To continue on our journey through different body weight training disciplines we’ve asked yoga guru, Ben Hemson-Struthers – who also dabbles in pole dance – to weigh in on his experience with the two.

Both require one to use their own body weight to get fit and strong, and both improve flexibility and balance. It’s also believed that both can increase one’s self-esteem and encourage a healthier lifestyle.


So, Ben… How did you get into yoga?

I started yoga about six years back. I really enjoyed connecting with people who were passionate about looking after their bodies and minds.

Not long after that I started with a daily yoga practice of movement and breath control and have seen an amazing transformation in the way I move and think.

Ben does yoga

Can you provide a brief background on your pole dance experience?

I think, as a straight man doing pole dancing, it’s not difficult understanding my motivation for joining a pole class.

I will say that I had a big ego coming into my first class, which was humbled straight away after I had my ass kicked by a group of strong and inspiring female polers.

I’ve kept up a consistent practice for about eighteen months now and have found it’s helped develop a different range of strength, which really complements my yoga practice and that’s what keeps me motivated to keep going.

A collage of Ben on the pole

Did you find that your background in yoga complemented your pole work?

Yoga definitely helped me develop strength and flexibility. I also love going upside down in Yoga and Pole!

In yoga, you develop strength by fighting the force of gravity doing handstands, jumps, yoga postures and binding your body with your arms and legs. This is similar to going onto a pole, so yoga definitely complements pole and is a nice way to learn pole poses safely on the ground.


Which discipline have you found more challenging?

I can’t really say which is more challenging overall. They both offer unique challenges. Yoga is more about finding the beauty within yourself, while pole is about showing off how beautiful you are (haha).

I find the idea of performing very uncomfortable, so doing pole on stage in front of an audience would be the most challenging! Also, yoga doesn’t prepare you to pull your body weight up, as most of the time you’re pushing down away from the earth so, the pulling strength was very challenging for me as well as very good to help balance out my strength.

Ben doing yoga 2

Do you have any safety messages with regard movements and gear for both yoga and pole?

Pole and yoga are actually quite simple in terms of gear. You just need a good quality pole (X-Pole provide the best poles in my humble opinion - safe and reliable) and with Yoga you just need a yoga mat. Safety for me comes with knowing yourself, your limits and how to lean safely into your limits and discomfort to slowly find grace and mastery.


Visit Ben’s website: Play Creativity

Or follow Ben on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


For more on our body weight training series, click here to take a look at our previous features on acrobatics and calisthenics

* All images courtesy of Ben Hemson-Struthers.

Date added: 03/14/2017