Aarifa’s body undulates like a wave on the pole, twirling on it with seemingly effortless grace. She looks like a strong woman, her moves reflecting the power her body exerts as she pole dances. 

The art of pole dancing still has dubious connotations and is commonly associated with strip clubs. Aarifa Bhinderwala from Mumbai, shatters all these myths simply by embracing her body and her love for the form of dance. 

Her roots are Bohri Muslim, but since stereotypes dictate that they be covered up, Aarifa clears the air by saying that her sister dons a hijab while she wears clothing required for pole dancing. As common misconceptions about clothing abound, many can’t understand that a person’s psyche can’t be evaluated by their clothing. 

Aarifa was going through pre-menstrual depression when she stumbled upon pole dancing. Though she wasn’t serious about it initially, the dance helped revive her and connect her with herself. Comfortable in her skin, she portrays the fact that sexiness isn’t just a body image, it’s about how you feel within your body. Pole dancing, a naturally sexy dance form, liberates many women of their inhibitions about the way they look and how society dictates that they carry themselves. For Aarifa, dancing makes her feel buoyant and free and she’s helping many others feel the same. She teaches the art in Mumbai to students who are learning to feel confident about themselves and their bodies.

Watch her talk about her experience in this video:

The only thing stopping you from being completely free, is you.