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(c) 2010 Christiana Lambert

Patience may be a virtue, but not a natural one for me. But, hey, Life often just gives you opportunities to learn about the virtues you lack, right?

Although I am approaching three months since my injury, there are those in my family who might suggest I haven’t quite earned high marks in my patience tests. Still, I don’t think any of them would wish that I need to take more lessons in the subject—for their sakes as well as for mine.

Yet, I have been somewhat patient. After all, I didn’t stop moving. For every day I felt like giving up and becoming someone different, there were several more where I kept working through my exercise routines.

In the past week I have gotten a lot closer to forgetting the injury while in both ZUMBA and yoga classes. In fact, I left the trochanter belt behind for those activities. I surprised myself when I realized I wasn’t modifying my workouts any more than I ever did. In other words, I got sore from working out, not from being injured!

Who knows? Maybe it was the infrared treatment the chiropractor tried this week—if so, too bad we didn’t try that earlier! (Please forgive the multiple exclamation points. Trite though they may be, they are sincere reflections of my excitement.)

Now, I’m not exactly up to running a 5K, but I have added a few more minutes to my jog/run. I suspect my running will be the last activity to recover to former levels, but on the other hand, I do harbor hope that some of this rebalancing will eventually allow me to surpass my most recent running form, if not the running level.

At the same time, I have made it through sorting enough of my mother’s music that our household has been able to reclaim the family room floor space. Which means that, in addition to my feeling better, I also have the space again for practicing ZUMBA routines.

Perhaps this feeling of optimism led to my purchasing a docking/speaker system for my iPod yesterday. You see, I’m starting to dream again, both of maintaining my regular fitness schedule, as well as of becoming a ZUMBA instructor.

Actually, I’m really dreaming of not having to think so much about my body when I contemplate any of my dreams—whether or not they involve fitness.

And that, my friends, is that real fruit of working through the injury—that I didn’t give up on my life vision just because I ran into a very unexpected roadblock. I am wiser about what I can and cannot control and just a wee bit more patient than when I set out to get my puppy and returned with him—and the sore hips/back that gave me a chance to learn just a little bit more from Life’s lesson books.

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

Be glad I kept my laptop shut—or at least chose not to approach it last Friday. In general, my blogging policy is if I can’t say anything nice at all—or at least head toward a slightly positive ending—that maybe I should just leave my private thoughts, well, private. After all, I do know how to write by hand in a journal if I want to spew.

But I didn’t do that either.

No, I sat in my reading chair with the dogs (don’t worry, not until after I invited them, Mr. Behaviorist) and finished a book. As I reflected on facing the weekend with limited mobility and limited funds, I realized a trip to my local library could rescue me from a truly mopey fate. Thankfully, our taxes still support a superb facility that can provide entertainment to the poor and downtrodden or those just temporarily broke and grumpy, such as myself.

Unfortunately I ran into a longtime acquaintance when I was really not up for chit-chat. I was too busy wallowing in my supposed restricted future, thank you very much, to socialize.

“How’s it going?” she asked.

Ms. Grumpy replied, “My hips don’t work.”

Now, she’s known me long enough to know that I wasn’t talking about pain. Still, I wish if I were going to be so brutally honest, that I would have added something like, “And you know how I get when I don’t move.” She and I are both, after all, women of a certain age, who have experienced our share of physical downtimes due to injuries. We may have met on school committees, but we also run into each other at the local recreation center (another public-supported facility that has saved both my body and soul!)

Then I took myself, as well as a few books and a DVD, home to my chair where I lost myself inside someone else’s world—OK, not a world I want to inhabit. But hey, I wasn’t reading about my own murder.

The next day I woke up, hips aching, not ready to give up my grudge against Life’s newest twist. A few hours later, though, I’d kind of forgotten about the hips because they had started working better with little more than a B-Complex capsule.

Which meant my previous day’s conclusion—that life as I had known it was over—might have been a little melodramatic.

At the chiropractor visit the week before, I’d finally had success—my hips had not moved at all thanks to work with wearing my oh-so-stylish trochanter belt. That meant I graduated to wearing it less, as well as increasing my level of activity when I did wear it. I have to admit, I worked hard in my yoga classes with that belt. However, I did have to exercise in Deep Water class without it.

