5 Questions with Emily: Work-Life-Hip Flexibility
Is your strong career focus at odds with achieving your pole goals? No time left in the week to hit every class you’d like to?
As a pole instructor/lawyer/mum/hip mobility queen, Emily Laura is no stranger to that feeling! We caught up this month to discuss all things about sacrificing salary safety nets for self-employment, the importance of freeing up time for the family, and how to keep your hips mobile in your muggle job.
Firstly, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your pole journey?
I’ve been pole dancing for 10 years now! It first started as a hobby. When I moved in with my now-husband, who I met at a BJJ club at university, I decided I needed a hobby just for me. So I joined an adult ballet class. As I was leaving that class, I noticed there was a pole dancing class in the room next door. I saw the instructor do an invert and thought it was amazing. So I signed up! It became very addictive very quickly. I brought myself a pole for home and would train every night after work. Two years later, I started teaching, and now, 10 years later I’m based at an amazing studio in Surrey, My Body Rocks, teaching pole, flexibility, and mobility. And I love it!
You made a massive career change – from being a Lawyer to Pole Instructor! What prompted such a huge change?
I made the decision to be a lawyer at quite a young age. I was 24 when I finished law school and started practice. Looking back, I wanted to be a lawyer because it was a prestigious career with good pay. I loved the academic side but the reality of working in a law firm was very different. At one point I was getting to the office for 8am and leaving at 2am. I had no life outside of work. And I wasn’t happy to be doing it. Quite frankly I didn’t care enough about my job to sacrifice my life entirely. I had started pole a bit before that time, and I really missed being able to train and being at the studio. I was planning combos on the journey to and from work and watching Youtube videos obsessively whenever I could (in the days before Instagram!) That was when I decided to start teaching. And I love teaching, I knew after my first class that was what I wanted to do more than anything.
After that, I left the London law firm and moved to a smaller practice in Surrey, which meant I could teach in the evenings. Then I moved to a firm closer to my home and went part-time allowing me to train and teach even more. After I had my first son, I decided not to go back to law. Arthur has a complex neurological condition, so he needs a lot of care. Working in law just wasn’t going to allow me to be there for him – I had actually asked my firm if I could go down to 3 days a week because of Arthur’s needs and they said no. So it was partly my love of teaching and partly Arthur’s needs that prompted the leap in the end.
What has been the hardest thing about making that change for you? Did it seem to be just a no-brainer at the time or was it a really difficult decision?
The fact that I had gradually built up my teaching whilst reducing my hours in law made it easier, I knew I could do it and make it work. Going part-time was a great way to test the waters. I also knew that I needed to be there for Arthur, so from that point of view, it was a no brainer. Teaching is so much more flexible and students are more understanding than partners of law firms.
The more difficult part was that the studio I originally taught for had closed when I was on maternity, so I had to start as completely self employed in a new studio. Luckily for me, My Body Rocks has just opened a full time studio 10 minutes from my home and I’ve known the studio owner, Sam, for quite some time. So I asked her if she had any teaching opportunities and now she’s stuck with me!
The hardest part was the money. Going from a well-paid job with security and benefits to self-employment is scary!
Emily and gorgeous lil Arthur - via Instagram @emily.laura_
Your students know that you love teaching all things flexibility and mobility (you can check out our free hip mobility workout with Emily here). What’s something that you always get asked about flexibility-wise/ what’s your best advice to people on mobility and flexibility journeys?
I always get asked how long will it take to achieve the splits. It’s a really hard question to answer. Everybody is different, both physically and mentally, so what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another.
My best advice would be to look at how your lifestyle is affecting your mobility and flexibility goals. I’ll use the front splits as an example (always a popular goal). You may really want to achieve a beautiful flat split position, but you may also work at a desk, commute by sitting down driving – or given the pandemic, rarely leave your house. This means that all the muscles you need for your splits are immobile for the vast majority of your day, which won’t help your mobility or flexibility. So I would suggest, as well as attending classes and scheduling in flexibility sessions, try to find ways to move your body throughout the day. Perhaps stand up and do some hip circles every hour, get up from your desk at your lunch break and go for a walk. Try to find little ways to keep your body moving throughout the day.
Via Instagram - @emily.laura_
Finally, we always finish on a fun question – if you were able to travel anywhere at the moment, where would you go and why?
If I could travel anywhere at the moment, I would go to Maui, Hawaii! My husband and I honeymooned there and just fell in love with the island. When (yes, when not if!) we win the lottery, we plan to move there permanently and build our dream house on the beach. I better go and get that lottery ticket….
We’ll be inviting ourselves round for a Hawaiian visit then! Make sure you check out our Hip Mobility workout with Emily here. You can also find her discount code for our store by following Emily on Instagram.