The Importance of Play
Written by Peta Howlett
In the modern world, we live at such a fast pace that it’s easy to get caught up in the rush. Our lives become more and more hectic, as weeks turn into dashes from work to the supermarket, to eat and sleep and do it all again. Our weekends start to shrink and as we slide into a slippery slope of exhaustion. As a female entrepreneur, business owner, coach and mentor, I’ve learnt first hand how easy it is to slide down this slippery slope, and I’ve seen many of our students go down this same path.
One thing that often gets over looked is the importance of ‘play’. I experienced this first hand recently whilst having a pole jam with our team in the studio. A ‘pole jam’ is an opportunity to simply play, try different tricks and be creative. It is moments like these that time stands still; minutes turn into hours as we get lost in ‘play’. In moments like this, I am reminded to make time to do what I love, simply for no other reason than because I love it.
As I look back at my journey, my original attraction to pole was fueled by this love of play. Playing with different pole moves, playing with variations, playing with regressions and progressions, breaking down different types of movements and to simply be creative.
So exactly what is play?
‘Play’ is a time to forget about your work commitments, a time to remove structure and let yourself be creative. There doesn’t need to be a point to play, other than simply having fun and enjoying yourself, simply give yourself permission to play.
Dr Stuart Brown (link https://www.ted.com/talks/stuart_brown_says_play_is_more_than_fun_it_s_vital?language=en) from the National Institute of Play defines play as something that is done for its own sake. “Play” is voluntary, satisfying, and offers a sense of engagement into what it is that you really love. In these moments you lose sense of time and the act of play itself is more important that the outcome.
I remember back to the early days before opening the studios. I’d fallen in love with the sport of pole, and also loved what it did for women. I lived and breathed pole and simply couldn’t get enough of it. I loved learning a new move and being creative. I also loved to break down and analyze human movement. Then something happened along the way. I remember making a conscious decision that if I wanted to open a studio I needed to take my training seriously. I needed structure, I needed discipline and most importantly I needed to take things seriously.
Something happened as part of this process, the fun was taken out of simply playing. I started to really not enjoy my training. Training was no longer an opportunity to develop, learn and create; instead it carried with it an expectation. I realized that I’d unknowingly made a decision that took away what I love, the ability to play.
After this realization I made a decision to do what I love simply because I love it, for no other reason but simply that I loved it. I still live by this philosophy today. Everything I do, I do because I love it. You’ll find me in the studio teaching classes (which I absolutely love), chatting to students (love it), helping others achieve their goals (love it), jamming with the incredibly talented team of instructors (love it) and growing an amazing community just for women (LOVE IT). I also made the decision to never stop playing. To this day I love nothing more than breaking down and analyzing human movement, and working with mindset to help our ladies achieve things they never thought possible.
How to keep the playful you alive…
Identify when you are in these moments of play and make sure you allow time for them. You need to prioritize more time that allows you to reignite your playful self. You can even integrate these playful moments into your day: at work, home etc.
Make sure your life doesn’t become overly serious. Allow yourself to let your hair down. Give yourself permission to simply play.
How to reignite your playful self…
Take the time to sit down and think of what playful activity makes you happy, then go out there and do it.
- Get together with your pole dancing buddies and work on some pole moves.
- Create a pole dancing routine (you never know one day you may want to perform it).
- Go to the local trampoline park.
- Go indoor rock climbing.
- Go play basketball.
- Challenge your partner in a game of twister.
- Go build sand castles on the beach.
- Play with your dog at the park.
- The list is endless…
Remember it’s not how good you are at these activities; it’s about simply playing and having fun.
Peta is the founder of Studio Exclusive Pole & Fitness Studios. Peta is National Level Fitness Judge, Qualified Personal Trainer and Health & Fitness writer.
With almost a decade in the pole and fitness industry Peta combines her extensive experience and specialized knowledge with an absolute commitment to transforming the minds and bodies of women as she awakens the potential in each and every individual.
Follow Peta @studioepole