ChaCha meets Yoga

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It’s been about three years since I competed in Cha Cha at ballroom competitions, but this lively, Latin dance keeps a place in my heart and in my playlists! It also does wonders for livening up a quick-flowing yoga class or inspiring students in my YogaFitness class, which is a fusion of bodyweight strength-training and yoga poses.

During one class set-up, I actually set the high energy mood with a couple of Quickstep selections (a dance I currently compete in):

“Can’t Touch It (Radio Edit)”         Ricki-Lee

“Cool”  (West Side Story)            GLEE Cast

And, another class, while students set up mats and claimed their spaces, I set the pace with two pop selections from my playlist for running:

“Shape of You”                                   Ed Sheeran

“Chained to the Rhythm”               Katy Perry

Here are the Cha Cha selections:

“Walking on Broken Glass”           Annie Lennox

“4 Minutes”                                         Madonna

“Get Out”                                              Macy Gray

“Me, Myself and I”                             Vitamin C

“Fidelity”                                               Regina Spektor

“Smooth”                           Santana (feat. Rob Thomas)

“I Need to Know”                               Marc Anthony

“The Healer”                                        Santana

“Oye Como Va”                                   Santana

“Believe Me”                                        Fort Minor

“The Cup of Life”                                Ricky Martin

And, then, naturally because we have relaxation time at the end of class, some soothing, slow-paced tunes.

Namaste, amigos!

 

Badass Yogi

 

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Contorting into the most extreme positions requiring the core strength of a Hercules and the suppleness of a snake. Flowing the fastest. Sweating the most. Leaving newbs in the dust. Aching for days after class. Sound like yoga to you? In expanding to the gym environment, yoga has become, sometimes, just another notch in one’s Belt of Fitness Badassery. Darlings, allow me to say, this is a very bad idea.

There is strength in simplicity. Standing in Mountain, the simplest active pose, can strengthen the legs and the core through internal actions scarcely visible to the eye. Pressing into the feet, “lifting” the kneecaps, spiraling the thighs, expanding the distance between ribs and hips. Add awareness of the breath, soft gaze, fingertips reaching downward. Anyone can stand there, right? Well, mindfully? Relaxed but attentive? Athletes and dancers do it all the time. In the general population, it used to be called Good Posture. For most people, that went the way of cursive handwriting with the advent of all our digital helpers. The same helpers have many of hunched forward with an overstretched upper back, tight chest, rolled-in shoulders and collapsed belly. In psychological terms, it is recognized across cultures as the posture of defeat. It used to be a posture seen mostly in the elderly, the infirm and unwell. We see it now in the young. The collapsed posture charges a high price in neck pain, low back issues, even depressed mood. Mountain reminds us to lift skyward. When we are fully present in Mountain pose, how much more ease we have in moving into a pose that asks for more of us, as does Tree, when one foot is lifted and we must explore our balance.

There is suppleness within many ranges of motion. A student may observe the position at which I can turn out my hip but have no idea of how it feels to me or how their internal experience of the pose differs from mine. We cannot see each others’ hip joints! There is a variety of joint shapes that determine a lot about one’s range of motion. Many people, especially those with sedentary jobs or even fitness activities that are repetitive, may not use their individual range of motion to its fullest. This is something to explore, gently and with compassion for one’s body, through yoga. Pushing past one’s limits can do internal damage over time. It is not Badass to force a limb where we believe it should go in order to be correct or to succeed or even to win against other students. It is foolhardy. The no-pain-no gain ethos of some sports cannot apply here.

Can yoga enhance or increase one’s overall fitness? Considering that it began in India over 5000 years ago as a way of training up young men to be warriors,  it certainly can.  And, there are many different schools of yogic teaching that offer a variety of paths. Some purposefully more regimented or sweaty than others! Students may explore to find the format that resonates most, that opens doors to strength, balance, flexibility and relaxation. Raised on a Western diet of grades and medals and trophies, my own ego certainly enjoys a little massage when I do a pose that previously seemed impossible. In studying the philosophy of yoga, especially the yamas and niyamas, I am learning to view those moments not as triumphs of will but as evolution arising from stilling of my ego and increasing mindfulness. Every day on the mat is different. When I need to feel like a badass, I can throw some iron around in the gym. Mindfully, of course!

