I’m currently using 3 studios to teach in while I continue to search for my dream studio. Each of my studios are great for different reasons and they also could all be improved. They are all great for teaching in but they still don’t quite feel like home for me yet.
The thing I hear so often in class is ‘I wish we had mirrors’. This comes from all levels – absolute beginners on their first day right through to the advanced classes.
Do We Need Them?
When I started to learn to pole, I didn’t learn in a room with mirrors and also didn’t give it much thought. It was only when I had been learning for about 4 years that I was in a room with mirrors, and they were very small and you couldn’t really see your whole body in them. Even now in my pole room at home, the mirror is not in line with the pole and so every so often you get to see your foot – but that’s about it!
I then started training by myself in a gym with mirrors. These were great for being able to see my body alignment for certain moves and poses but I certainly never thought of it as essential. I’m only now thinking more about it as I wonder if it would benefit the students in class.
While training by myself I learnt to rely on the mirrors without even realising it. I would make sure that I ended up facing the mirrors so that I could check out my posture while inverted. For certain moves like a Straight Edge, these were great as I could see how straight my body was and I then managed to add on transitions easily as I could see in the mirror where my body should go.
This was great in that studio but as soon as I tried it at home, I wasn’t sure where my legs were going! Without even realising, I had become dependent on the mirrors and couldn’t feel where my body needed to go. It then took a lot of retraining to regain my confidence and make sure that my body was straight.
Despite ending up relying on the mirrors by accident, I still managed to get into the moves confidently with my body in a perfectly straight line. I think mirrors can be great for showing if you are in the right place. It also gives you confidence in knowing where to put your limbs in order to nail the move!
As I haven’t always had mirrors, I have never really thought of them as essential. I’m the kind of girl who thinks that all you should need is a pole and yourself! Obviously there are things that can be of benefit but anything more than that is not crucial (other than mats in class!)
It was amazing to see the first class that I moved into a studio with mirrors. At first they were all really excited, if not a little shy, despite having poled for many months already. While warming up they were all looking away from the mirror without even using it!
This was an advanced class and consisted of spins, climbs, seats and inverts. At the end of the class I asked them what they thought of the mirrors and if they liked them. All of them said they forgot the mirrors were there and didn’t use them! And some of these people had been asking me for mirrors for a year!
The idea of using mirrors is great but the practicality is somewhat different. When you are spinning it can be hard to watch yourself in the mirror without getting dizzy. It is likely that you will also try to keep your head facing the mirror while you spin which will also change the alignment of your body and can change your spin.
When you climb or sit, using the mirror can show you your alignment. It is generally easy enough to see your body while you are trying these moves. When doing anything slightly more advanced like a layout, plank or cross knee release, you might find that you start spinning when you are first learning and end up not facing the mirror. With a little practice you can sort this out and use mirrors to help check out your alignment.
Inverting is the trickiest. You may need to try to invert a few times while you figure out the best way to face in order to get round the right way. This can be exhausting while you try to figure it out! It will make you very aware if you are spinning while inverting, which we don’t often realising.
When you eventually get up the right way round, you may then end up in a completely different direction when trying your move! You often twist and turn and then often need to look at the ceiling or floor to complete the move. It can be quite difficult to then look at the mirrors while trying to get your moves right.
That said, it can really help get your body in the right place and make sure your legs are straight, and toes are pointed – and for me, that is brilliant!
There are so many different pros and cons to using mirrors. I do like using them for certain moves to be able to check my body alignment. As long as you don’t rely on them, then all will be well!
Happy Poling 😀