I’m always open to try something new (like the time I did naked yoga with strangers), so I wasn't surprised when I found myself in a pole dancing class performing in front of other women.

As I ungracefully swung myself around the pole without a hint of sensuality, I realized it wasn’t for me. While I have a great appreciation for the taboo form of dance, I'd much rather sit on the sidelines next time.

Read: I Went To A Coed Naked Yoga And Pilates Class: ‘It’s A Social Movement,’ Instructor Says

“When people first try it, they say ‘I feel so uncoordinated,’ or ‘I’m never going to do that again,’” instructor Jeanine Caparoso told Medical Daily. “But everybody grows to love it.”

She went on to explain how it’s a lot like taking your first yoga class. At the time, some of the most basic poses are difficult to tackle because they’re all new to your body, so there’s a lot of readjusting your hands and feet into the correct positions.

Similar to yoga, pole class began in a seated position on a floor mat, where Caparoso guided a group of seven students through a variety of stretches. After what felt like 20 minutes or so, we put our mats away and began to learn various movements and pole tricks. The studio, called Dakini Movement, was dimly light and lacked mirrors, which is uncommon among pole studios.

The lack of bright lights is one of the many elements that make Dakini unique, Caparoso explained. “When I started Dakini, I had this whole other vision for movement. It’s a yoga-based movement and takes a lot of practice,” she said.

Read: Pole Dancing Fitness: Weight Loss And Other Health Benefits Of Pole Exercises [VIDEO]​

Even for Caparoso, who grew up as a ballerina, pole didn’t come naturally. When she walked into her first pole class over a decade ago, she expected to quickly get the hang of it, but that wasn’t the case. It took her about six months to learn to climb the pole. She said after about the fourth class, the movements start to make a little bit of sense to students. In her New Jersey-based studio, the beginning program consists of 32 total classes.

So, maybe with some practice, there’s hope for me. The most difficult part of class was trying to remember the movements and keep up with the choreography. I’m sure if I had the slightest bit of rhythm or dance background, that would have helped. But, I don’t. One of the last movements we learned was the step-by-step repetitive motion it takes to climb up the pole.

“You’re so strong and are using too much effort to climb. Just do it like this so you have enough energy for tricks when you get to the top,” a student explained to me, as she easily climbed to the top of the pole.

While the class no doubt requires a bit of strength, it lacked the high-intensity aerobic movement I’m accustomed to. Also, throughout the hour-long session, I tried my best to dissociate the act from stripping, as I slid down the pole in short shorts and a tank top. For reference, wearing minimal clothing is completely necessary. If you're wearing pants and a long-sleeve top or even socks, it can actually be dangerous because you'll easily slip off the pole.

“I think the stripper stigma is going away, but at some level it will always be there,” Caparoso said. “It’s important to differentiate between a movement like this where you’re not performing and you’re just in your body doing it for yourself, and stripping where you are performing for someone else.”

When she first began pole dancing, she often wondered about the difference between the two, but now she thinks “how we are sensual for ourselves is much sexier than the contrived booty-shaking way that women move in the clubs.”

While pole dancing may not be completely dissociated from the late-night job, it’s certainly come a long way. It’s now a competitive sport with a federation (US Pole Dance Federation) that hosts competitions, attracting dancers from around the globe. Some pole enthusiasts are even pushing to have the sport featured in the Olympics.

“I don’t think it’s a trend where it’s going away, but I think for most people it is like a bucket-list item,” Caparoso said.

For me, it certainly was a bucket-list item. While I may or may not try it again one day, I don’t imagine myself ever participating regularly or substituting it for my usual high-intensity workouts.

See also: Pregnant Mom Proves She Can Still Pole Dance, Even While In Labor

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