Shots for everyone. I’m buyin’.

Zumba @  ClubSport: “Shots” … and two things:

 

1) Doesn’t the instructor look like Martina Navratilova? 

2) I’ve always enjoyed dancing to some of the nastiest, grinding songs ever in classes 

where I know some of the people in that room would not stand for it in any other environment
: ) . 

*         *         *

To listen to the audio version of this week’s post, click the pink icon.

 

I got licensed to teach Zumba in 2013 after falling in love with it as a student in 2011. It was having its hot-hot-hot moment in the fitness world back then, so I got curious, and blasted off from there.

Going to class was pure joy for me when I found my neighborhood studio in 2011, and it quickly became a big part of my life. 

I actually had to make myself not go every day of the week because I loved it so much (no recovery can = no dancing).

I also found a community of women there, and that kept me coming back. We were like the group in the video: high energy, happy, hilarious, welcoming  — and lots of random yelling. 

It’s 9 years later, and I still know the women I started with at New Leaf Fitness. We check on each other, even if it’s through social distancing in the studios these days.

When I finally became an instructor, I was figuring out how to make up my own choreography, as well as picking up amazing songs and routines created by instructors around the world.

A 5 minutes old Zumba instructor & my first fitness mugshot (2013).

 

When I happened upon the “Shots!” video on YouTube, I probably watched it at least 25 times that day.

It wasn’t so much about the song and the choreography (lots of fun); it was also the joy and energy in that room that you can feel, even though you’re not in that room. 

Most of all, though, it was the gentleman with the white tee shirt and white hair near the back of the room.

I watched him over and over again, and I’m sure (#becauseme) I cried a few times.

I loved seeing him show up, and he crushed it in that class.

I have taught and participated in high energy, dance-based fitness classes like this one for over 10 years. A class like that is about 45 – 60 minutes of non-stop cardio.

It’s definitely smiling-and-laughing cardio— but you’ll also bend down to rest your hands on your knees, take some breaths, and go right into the next song — doesn’t matter how old you are. 

As far as I can tell, Mr. White Shirt gentleman was on-point and in the zone. He didn’t bend down and grab his knees one time.

When I came across this video in my “favorites” the other day, I watched it again. And again. 

I stopped to ask myself what else I was seeing besides dancing. 

Why would I listen to the same song and watch the same synchronized movements over and over again — and 8 years later? 

I love watching this man because dancing is about our bodies releasing joy that cannot be contained.

Joy that cannot be contained. 

For the love of all that is holy, if there’s anything we could all use right now, it’s a surplus of joy. 

I want to access that physical conduit to joy no matter how old I get, or which parts of my body still work (or had to get replaced). 

Put me in a wheelchair if you must. I’ll make it extra with sparkly beads, faux fur, and mag wheels — and enjoy taking up space. 

I haven’t felt my best lately. 

My body is a stranger to me in some ways because of some new health issues.

My brain is overloaded with ambition and exhaustion. 

I am somehow avoiding and procrastinating in epic form … and doing the best work of my career so far. 

I’ve whined about all of these dichotomies and said to my husband (more times than I’d care to count), half jokingly, and half feeling sorry for myself: 

“You know what I am unfailingly good at? Even through my arthritis or depression? Even when nothing else is clear? 

Fitness. Working out. 

That’s it

That’s all I got.” 

Except … that’s not “it.” 

That’s not “all I got.” 

When I am moving, I’m drinking from the world’s greatest well of “there’s more where that came from.”

It’s not about some kind of competition with myself or others, my form, or how far I can run (I don’t do that anymore). It’s not about a centeredness on my body as a measure of worth.

It’s about what I see in my gentleman friend when he dances, and what I need now more than anything:

From the book The Joy of Movement by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.

 

Our bodies are our home, and we get to build a lifelong relationship in that home. 

How amazing is it that I can do something as simple as taking a stroll, and my body is generating the gifts of hope, pleasure, energy, purpose and courage?

We keep looking for what’s outside of us to give us those treasures, but we’ve had them all along. 

In 2020, a trip to the grocery is more than checking off a list; there’s a strategy involved. Our mobility is constrained because of the pandemic. 

So, whether it’s a stroll, a Peloton ride, or a class in a parking lot, just show up and get started. 

You’ll know you’re in freedom when you move.

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