 

 

Dance! Enroll for Next Week

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Did you resolve to get fit and have more fun in 2017? It’s not too late to enroll in the next session of Belly Dance Fitness. The 45-minute class launches on Thursday, January 19 at 5:30 pm in the Dance Studio at Weinstein JCC Fitness center. It runs for 8 weeks and a coin dance belt is included with your registration. You do NOT have to be a JCC member to participate. There is a slight up-charge for non-members but the group rate is still a great price. For your eight-week package: $80 for JCC members/$110 for non-members.

See the flyer for enrollment details or click on the link below to sign-up:

https://weinsteinjcc.org/activities/cardio-belly-dance-1/

Resolved to Get Fit? TRANSFORM!

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Do it for your health. Do it for your mood and confidence. Do it for your loved ones — who want you to stick around as long and as high-functioning as possible. Do it for YOU! And, don’t forget the fun.

I’ve been working out and working in gyms for a long time now. As sure as 17 follows 16, gym membership and attendance swells on January 1. And, by February 15, it’s back to the regulars plus a few persistent newbies. Why?

It takes time to build a new habit, to release old habits and to entrench new, consistent behaviors. Along the way, if negative feedback outpaces determination, new habit is toast! Going too fast and too hard is the worst culprit. Zero to 60 does not work for the human body. Training must take into account where you are right now and lay a path, littered with happy milestones rather than painful injuries. The path to where you want to be must take into account not only your physical baseline but also your mindset. Habits of negative thought also hurt our health. There is no diet program or cardio class that can defeat negative thinking.

A positive mindset plus lots of movement plus nutritious food = glowing health. It looks good and it feels good!

Message me to start the New Year with a highly personalized Get Fit program done in your home. Avoid the crowds in gyms. Learn to Love Movement. Love Life. Love Yourself.

Click the LUVOptions Menu of Services at the top of this page to consider the options. ***YOUR FIRST BOOKING IS 10% OFF, IF YOU PAY BEFORE JANUARY 1, 2017.*** EXISTING CLIENTS EARN ONE FREE TRAINING FOR EVERY REFERRAL THAT PURCHASES A PACKAGE

Dec. Cancellation & New In January

Wednesday night Bellydance Fitness classes at DanceSpace in Richmond are cancelled!

Join me for a new round of classes at Weinstein JCC starting January 19, Thursdays at 5:30 pm. Enroll online at the link below or in person at the JCC and bring some FUN fitness into your New Year’s resolutions. You do not have to be a JCC member. There is just a slight upcharge for non-members.

https://weinsteinjcc.org/activities/cardio-belly-dance-1

 

December & January Classes

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This week, we finish up an 8-week series of Bellydance Fitness on Thursday evenings at Weinstein JCC. So much fun and so much sisterhood! But, wait, there’s more!

NEW this week on Wednesday, Dec. 7, a drop-in Bellydance Fitness class launches at The DanceSpace in Richmond, 6-6:45 pm. Drop-in fee is $10/class. Or, purchase a December set of 4 classes for $32. Bring your own coin scarf or purchase one at the door for $5. (Plus size option is $15. I sell the scarves at cost.) Women Only. No prior dancing experience necessary.

Coming in JANUARY 2017, another Bellydance Fitness 8-week series begins at Weinstein JCC. Mark your calendars and keep an eye out for the link to on-line registration, which is not yet up. Class will be held January 19-March 9, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. in the dance studio room at JCC. $80 for JCC members. $110 for non-members. (Coin scarf included.)

Jingle All The Way

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A super fun, relaxed lesson in belly dance builds bonds between women. Everyone is a sister on this floor. Share this joyful, playful, sensual expression of feminine creativity. Belly Dance began long, long ago in the community of women for women, all generations dancing together, growing stronger and showing off their sparkle and inner fire. Shake, shimmy, wiggle, jiggle and laugh, while jingling all the way in your coin scarf!

Team-building for Women, Girls’ Night, Ladies’ Only Birthday/Holiday Party or a Bachelorette Party are all great occasions for a single, 45-minute LUV Belly class. $15/person, minimum 5 people, includes a chiffon coin scarf. (Note: $10 upcharge per Plus Size scarf. I provide all scarves at cost with registration fees.) *Must be booked at least 10 days in advance. **Wear soft, comfortable clothing and be prepared to dance in bare feet. ***Zero prior dance experience needed.

*Photo credit: Jimmie Ransom