned for choosing the right pair of heels for you next in next week’s blog! Choose from a wide selection of pole dancing heels in our online Boutique!
Why Every Woman Needs a Girl Gang
Not too long ago women spent the majority of their lives with other women, helping each other raise children, gathering and preparing food, and in many other daily tasks. In today’s society, as we get older and our lives become more complicated, full time jobs, children, other obligations, we tend to have less time for social lives and less quality time with other women. Our relationships with other women are often the first thing to give, however, these are some of the most important relationships in our lives; they are something we really need to make an effort to nurture. This is why you need a Girl Gang!
I have come to realize that my friendships and my time with other women has evolved into a safe space for me. I find I can relax more, be myself more, and overall worry less. I like to believe it is because we are hard wired this way, to seek support and comfort from other women.
With all of the pressures each of us deal with each day, it can be very hard to keep up with a self-care workout routine, let alone find quality time with friends. This is where Cherry Blossom comes in! I, like many others, hesitantly stepped through the front door for my first class and had no idea what to expect. What I found was an enormously supportive, non-judgmental group of women. It became my safe space, a space to get a good healing dose of girl gang while getting a good work out in at the same time.
Other compelling reasons to find your girl gang:
- Women instinctively nourish each other; just being with other women is restorative.
- Research has found that the hormone oxytocin is the panacea of friendship, and by extension, health. This hormone is released when we spend time with other women.
- The hormones released from women to other women are healthy and do away with the stress hormones
- Women’s friendships are like a renewable source of power
- Women always need other women; from the moment we understand how different the male species is.
- Women understand things men will never understand
- The visceral need for chocolate
- What it feels like to almost bleed to death every month
- Giving birth
- Crying at the Ikea commercial where the lamp gets abandoned on the curb because you feel bad for the lamp
- The list goes on!
Always remember we are stronger when we lift each other up, not when we tear each other down. Find your girl gang (there is a great one here at Cherry Blossom Studio) and hold on tight!
The Steep and Unforgiving Learning Curve of Beginner Aerial Silks
Beginner Aerial Silks class can be tough but sticking to it will get you results!
Aerial silks is an intimidating class especially intimidating for a complete beginner aerial silks student. I want to talk about my aerial silks journey, from absolute beginner to, well…still a beginner. I am sure there are many of you who have taken a class and not returned, or are too intimidated to try a class, hopefully my experience will ease some of your concerns.
I first came to cherry blossom in January 2016. I came for a six-week aerial yoga session and ended up signing up for a six-week silks beginner class on the way out. Silks were something I had always dreamed of trying, having always been fond of climbing and hanging upside-down. I was pretty good with the aerial silks hammock but how much different could the silks really be right?
My first class was a humbling experience to say the least. I couldn’t climb at all, I couldn’t invert, and I couldn’t hold myself up. I was forced to confront my physical limitations. I have never had a particularly strong upper body so this was a real challenge for me. There were intermediate students in the class who had been practicing for some time and were inverting and doing all of the amazing cool things I wanted to do, and there I was unable to get one climb up the silk. I felt pathetic and I wanted to cry.
Somehow I mustered up the strength to come back for the second class, and the third, and the fourth, fifth and sixth. By the end of the session I could climb with the help of sticky hand spray (which I still use today), I figured out how to do candles by rolling forward instead of backwards, and I could do foot locks. I was still nowhere near the level of some of the other students in the class but this forced me to stop comparing myself to other people. I became more self-forgiving, I forced myself to take the small victories in and not worry so much about what I perceived as failures in my performance.
It took me about three months before I finally rolled backwards into a candle. This was a huge accomplishment for me and for once I felt strong in my body. New skills still take time, a lot of time, but there is a real sense of empowerment when you accomplish something you thought you would never be able to do.
You are stronger than you know and the impossible is possible you just have to be kind to yourself and not compare yourself to others and move at your own pace. I promise you will be rewarded for your persistence.
