Sooo... I've had a couple of questions about the dance fitness classes that I have been doing. I'm going to do my best to describe them.
Zumba is my main love. I can learn dance moves and get in my cardio. This helps distract me from the thought of actually working out. I've learned that different teachers have TOTALLY different styles. Of the three teachers I work with most, one is very Latin-inspired with tons of sexy hip movements, another is into Reggaeton- very urban with some street influences and the third is a gal from Brasil who combines Brazilian and Latin dance with strength training movements and hard-core ab moves (she totally kicked my butt last night).
I have also done Zumba toning, which is very much like traditional Zumba plus hand weights a bit like maracas. This increases the resistance of the movements and after a class, I can especially feel it in my arms and abs.
My studio also offers Hip Hop, Belly Dancing and what I consider "specialty" classes like Flirty Girl and Tutt your Butt, which focus on working specific areas of the body in a sexy, burlesque kind of way. I have sampled some of these classes and have enjoyed them all.
I have found that I prefer classes where I feel that I can follow along and maneuver my awkward-feeling body in a way I feel is successful. Some classes are tougher than other and it's good for me to know that there are always new challenges that I can take on.
There are spin classes too, which I hear are great but I'm not sure I'm quite ready for them. Eventually...
I have also been doing Yin Yoga every other Sunday. I refer to this style of yoga as "lazy yoga" because it involved a lot of sitting or laying down. The focus is really about stretching- deep stretching- where you find a way to acknowledge difficult poses, as well as easy ones, and work through them, creating space in the spine and throughout the joints.
I have found this class to be transformational- for my body as well as my mind. It is almost metaphoric for my life, finding ways to acknowledge and deal with the challenges that each day presents, but also finding a way to not give in and face the difficulties, working through them.
We are led through the various poses with low lights and a soft voice. We end with Shavasana- laying on our backs, focusing on the thought for the day and what we have just accomplished with our bodies. To me, this is meditative, allowing me a opportunity to not only work my body, but then appreciated it and myself.
Every other Sunday for me consists of both an hour of Zumba and then an hour and a half of Yin Yoga. I call these my ZOGA days. This is my ritual, my church of self-awareness and healing.
Overall, the benefit of these classes is that I can focus on learning the moves and perfecting the "dance" or the "pose". I can loose myself in the music or the meditation. I do not have to pay attention to "working out," the number of reps I perform or getting my heart rate to a specific point. In a nutshell, I love it!
I think that's what exercise should be all about. Finding something that you love that moves your body This engages you and keeps you interested to do more and take on new challenges; learning about yourself and what your body is capable of along the way.