This stretch helps to open up your hips and shoulders, while providing an excellent stretch for your hamstrings. It can also help improve your balance and core control while pole dancing.
The Pole Dancer stretch is based on the "Dancer" yoga pose, so if you're familiar with that pose (or asana) just follow along and keep your dance pole handy!
To begin, stand 2-3 feet away from your dance pole, and grasp it with your right hand for balance.
Lift your left foot behind you, and grasp your ankle with your left hand, palm out.
Next, straighten your right knee and kick your left foot back into your left hand.
Hinge at the hips to bring your upper body towards the floor, and slide your right hand down the pole.
Your support hand will help provide balance if this stretch is new to you.
This set of Pole Dancing Fitness DVDs has more stretches,
plus cardio and toning exercises too!
Once your upper body is parallel to the floor, or when you've come forward as much as you can, you can try releasing your grip on the pole so that you're balancing on your own, even if just for a second. Your neck should be in a neutral position, with your head in line with with your spine.
Keep your right arm stretched out towards the pole, and if you feel like you're going to fall just hold on again. Gradually your balance and core strength will improve and you'll be able to do this stretch without any support.
There's a lot happening during the Pole Dancer stretch, so take it step by step and you'll get it! Just keep kicking back and reaching forward. Your right leg will get a deep hamstring stretch, while your left shoulder and hip will be opening nicely. You'll also be working on core strength as you stabilize yourself.
Once you're feeling a comfortably deep stretch and you've had a chance to practice balancing, it's time to change sides. Come out of the stretch slowly, trying to hold onto that same balance and control. Then change sides and repeat with the other leg.
Using your dance pole to perform this challenging stretch allows you to have support while you develop balance. Many people find this stretch especially challenging, so having extra support can make it do-able, and give you a starting point from which you can progress.