The Sube y Baja Story
My Relationship with DANCE, YOGA and POLE throughout the Years and How it Shaped Sube y Baja
By Maggie Sargent
"I Could Never Be a Dancer"
Back in 1998, as an 20-year old college student in Rock Hill, South Carolina, my friends called my home "Maggie's House of Dance" because I lived with four dancers. I loved dancing so much, but I wasn't trained as one. I was studying marketing, but in my heart I really wanted to be a dancer. I always felt a little left out; like becoming a dancer was never something I could actually do, even though when I was dancing I was the happiest.
I finished my degree in Integrated Marketing Communications with honors, and went on to event planning with the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association, and eventually got married and started my own ad agency "Pure Creative."
'Yoga Healed my Heart"
Almost a decade later, I just turned 30. I was not in a good place emotionally or physically. I went on a wellness retreat in North Carolina in 2009 to try to 'get my life together', when someone named Sarah showed me "crow pose." I was a challenging posture that required strength and balance, and I could not believe that I could do it!
This was the first time I had done yoga; I didn't know anything about it before then. Growing up in the country in an extremely religious environment, yoga was presented back then as a 'new age' negative practice that 'went against God.' But doing the pose made me excited and gave me confidence!
During this time I was in despair over the loss of my childhood religion, and amidst a divorce. I like to say that "yoga saved me" during this time. The postures and the breathing techniques helped me so much, and I knew that someday I wanted to share how yoga helped me relax and get strong despite the pain in my heart and what seemed like all around me.
In 2011, living the 'hussle life' in Los Angeles and dreaming of being a filmmaker and actress, I got certified in Yoga in 2011 from Yoga Works after a generous contribution from my parents, which was so nice of them. They are small business owners from Buffalo NY and I knew they didn't have a lot of extra money at the time, but they wanted to help me. I am forever grateful for that. I trained with amazing teachers Joan Hyman, Jodi Blumstein and Maria Zavala, my mentors, where I learned Ashtanga yoga and vinyasa flow. I am also so grateful to them and the things they taught me about music, and eating well too, during my time in Los Angeles.
It took me four years to start teaching after my certification because I was afraid of hearing my own voice. I felt like an impostor, trying to teach something that so many others were better at than me. But I got a teaching job anyway in 2015, and although my voice would shake every class, I pushed ahead and got better. It is a funny story to tell that during my first paid class I scraped my left ankle on an unfinished gym step and I have a large scar for life there. A scar from yoga! That is a new one.
After this, I went on to teach all over Los Angles and became better and more confident at my craft.
"Pole Dancing is Scary!"
In 2014 I moved to Philadelphia to manage Helium Comedy Club, having moved from Laugh Factory in Los Angeles and then Chicago, whereI was the Head of Operations. Managing comedy clubs and coming up with new comedy show ideas was my beloved career for many years.
But when I moved to Philadelphia, I didn't know anyone and was scared by the job, the move, the cold, the possibility of failure. One day I passed by a pole dance studio that intrigued me, but it took me weeks to go in because I was too scared of the girls inside. Would they be nice? Those heels looked scary. I could never do that. The doubts ran through my head.
One day I went anyway and fell in love with pole. Almost immediately I saw the changes in my body and how it made my confidence better. My favorite teacher, Jules, ended up opening her own studio Pole Haus for many years in the Center City. I watched her success and saw how she impacted many people there. From that day on, I knew pole--and the community it drew-- would be an important constant in my life forever.
"Learn through the Body, not the Brain -- Blue Brick Road"
After moving to Puerto Rico on March 13, 2020, the world shut down. I had just left my apartment in LA because I didn't want to be stuck in a small apartment with my two roommates (and their boyfriend and girlfriend that were always over), during a pandemic. So I bought a one-way ticket to Puerto Rico, not knowing what was going to happen, or how I would make money. But as I tend to do, I decided the risk was worth the possible future reward.
Once again I found myself in a place where I didn't know anyone. I missed my home yoga studio Yoga Works, where I trained and studied at up to four times a week before the pandemic.
I had just come on vacation with my friend Jenna to the island two weeks before I moved. I remember when my foot hit the blue brick road on Calle Cruz, a voice popped in my head that told me "you will learn things here through the body here, and not the traditional route of the brain." I really didn't know what that meant at first, except that there was something to learn here that would come into my understanding in a way that I did not expect.
"The Lesson Comes when the Student is Ready"
This lesson did not come right away. Two days after I moved, we were on a curfew of 5pm. I was so lonely and felt like I was going crazy. I questioned my move. Why did I listen to that voice?! I fell into depression for many months and "lost my practice," until one day I passed by the studio on Fortaleza -- which was empty and white at the time -- and I had a vision to begin a studio there. I remembered my new friend Lady Lee who owns Poets Passage said to me once, when a building glows at you, that is how you know it is right. And 251 Calle Fortaleza did that to me! So I contacted the owner and began plans to make it beautiful. I envisioned it not only as a studio to train people in pole and yoga, but also as an art project where people passing by on the road would be inspired by the beauty of the environment and people they saw inside.
Up until this point I had been teaching periodic yoga in La Perla on a patio in front of a famous surf spot called "Sube y Baja," which means Up and Down in Spanish. I decided to call my yoga business that because it stands for the up and down of the breath, our moods, and life in general. That phrase always helped me remember that in life if I feel "up," I know that eventually, a "down" time will be coming. And when I am down, I know I will feel up again. This philosophy has helped pull me out of depression and lead the life I want to live and share with others.
I now wish to inspire others to be their best, most confident self. Yoga, Pole and Dance do this for me, and it is my wish to share that with others. The teachers and students we attract at our space are very special, and the community is beautiful and strong. I hope you will check us out if you are here in Puerto Rico, or visit someday.
I wish you peace of mind, clarity & inspiration in all your creative pursuits. You can make your dreams come true, even if the timing takes longer than you initially thought.