Pole Fitness in Egypt: Impacting Mental Health in a Positive Way

Pole Fitness in Egypt: Impacting Mental Health in a Positive Way

Credit: Manar El Mokadem

There are many modern-day remedies that help us deal with personal pain and anxiety, but it is up to us to evaluate which way suits us the best.

Pole fitness has emerged as a popular activity and occupation both in Egypt and across the world. It can be considered a form of art and exercise, but provides you with a very different experience than going to the gym. Going through the movements must be done consciously during pole class, your body and mind must be in constant communication with each other.

Pole is not just about strength but coordination too; in order to master the movements and become a professional, you will need stamina, flexibility and muscle endurance. Execution is one thing, but performance is another. Coordination is key, and elegance is born out of your persistence to keep twisting and twirling.

I learned how to improve both physical and mental aspects of my life at Pole Fit Egypt (PFE). I wanted to shed light upon this experience, so I spoke to Mint (Manar El Mokadem), the CEO of the studio.

Credit: Manar El Mokadem

Mint’s journey is ten years in the making: “Pole found me in 2010 after I moved to the UK to study interior architecture at university.”

She initially joined a student pole society in order to meet new people and make some friends, but quickly grew more committed and began teaching classes after only a year.

Mint’s personal relationship with pole has transformed over the years: “In the beginning it was more about learning rather than working, but as a studio-owner turned instructor I now give more than I take.”

In spite of this, Mint is still provided with rewarding experiences and anecdotes. One of Mint’s fondest memories includes working with a girl who was scared to begin classes, one who had had an accident during her youth that had left her paralysed with fear and unable to do certain tasks. Within months, her attitude completely changed and through pole she conquered her fears and built a strong and healthy relationship with her body. She re-learned how to drive and swim, life itself transformed for her. Mint revealed that “by trusting in yourself and your ability to achieve, you open yourself up to a wealth of possibilities.”

Pole fitness has a fantastic ability to release endorphins, and its untapped potential as a mood-booster is often overlooked. Some may see it as a quick escape from everyday anxieties, but with commitment it can have a long-term impact upon one’s mental health in a positive way. Pole is both a coping mechanism and a way of realizing your aptitude for undiscovered talent and tricks. The journey itself is empowering, and the eventual outcome can resolve any doubts you had about yourself.

Credit: Manar El Mokadem

Pole is unique in the way it makes you believe in yourself and your capacity to master certain movements; in the beginning you might think these moves are impossible, but this subsides with time. However, sacrifice comes with success, and sometimes bad days can affect your overall performance in the classroom. Pain becomes a source of transformation and self-improvement; for the path to flexibility is a painful process.

Pole also teaches you patience, and the different ways you can harness pain as a means of transformation – but this shouldn’t go undocumented! It’s crucial to photograph your progress along the way, for tracking your improvement is just as important as improvement itself.

Regular classes at Pole Fit are open to all ages and backgrounds, making it accessible if you don’t have a physical injury (you can always take special classes if you do!).

Contrary to popular belief, people of all shapes and sizes can begin pole classes. PFE is also available in three locations across Cairo; Sheikh Zayed, New Cairo and Garden City – it is also not the only place to practice pole, more studios are opening up across the city.

The atmosphere of positivity is constantly upheld by the inspiring messages students share with each other. PFE is seen by many as a sanctuary, and this is something I can personally vouch for. Mint taught my introductory class last month, and from the beginning I was made to feel completely at ease with myself and my surroundings. All women are made to feel comfortable in this unconventional space, something I found truly refreshing.

My time at PFE empowered me; it wasn’t uncommon to see women, often strangers, supporting each other with words of encouragement. I will leave you with one piece of advice; make yourself feel better by trying something new. Practice makes perfect, you won’t be sorry if you open yourself up to the mental benefits of Pole Fitness.

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