I facilitate workshops. They might be writing workshops or self-care workshops or workshops on a variety of topics. One strategy I like to use is called “20 Loves”. It comes from Sid Simon’s work on Values Clarification.
After jotting down 20 things I love to do, in no particular order, I think about them and what they mean to me. For this next Writers of Kern Blog Challenge, I’ll be writing about some of the items on my 20 Loves list.
I look around the room, full of bodies gyrating to the loud, pulsing beat that streams from the overhead speakers at BodyX Fitness in Bakersfield. I’m the oldest person in the group. But that doesn’t stop me from circling my hips, shaking my shoulders, or rolling my torso. True, I don’t look like the girls in the videos, or like my classmates or the instructor up front, but I am having fun. I am in the mix. On Zumba days, I look forward to going to the gym. It’s so much fun, like a party, I forget that I’m exercising. Some of us even applaud after each song.
The first time I heard about Zumba was a few years ago when a Bakersfield yoga instructor, who was also a belly dancer, told a few of us that she was taking classes to become an instructor. “Zumba? What’s THAT?” we asked. The following summer, my first taste came in Paula’s class at Downtown Health & Fitness in Coos Bay. That day, I fell in love with Zumba.
The music may be Latin, pop, country, hip-hop, contemporary, or folk. We’re doing dance steps -- salsa, cumbia, samba, merengue, cha-cha, and mambo -- alongside exercise moves like jumping jacks, squats, and bicep curls. Belly dance moves and folk dance steps infiltrate the choreography. Each number is choreographed by our instructor, or by those great Zumba fitness dancers in the sky, specifically for a particular song. But, each leader, and each participant, brings her own flavor to the routine.
|Nicole's Friday morning Zumba class|
Courtesy of Nicole
In an hour of non-stop movement during Zumba, a person burns from 350-700 calories. It all depends on the effort she puts into it. Higher jumps and steps and larger movements use more calories than if one’s feet stay close to the floor. Zumba is forgiving; all styles, all ages, all levels of athleticism can join in and get a workout that’s just right for them.
At the end of one recent session, our 40-something instructor, Nicole, plays her cool-down song. Elvis’s voice serenades us as we slow our steps to match one of his hits. Surveying the large, sweaty, smiling group of women, I think, I’m probably the only one here who saw Elvis in person on his first national tour back in the 50s. I recall that day filled with the screams of crazed teen-aged girls, including mine.
Nearly sixty years later, I remember his hip movements and figure Elvis would have loved Zumba, too.
~ xoA ~