Chapter 27 in this shitty book called “Cathy looks at everybody’s gorgeous pole photos on Facebook and Instagram all day but can’t so much as pull a pair of pants on because her shoulder sucks and wants her to be weak and sad”: not only have I not been firing the right muscles to protect my shoulders (as noted in an earlier post), I… can’t fire them.
That’s right: I’m not using the right muscles because I… can’t?I didn’t know this until two physical therapists put their fingers on my back in different areas of my left lat, rhomboid, and lower trapezius and asked me calmly but firmly, over and over, to move their hands. I couldn’t. Not only have I not been using these muscles properly to move my shoulder blade (kinda important to get your arms over your head, let alone put your body weight on them in this position)… I… can’t use these muscles at all, really.
A couple of things: 1. holy fucking shit god bless physical therapy. I never would have figured this out. And YOU: learn from this! If your shoulder hurts, or your toe hurts (like my boyfriend’s, recently), go to the doctor. Chances are, the problem is NOT the body part that hurts. For me, it’s apparently nerves in my back that need to be stimulated (??? this is not the right word but they scraped and tapped me with an instrument I didn’t really see a whole lot). For my boyfriend, it was a tight hamstring and an old ankle sprain (????). This stuff is wild, you guys.
2. Wow, this really underscores the importance of good instruction for me. For years, I’ve heard “shoulders down!” and mimicked this movement by rolling them down and back. This achieves the appearance of engaged shoulders, and looks pretty for stuff like belly dance. But for pole, “shoulders down” should mean blades retracted and pulled together. My amazing flex teacher (Emily at B&P, check her classes out!!) does a great job of explaining movements like this and will give tons of visuals and stuff. But enough of my other teachers have let everybody get by with VISUALLY retracted shoulders that I now have a shitty bad habit of rolling them back while not “pinching my angel wings together.”
Now my upper traps are so dominant and knotty and my mind/body connection is so weird and distorted, I can barely perform this “pinching” movement properly on my good (right) side, and almost can’t do it at all on my left.
Honestly, I’m not mad at it. I’m so glad to know what the hell’s wrong, and to have some idea of what needs to be done next. I’m reenergized and more committed to training strength and flex, going to PT, than ever. I’m grateful I discovered this before my bad habits became much worse, or maybe ended my ability to dance altogether.
So I’m doing that, and I’m also taking some time out to enjoy life and physical activity OUTSIDE of pole. It’s summer after all, so hiking, swimming (although I’m not allowed front crawl :|) and getting back into flexibility is what I’m about right now.
I’m actually getting kind of into softball:
SPEAKING of the great outdoors: NYC people, if you have a means to drive and you like camping, there’s an AMAZING campground 2.5 hours away that’s 1. remote, quiet, and full of trees, 2. has gorgeous views (check my pics below), and 3. has running water/showers/NO OUTHOUSES (dealbreaker for me… *shudder*). It’s called Mongaup Pond and it’s honestly better than many of the campgrounds I’ve been to deep in the adirondacks, which is straight up shocking.
How’s everybody’s Spring/early Summer so far? How’s training? Or are you also on hiatus and living life for a while? #balance
Drop me a line, I feel horrible FOMO-ish about everybody’s pole stuff 🙁
Anywhere, here’s camping pics!