Since I have been reading blogs and watching podcasts and youtubes of late, I have come to the conclusion that my writing style is more about my sensory experiences. I am an artist and a scientist so my notes and mind organization have components of both. I love bullet points. I love simplicity in graphics. I love emotional words. I love the tactile qualities of “seeing and touching” what I am reading. That being my preface, have I mentioned that I love teaching Zumba? This is the ultimate of seeing, hearing, feeling, bumping, moving, sweating, yelping, playing in community.
Here is my thinking: What is not to like? I get to listen to music I like. It is like dancing in my kitchen. I get to wear comfortable clothes. I get my sweat on. I love to dance and shake my sh… it feels good way down in my viscera. I love the sensation of my psoas vibrating to the depths of the bass in the tunes. All the folks I zumba with are kind and playful. I don’t feel judged for having fun or forgetting a step. Zumba does not feel like exercise and I don’t consider it exercise. Have I told you that I don’t like to exercise? ..I like to play…exercise in my book is “should work”… googled play:
- engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose. “the children were playing outside”
- synonyms: amuse oneself, entertain oneself, enjoy oneself, have fun
I consider it playful movement. I feel I help others to feel goodness as demonstrated by their whoops, hollers, sweaty smiles, belly laughs, beautiful shaking, high fives. I imagine all of us splashing in the goo of the good-feeling hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin is the hormone of love and community. Oxytocin is contagious and spreads easily. I’m sure you have seen that Coca Cola commercial of one person helping another stranger on the street pick up their papers flying out of their brief case. Other onlookers, begin to help. Smiles start to happen. Then an elder needs help across the street and someone who witnessed the flying paper incident with all hands helping, gladly stops their direction to help this elder across the street…the chain reaction of kind deeds continues as the camera pans up to the sky with the Coca Cola bottle fizzing. Hokey. And I do not condone Coca Cola at all. I think Coca Cola is evil stuff. I think the Coca Cola marketing team understands human nature and the strong effects of Oxytocin.
Being a body geek, I know that joy is good for holistic health of any being. I also know that repetitive movement can be hard on the muscular skeletal system yet each dance offers the opportunity to move differently by virtue of the uniqueness of each song I choose. I know that my heart rate fluctuates with each dance and more contemporary movement thought is this is healthier for the heart than sustained-even-tempoed “cardio”. Taxing the heart and then resting and bringing the exertion up and resting is good for us.
I’m sure you have heard me yell “ breathe through your nose” or point to the nose after each song. Zumba is also an experience that can help us oxygenate all our cells—good stuff in, bad stuff out, which is optimized by nasal breathing.
Doing Zumba can also boost your metabolism. After a nice session (I’m talking about mid day sessions) is the optimum time to sit and eat our largest meal of the day. Our metabolism is revved. This is the time (between 10-2) that our bodies are built to eat. We feel good and happy hopefully, so food will be digested even more efficiently.
I just listened to a podcast on Alzheimers disease. The good news is that we can “prevent” the progression of this scary disease through eating healthy, getting good sleep, and moving. From another study, dancing, the communion of movement with music with people, is a winning combination to stave off the affects of Alzheimer’s . Who knew that “good medicine” came in a dancing package?
Now I haven’t addressed injuries. Have you noticed I’m not jumping so much anymore and my choreo is pretty low to the ground—I’m not a Tigger type but more of a “get low and groove” girl. Dancing is not about perfection during this era in my life. Dancing is about the playful movement and community that feeds not just my body and mind, but feeds my soul. Yeah, that’s it, I love soul food.
Recap: Zumba is so much for me, from play to soul food. I invite you to come play in a Zumba class or a dance class.