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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Thomas

Stretching Beyond Comfort Zones

There are a few reasons I didn't write this blog post several months ago as intended. For one, life gets busy, right? Two, I wanted to spotlight more alumni stories in the blog first.

But really it comes down to this... What will people think?

Did I really want to share images of me wearing purple Prince-inspired workout gear hanging from a pole? Will people wonder if I'm training for another career?

Ultimately, I assured myself that is the whole point of this post... to push beyond comfort zones and let go of what other people might think.

I love dancing and am always interested in learning new ways to groove to the rhythm. I also like that dance gets me to exercise without it feeling like exercise. I'd tried a mini-pole dance class at a women's retreat many years ago and enjoyed the sassiness of it. I'd intended to go back. Fast forward to this year when I met Jac, one of the owners of Expertease Fitness at a networking event. She gave me a free pass to come check out a class. It was exactly the nudge I needed and I found a friend to come along with me -- Beth also happens to be my Nia instructor and a 50 Fun Things alum. (Tip #1 for stretching beyond your comfort zone: Invite someone along with you!)

Before I left, I weighed my options for what to wear. I picked out an outfit that felt silly but also inspiring. I've always been inspired by how Prince pushed himself to explore new directions with music and style. (Tip #2: Don't take yourself to seriously. And Tip #3: Wear something that helps you feel inspired and more bold.)

I arrived at class early to settle in. (Tip #4: Not feeling rushed helps you to adjust to a new situation.) I picked a pole in the middle but back row so I'd be able to easily see the instructor but also not be in the front row as a newbie.

I introduced myself to the instructor, Myss Angie and was pleasantly surprised that she was the same instructor I had at the retreat several years prior. Myss Angie has also been a lifecoach but said nothing has ever gotten her clients to a point of confidence and self-acceptance as quickly as teaching them pole dancing.

I believe it has to do with stepping outside of a comfort zone, connecting with your body and feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment to have tried something new and daring.

As class started, I appreciated seeing people from various walks of life and abilities. Perfection was not the goal. Challenging ourselves and having fun were most important. (Tip #5: Let go of perfection and self-judgement.)

As you can see from this video, I learned some basic moves that are far from perfect. You can also see from my smile that I had a blast and I will be back.

What is something you've been wanting to try that is outside of your comfort zone? Try out these tips and I'd love to hear from you about what you do!

Expertease Fitness offers alternative fun fitness classes and is located in NE Minneapolis. The same owners, Jac and Red bring their unique energetic flair to Minnsky Theatre with experimental empowered theatre, musicals, dance, comedy, circus and vaudeville. Try something new and add these places to your 50 Fun Things chart!

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