What is Trauma-Informed Pole and how do we implement it?
About a year ago, I met a wonderful woman by the name of Samanatha King. I actually met her through the Pole Sport Organization competition circuit. She starting speaking about trauma-informed pole instruction and immediately my heart and mind struck a chord..."THIS...THIS is what pole has been for me. I see this, I speak this, I relate to this more than anything I have every in my entire lifetime." It was as if I was speaking a foreign language for so many years, to then finally understand what it was I was actually trying to say.
I am a person who has unfortunately, like many of us, experienced a large share of trauma in my lifetime. I understand what it is like to have a trauma-response to things, especially things that scare me. Pole used to scare me, especially at the time when I was in the middle of a traumatic experience joining pole for the first time.
Pole is scary, it is intimidating, it is daunting, and it is freeing and incredibly ego boosting and crushing ALL at the same time. We know coming in for your first class, seeing others in small shorts and just a sports bra can be intimidating. When I set out to create Altius, I kept this in mind as I created the studio. In all of our classes, we aim to create a safe space where you feel welcome, encouraged and with people who you can trust.
Our studio is small, but welcoming, our lighting is soft and natural for this reason as well. We aim to make sure you feel in control of everything that you do here and when something does not feel comfortable for you, you have the ability and control to say "NO". We give class plans in a way where if you are not comfortable or ready to do a move, you have options to change, remove or modify it so that it fits your needs. Our choreo classes all have options to increase, decrease, remove, or ad lib moves in them. All of our staff are trained in trauma informed pole instruction by Samantha, and are taught to ask permission before touching you, empower you, understand that you may have trauma that you are healing, and to ensure we don't do anything to re-traumatize you in the process.
I am someone who has learned within the last year that I suffer from ADD. It was sort of a surprise, but also another AH-HA moment for me when I started reading into late-female adulthood diagnosis and how much it made sense. I found that pole was a sport and a therapeutic expression for me and helped me regulate myself and normalize. Not that I am saying it will do this for everyone. But that pole helped me with a lot of things in that regard, and we hope here at Altius, pole helps you with whatever it is you may be going through in your life.
The only thing I encourage when you come to Altius, is to leave behind and outside of that door all self-doubt, self-hate, bad talk. Give yourself a chance to be vulnerable.