Polga (pole yoga) is a trademarked exercise program that combines elements from pole fitness classes with Hatha yoga poses. The vertical pole adds a touch of fun and assists with alignment, stretching and strengthening in the poses while retaining yoga's meditative and relaxing aspects.
Yoga instructor Carla Mock created Polga in her Kansas City yoga studio. The basic concept, though, is not new. Dating to at least the 12th century, mallakhamb is a traditional Indian sport in which gymnasts hang from a vertical pole while doing yoga postures and other feats.
Polga Fit certifies instructors to teach the 60-minute Polga classes. Polga is designed to be appropriate for any fitness level. Polga classes vary in intensity and style from a power class to a session that focuses on stretching and relaxation.
While pole classes like Polga, pole dancing and pole fitness attract mostly women, men are beginning to discover the benefits of exercising with the pole. Some of these benefits include:
As a prop, the pole can be used to deepen the stretch in a yoga pose or to stabilize the body in the posture.