Friday, July 23, 2010

Um, I'm not sure I'm ready for the free dance

One of the best things about my gym (shout out to Ladies Workout Express in Toco Hills) is the wide variety of classes it offers. From spinning to step and Zumba to yoga, there is something for everyone.

Last Friday, I tried a new class called Nia. According to its website, Nia is a “dynamic blend of dance arts, martial arts and healing arts…Balancing technical precision with free-form expression, Nia brings the body, mind, emotions and spirit to optimum health through music, movement and self-expression, guided by the sensation of Pleasure.”

And yes, that’s pleasure with an uppercase P. Nia laughs in the face of the “no pain, no gain” mentality with a gentle, barefoot class designed to awaken your senses.

They only offer the class once a month at LWE, so last Friday after personal training with Jessica, I took off my shoes and joined in the, um, Pleasure.

So, here’s something about me. I’m kind of a hyper person. I don’t do yoga or Pilates (though I know they’re both fantastic workouts) because I’m not so good at the quiet, meditative stuff. So when our instructor plugged in her twinkly lights and started the class by asking us to focus our energy on the triangle we formed with our hands in front of us, I was a little worried.

There were lots of heel-toe steps (“Feel the sensation of your feet upon the earth,” she told us), cha-cha-chas and twirls. And then there was the free dance.

“Step left, left and free dance, free dance!” our instructor told us she shimmied and waved her arms around her.

I looked around and attempted not to giggle at myself. I tried to feel the music. But sadly, my idea of a free dance involves a little hip shaking and dropping it like it’s hot to “Baby Got Back.” (What? I went to college in the ‘90s.) This wasn’t quite so bootylicious.

Then there were the cat claws. Our teacher told us to put our hands out as if they were claws and pounce—cat-style—to the front and back of the class. I have to admit, in my head, at least, I let out a silent little cat screech even if I was smirking at my instructor’s truly impressive feline impression.

At the end of the class, we stretched, which was a nice way to wrap up a Friday evening class.

“I want you to picture your favorite color. With each inhalation, I want you to imagine yourself more and more bathed in that color,” she told us. I pushed away the image that I was swimming in a sea of Pepto-Bismol as I became further saturated in pink.

To wrap up the class, we refocused our energy on our triangle and clapped three times. Though it was entirely out of my comfort zone, I felt relaxed, yet energized.  My body had a nice little buzz that I felt the rest of the night.

The moral of this story is simple: Never underestimate the power of the free dance, my friends.


Kendall said...

A tip of the hat to you for branching out (and for what sounds like keeping a straight face almost the whole time.) I'm proud of you!

P.S. Let me know when you find your spirit animal.

Anonymous said...

Why does this give me Austin Power's flashbacks...."You're an animal. Now be a lemur, baby! You're a ring-tailed lemur." LOL! Keep up the good work!!!

CD said...

Just reading your blog, I was giggle outloud throughout - so much so, that my husband, totally engrossed in something on television, looked up and asked me what I was reading that was so funny!!! Yea for you for branching out!!! LOVE IT!

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