I have been learning so many new things lately, I feel like my head just *might* explode.
In a good way. :)
Tonight I had Zumba. This was the first week I have attended both classes in the same week in...well, let's just say it's been awhile. It was a blast. I noticed on Tuesday night and again tonight that I have had a lot more enthusiasm and energy. Wednesday I was feeling it, though--we did a bunch of squats and my glutes, hamstrings, quads...you name it, if it was part of the lower half of my body, it was sore.
I tried blaming the pain in my lower half on our new kitchen chairs that are not quite as comfy and...well, "broken in" as the old ones (I sat in them for about an hour after working out), but when the stiffness/soreness continued throughout the day Wednesday until I went for my C25K training session, I figured that Zumba was to blame after all.
Tonight, though, we had a side door open. Normally we keep the door open for ventilation, but tonight it was open a little more than usual. When we do our Zumba class, we are in the gym of our church, up on the stage. There is a divider that is pulled across the stage so that those playing basketball cannot see us shaking our tail feathers. We meet at the same time as Upwards Basketball, a program for kids who are in elementary school and want to learn some new skills. Occasionally we get a little audience, but they typically lose interest pretty quickly and/or they get called back over to their basketball practice.
Tonight, there were three little girls who were ever so interested in what we were doing. There was one using a smartphone while we were doing a belly dancing song and all I could think was "Please, Lord, do not let her figure out how the camera on that thing works!"
For those of you who don't know, Zumba can be a little risque at times...there are lots of songs that involve hip shaking, thrusting, shimmying and other moves that are otherwise not very appropriate for a church setting. It took me a few weeks to get over the fact that I was doing those moves, let alone seeing some of the ladies I have grown to admire in church attempting those same moves.
So, you can imagine how the dynamics change when there are little kids trying to sneak peeks at you while you're dancing. I was so torn tonight--I wanted to set a good example of what a woman should do with her body (and not do the more sexual moves so enthusiastically) and wanting to show them something else, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what that was.
Until towards the end of class, during one of my favorite songs, when there was just one little girl mimicking us and dancing her little heart out in the hallway. I could see her out of the corner of my eye and as we were spinning around, and she was having such a blast doing the dance moves. The joy that lit up her face as she moved her little body was priceless. And it took me back to a time when I was younger, when moving my body was something that I loved to do. It took me back to a time when I didn't think of dancing or aerobics or swimming as an exercise, but simply as being "play time".
I used to get up early in the morning, pull on some tights, a leotard, and (yes) scrunchy pink leggings on my calves and I would exercise along with Mickey, Minnie and other Disney characters on "Mousercize".
And I had fun.
Until just this past week, I thought of (but wouldn't have admitted it) exercising as being a chore and, let's face it, a bore. But this week, something clicked. And I'm not entirely sure what it was. Perhaps it was the fact that we have had more sunny days with blue skies this past week...or perhaps I'm just pushing through my third week of doing the Couch to 5K program and am finally settling into a routine.
Whatever the reason, I have been loving moving my body this week. And exercising hasn't been as much of a drag. Yes, initially it can be quite hard for me to get my butt into gear. But, I'm learning to override the nagging voice in my head that tells me that I have other things to do, "better" things to do than to take that hour or hour and a half and exercise. I have been ignorning that voice, throwing on my workout clothes and heading out the door to get started before the voice settles in and makes me decide to stay put.
It feels so good to be moving my body. Stiff and sore though I may sometimes be afterward (I don't think my hips have recovered yet from the workout they've been getting this week), I wouldn't trade the great feeling I have while working out for anything.
So, if there was something I could have told my little six year old self or those little girls who were spying on us tonight...or the one little girl who chose to dance with us in the hallway, it would be this:
Never, ever forget that moving your body is fun. Never, ever forget that it is a gift to be able to jump and run and wiggle and play. There are so many people out there who want to do nothing but be able to move around and play like you can. But they cannot. Cherish the gift of movement that you have been given in your body.
So rather than seeing a class full of women shaking their booties in a church setting and being scandalized by it, I would say to those parents who would object to what their kids are seeing that those same children who are watching us move our bodies are watching people who are using their bodies to the best of their abilities. That movement is a gift that we are celebrating through dance.
And to bugger off.
Oh, wait, that wouldn't be very kind.
Um...to come join us and see just how much fun moving their own bodies could be.
EDITED TO ADD:
I thought this was a highly appropriate fortune to receive in my cookie on Sunday night, given the discovery I made this week!