In the interest of time, I decided I’d break up my story into a few parts! Here’s part one, beginning at a huge turning point in my life…

I moved to the Central Coast of California in January 2008. It was a big move for me, coming from the LA area. I’d never lived outside of a 20 mile radius, Burbank being the center of the circle and where I spent most of my life. I had an amazing group of longtime friends there and I knew where everything was! Now suddenly I was in this beautiful place, but I had to search the Internet for where the closest grocery store was, and I most certainly didn’t have any local friends. That left a big hole in my heart, as I was used to regular meetings with my girl troops down south. I was homesick and sad, and I started gaining weight.

My weight gain made me seek out forms of exercise. I had a gym membership but I never liked their yoga classes. Yoga has a deep internal part that was just missing at the gym, so I looked for a traditional yoga studio to attend classes and I found one very close to my house. The teacher was amazing! The yoga was physically intense (I had never sweat so hard in a yoga class) and I could tell she was into the spiritual aspect of what was going on. There was a great vibe in the studio, a very calm and nurturing environment.

There was one detail, however, that was a little bizarre. It’s not a huge studio, so I thought it was weird that there were three poles in the middle of the room. My first thought was definitely not about pole dancing. In fact, I couldn’t imagine what they were for, so one day I asked a fellow student… and couldn’t have been more shocked to learn their purpose! She had been taking the pole classes and positively gushed about them.

I had a few thoughts: “I would never, ever do that but good for her!”, “That will never take off around here, every one is so uptight.” and “Really. Really? For reals?” It just seemed so different and out of place, especially in the town that I live in. Coming from LA, which isn’t really the hotbed of righteous behavior, I was shocked that her studio had not been firebombed yet by religious fanatics. That gives you an idea of my impression of my new surroundings.

The student continued gushing about the program, and this benefit and that one. Finally she said one that caught my attention, “I’ve gotten a lot stronger and have even lost some weight!” I was willing to try anything to lose the pounds I was packing on at an alarming rate, so I signed up for the intro class. I was proud of myself that I had such an open mind, willing to give this obviously crazy (and possibly insanely slutty) deal a chance.

And then I went to the intro class.

to be continued…