Come try a Beginner Aerial Silks class at Cherry Blossom Studio and increase your upper body strength and flexibility!
Post Workout Smoothies
Smoothies Part 2 –Post Workout Smoothies
Fuel your body after your tough workout at Cherry Blossom Studio with a post workout smoothie. Feed your muscles with the proper nutrition your body needs after your aerial dance and fitness classes.
I am pretty sure that I look like Popeye meaning that my forearms feel like they are sausages stuffed into a casing that is too tight. Enter the peanut butter and banana chocolate smoothie…
By now you should be somewhat familiar with my smoothie obsession if you read the last blog about the green monster! This time I wanted to talk about post-workout smoothies. Because time is a factor and we cant ignore proper nutrition especially after a tough muscle-building workout. This is another recipe that you can make in a double batch and leave in the fridge for a day or two for a grab-and-go post-workout fix. The concept of this smoothie comes from research on the benefits of chocolate milk as a post workout drink. Compared to plain milk, chocolate milk has double the carbohydrate and protein content, perfect for replenishing tired muscles. At this point you are probably thinking, “why don’t I just have a chocolate milk?” I mean, you could… but this is more fun and it has more nutrients! Especially for anyone suffering from muscle cramping because it has bananas in it. Give it a try, I promise you will not be disappointed!
Funky Monkey Smoothie
1-cup dark chocolate almond milk (or regular chocolate milk if you prefer)
1 large banana (frozen or un-frozen)
2 large tablespoons of peanut or almond butter
1 scoop of chocolate protein powder of choice (optional)
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
* Feel free to throw in a cup of spinach if you feel you need the greens! I know I do, and I promise you won’t even know it’s there.
A fruitier post workout smoothie variation…
Paypaya Ginger Smoothie
1 scoop of Vanilla Protein Powder
1 cups papaya, chilled and cut into chunks
1 cup ice
½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1 teaspoon agave nectar
Leaves from one sprig of mint
Fuel Your Day
Smoothies Part 1 – Fuel Your Day with a Nutritious Smoothie
Fuel your day with a healthy smoothie! I am the type of person who is not particularly hungry in the morning. I typically wake up late, after hitting snooze an obnoxious amount of times I run out the door. The downside with my sleep obsession is that something has to give. More often than not, it ends up being breakfast. Sound familiar? A few years ago I discovered the green monster, a smoothie concoction created by Angela Liddon, featured on her ohsheglows blog (http://ohsheglows.com). Total game changer.
The green monster is green because it has spinach in it. I know what you are thinking, spinach… in a smoothie… for breakfast? But hear me out, it doesn’t taste like spinach, its actually pretty tasty, filling and energizing on top of that! It’s basically a miracle in a cup.
I like to make a double batch the night before so I have breakfast for two days. This way I can hit snooze a ridiculously unreasonable amount of times and still get breakfast in, win/win. I just grab and go and still get my extra half-hour of sleep!
1 cup almond milk (or other milk of your choice)
1 cup spinach*
1 large banana, frozen or non-frozen, both work fine **
1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter
1 tablespoon chia seeds or ground flaxseed
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon of your favorite protein powder ***
Throw it all in the blender and blend away!
*I use the spinach that comes in a bag at the grocery store
** I peel my bananas, break them in half, and then freeze them so I always have some on hand
***I use unflavoured hemp protein powder. I find that flavoured protein powders really change the taste of the smoothie, sometimes not for the better. You can use whichever you prefer, but you have been forewarned!
Written By Talena one of Cherry Blossom Studio‘s Aerial Exchange staff. Stay tuned for more delicious smoothie recipes.
Making New Friends in Your Twenties
How Pole Dancing and being a part of a studio has helped me make new friends in a new Country.
