Pole fitness builds your core strength: Tania Sudan

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Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Neelam Singh

A lot is involved when you start to learn a new sport. Pole fitness in India was in a similar state when it first started. Tania Sudan started from scratch and is a self-made pole fitness expert. She gives us an insight into what it means to climb the totem pole and the hardships and rewards associated with it. In this exclusive interview with THIP Media, we celebrate her brilliant contribution to health and wellness in India.

Q. What inspired you to become a pole instructor?

Before I started my pole fitness journey, I was suffering because of poor health and was diagnosed with metabolic bone disease. This led to severe illness and later, I was in a hospital. It took me about three months to be able to properly walk again and this struggle led to the realisation of taking my physical health and nutrition seriously. I always had a fascination for pole fitness and started following pole instructors, their competitions, their fitness regimes and lifestyle. This gave birth to a dream. I was extremely intrigued by the sheer skill, hard-work, flexibility, strength and determination it requires to be able to do something as athletic as pole art. After a lot of research, I knew I had to try it, as my obsession had only increased over time and there was no other way but to give it a shot. 

Q. How would you describe the unique approach you bring to pole/aerial yoga instruction? 

Tania

This is a question best answered by my students but let me try to reply. I started watching tutorials online and bought instruction videos and manuals from some of the best pole dancers in the world and started teaching myself. It was extremely challenging to learn through videos by myself but now, I believe it was also a blessing as I had to be very focussed and body aware of my movements to avoid injuries as pole can be a dangerous sport. While teaching myself I learned from all the possible mistakes and how to avoid them. Since my fitness, strength and flexibility was absolutely zero when I started ‘Pole Fitness’, it helped me understand that I had to use alternatives or ‘off-the-pole-fitness’ regimes to strengthen my body and improve my overall performance. This, in turn,  as a teacher helped me to recognise what one needed to work on to be able to perform better on the pole.

It demanded a change in my lifestyle if I wanted to move forward and excel. So, I quit my job, stopped socialising, started getting rid of my bad habits one by one, locked myself in my room and dedicated hours, days, weeks, months to it. I was extremely passionate and would spend day after day locked in my room just trying to figure out new shapes and moves  while creating routines as well as working on my strength and flexibility.

Q. India has a rich history of yoga and holistic health practices. How does pole yoga contribute to preserving or evolving these traditional health approaches?

In India, the traditional practice of ‘Mallakhamba’ is about 800 years old and is still in use by wrestlers all across the country. ‘Mallakhamba’ refers to the pole used in the sport. Just as in modern pole dance and fitness, skin exposure was necessary to provide proper grip to the pole. Even though there were pole competitions, wrestlers mainly used the poles as a training practice to improve speed and develop coordination, reflexes and concentration. It requires and demands agility and precision while increasing the performers strength, flexibility and stamina. The modern approach has made pole more accessible to those interested in learning the sport or using it for holistic health practices/activities.

Q. How accessible is pole exercise as a form of yoga for people of different ages and physical abilities across India?

There are no prerequisites to pole. People of all ages, sizes, weight, and different physical abilities are welcome to try it. If you wish to take it up as a fitness regime I would advise to do complimentary workouts or ‘off-the-pole-training’ to maintain and increase strength while reducing the risk of injury as it is a demanding athletic sport.

I teach people of all ages, my youngest student was 6 years old and my oldest so far has been 62 years of age. My method of teaching definitely varies according to one’s personalised needs and goals but all ages are welcome.

Q. What are the unique benefits of practising aerial yoga compared to other forms of exercise?

Pole and aerial fitness is not only a unique form of exercise but also a comprehensive full body workout engaging muscles and moving/holding your bodyweight in positions that traditional workouts might not target due to which you can build muscle a lot faster and see the results. It effectively combines strength, endurance and flexibility all into one workout while toning the whole body. Pole focuses a lot on building core strength and its stability while increasing body awareness and developing a mind to muscle connection. Most people tend to find traditional workouts very monotonous just like I used to. However, pole and aerial fitness excites us all and becomes a tool that pushes us to stay motivated and take our health seriously.

Q. How can aerial yoga contribute to both physical and mental well-being?

Pole Art is a way to express artistic creativity as it combines physical fitness with dance and movement. Dance has always proven to be a therapeutic tool for emotional, physical and psychological improvement and expression. Aerobic exercises tend to stimulate the release of endorphins in the bloodstream which causes a sense of euphoria. This type of activity also strengthens the heart and improves the respiratory system. Pole dancing alongside increasing skin elasticity also helps improve posture and body alignment which in turn can help reduce the risk of injury. Last but not the least, mastering the art of pole boosts self confidence as it fosters a sense of accomplishment. Through the performance of sports drills and high intensity interval training, pole involves movements that stimulate the prefrontal cortex of the brain which involves complex thinking, multi tasking abilities as also helps in problem solving, memory and attention.

Tania

Q. What are some common challenges that students face when learning pole dancing, and how do you help them overcome these obstacles?

The most common challenge is, consistency and building a routine. It is necessary to understand that in order to move ahead in your pole journey, you must live a healthy lifestyle, master the art of repetition and focus on ‘off-the-pole-training’ as well as recovery so you can continue to build strength and progress without being injured. Nonetheless, I don’t expect anybody to take one class and magically fix everything for pole. Instead I want them to be open to a whole other surreal world of holistic health journey.

A lot of people assume they can’t do it after trying a few classes because they don’t want to work on other aspects to be able to progress. You have to be consistent and patient with your journey and your body will definitely give back in ways that will surprise you. I try to focus on these things with my students and help them build a routine off-the-pole while asking them to focus on having a balanced diet alongside motivating them to rehabilitate any previous injuries or health issues they might be dealing with.

Students tend to get impatient and want to learn a new trick without mastering the previous one. However, I refuse to let my students move forward until they master the previous move with precision. It not only feels easy on the body but looks beautiful and in flow too.

Q. Where do you see the future of pole dancing heading, and how are you contributing to this evolution? 

I feel extremely blessed to have pioneered pole art and fitness in my city–New Delhi. Though, during initial days it felt extremely challenging because of the common perception and lack of education towards the sport. Altogether, it only motivated me more to make people aware and hopefully help evolve their mindset towards it. I feel even more lucky to have converted my passion into my work. It gives me an opportunity to meet wonderful like-minded people and to teach this strong and beautifully ‘infectious’ art form.

In the last six years, I have taught over a thousand girls from all over India and the world. This has helped to build a strong and supportive community of women that motivate each other to build a healthier lifestyle. The plan is to continue to educate and bring awareness to all the physical and mental benefits of pole. I also want the community to grow as large as any other accepted athletic sport and hopefully to see it in the Olympics soon.

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Neelam Singh

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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Garima Dev Verman
Garima Dev Verman
A qualified and experienced dietitian, Garima is analyses and fact checks content around diet and nutrition.
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