By Brittany Ellis
I moved here from California (await gasp, fast forward through all of the “why would you ever leave?” and “but the beach is there”). Back home I have my family, my friends that I grew up with, old class mates, co-workers and team mates. While getting ready to move the last thing on my list of “what to worry about” was how I was going to make new friends. Of all the problems I have had in this life (self-created or not), making friends has not been one of them. Well it turns out I have not actually had to make a new friend, all on my own since the good old days of recess on the playground. This is not to say I have not unintentionally made new friends along the way in my life, but it is usually through an already established friend. Well, this is a new town, province, coast, and country, I was far from established.
It is so hard and strange to go out into the world as an adult and try making new friends. Like, where do I go? The bar, the library, ask my waitress at the restaurant if she is looking for friends too? Compliment the grocery cashiers nail polish and ask if I can go with her to her manicure appointment? Cruise craiglist, tinder, or bumble? So weird, so awkward, so ridiculous. Talk about getting humbled.
What I did do was cruise groupon and “cherry blossom” came scrolling past my screen. I was intrigued and followed by the thoughts in my head giving me every excuse in the book as to why not to go or try something new. I have always watched the girls pole dancing on instagram being so pretty and flawless on the pole. I always thought it would be really cool to try. So why not now?
The truth is I was afraid to try it. Everyone was going to better than me, they would judge me. I would leave feeling bad about myself, and most importantly this would not help me with my lack of friend situation. I like to admit when I am wrong, like that one time I got married (shout out to my fellow divorce’s) but man was I ever wrong about this.
Pole dancing has lead me to the most wonderful, interesting and beautiful people. The studio is my new playground where there are countless friends to be made. Deep and meaningful friendships have absolutely began to blossom and will only grow over time.
Last year during winter I hibernated, feeling sorry for myself. This year I am part of community that is supportive and loving. The girls I have met here encourage you, inspire you and always help celebrate your victories and accomplishments. We really care about each other here at Cherry Blossom Studio so if you are feeling lonely, and want to meet some new friends this winter season come see us!
Being a Lebanese Pole Dancer
Deciding to use pole dancing as my main fitness routine was the best decision in my life. Deciding to tell my parents about it… not so much. Growing up leb was filled with awesome food and very arab family outings (going on a “picnic” at a public park with your 30 cousins, eating grilled chicken skewers with hummus and tabouli, and watching the adults smoke shisha hoping no one notices how extremely loud we all are), however growing up with Lebanese parents meant never doing anything outside a family setting. And if you ever did anything behind their backs, best believe you got a beating for it.
My parents wouldn’t let me go anywhere until I turned about 17 years old and even then they forbid me from having a boyfriend until I was in my second year of university. However, now they constantly hound me about my love life and my entire family (including grandparents, aunts and uncles) are praying for the day I get married.
I believe my childhood made me stronger and probably more rebellious so I always wanted to try different things that were considered controversial. Now, my parents have chilled out over the years and are a lot more open minded. That is, until I told my mom I really wanted to take pole dancing classes. She was pretty easy going at first but when I said I was going to continue taking classes and wanted to work at the Cherry Blossom Studio, her first words were “YOU BETTER NOT BECOME A STRIPPER”.
It took some time to convince her (by some time I mean about a year) I was not going to be a dancer but that pole dancing was a fun way to workout. I kept showing her the videos I took in class and practice sessions and slowly she started accepting this new way of working out. She will actually tell family members that I take pole dancing classes (If you’re not leb you probably don’t get how insane it is for my mom to tell my family that I’m basically being a fake stripper twice a week) and she is impressed by my progress, enough to give me a compliment every once in a while that doesn’t consist of comparing me to a monkey (That’s also my grandmothers favourite thing to do). To be honest, I consider myself lucky because it could be so much worse!
Even if you have strict parents or think what you are doing won’t be accepted by certain, it shouldn’t be a reason for you to stop or not try. Also, in time everyone starts changing their opinion if they’re exposed to it enough. I would have never tried pole dancing if I decided to let my parents opinion stop me and I’m so much happier for it. Just do you and the rest will follow!