By last Thursday night, I could not even walk close to a normal pace as we worked with our dogs and the behaviorist.

On Friday, when the chiropractor asked how I was doing, I told him much better except for that walking thing—which was really not improving.

So he attacked the painful spots and then followed-up by having me lie down on the roller table where I also received more of the electro-stimulation treatment. Then he suggested I follow the session with a slow walk.

My fifteen minutes on the trail were excruciating while my stride mirrored the length of my foot. I just assumed that my hips had not even held half an hour.

“Gloom, despair, and misery on me . . .”

I’d forgotten the chiropractor had stated that in a perfect world I’d go straight to a deep tissue massage, not a walk. What I think I was really experiencing was a reaction to having the scar tissue manipulated—I know from doing restorative yoga that focused release of longtime toxins can initially cause intense pain.

Not only was I not sentenced to my chair for the whole weekend, but I also continue to notice improvements.

I think I am getting better.

Thank goodness I didn’t receive the new DVD/CD for ZUMBA instructors on Friday. I might have thrown it at the wall, but instead, yesterday, I got out the music, popped it in the CD player, and started figuring out which songs I plan to learn in order to teach.

My beat goes on . . .

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

Just been thinking about fitness lately—maybe because it’s April. The cliché about thoughts turning to exercise in the spring is often as true as the cliché of thoughts turning to love. People look in the mirror and suddenly realize they can’t hide in their layers anymore—at least if they don’t want to faint from heatstroke.

I meet so many women who aren’t as fit as they’d like to be or who are fit but don’t look that fit. Many times you find out they used to be almost overboard fit and are still mystified that the body facing them in the mirror is theirs.

Boy, do I get that. When you grow up slender and spend a lot of energy moving, sometimes it’s hard to realize when you have become far from slender and have stopped putting much energy into moving. What was maybe easy to do or find time for when all you had to do was think about yourself, becomes so much more difficult when adulthood’s real obligations kick in.

Which is kind of a funny thought because right now my exercise lifestyle seems pretty extravagant to most adults in my age group—as if I’m back in my adolescent period (although without quite the same results in the mirror!) Exercise has been my main self-care indulgence during these past years of intense care-giving and lack of time for self-focus.

Yet, I probably can’t afford to be a gym rat the rest of my life unless I’m going to somehow make it part of my profession. I’ve ignored too many real life obligations for too many years. (Nonetheless, here I am still not getting all my paperwork together so my longtime friend Kathy can help us figure out how to salvage our lack of financial planning . . .)

So, here’s a semi-secret: just over a month ago I took my ZUMBA instructor training—and then ignored it in light of all the real life drama. However, my ZUMBA instructor friends, Jennifer, Diana, and Karleen, are getting tired of waiting for me to practice so they can let me do a song in their classes. They say I just have to jump in to teaching.

But first (yes, I’m afraid so far there is always a “but first” with me when I start something new) I had to figure out how to set up a space where I can watch the DVDs and practice. It’s the technology and some long sad story about how the DVD player (and the replacement we bought) won’t talk to our TV, but the Xbox will play DVDs. Yet I am a little bit shaky about how to use the stupid controller to play the DVDs. Blah, blah, blah.

However, I have succeeded in mostly figuring out the system and have begun practicing. At the same time, my mind is filling with other musical choice selections and clothing ideas and trying to pin down how to share my mother’s rhythm instruments in a class setting.

Turns out, this also coincides with a week or so when I have felt stronger during almost all of my exercise times.

Still, I need exercise no matter if I am “productive” or not while doing it. Last week’s yoga classes brought me to tears without warning. Wednesday’s savasana tears told me how badly I was missing my doggie Fordham one month after his death. Then Thursday, strains of “Moonlight Sonata” came on in the background and I almost lost it mid-pose. When my cousin’s son Sam performed the piece at Mom’s memorial service, I listened dry-eyed. But in the stillness that is often yoga I finally heard all the sadness inherent in that most beautiful music.

These are not life experiences I had lived when young and fit. Then running was more a way to workout nervous energy and to deal with the ups and downs of a youthful emotional life. Now with so many more losses from longtime relationships, exercise is even more important to me—and no doubt to a lot of people as the years creep up on them.

The obligations of adulthood make exercise that much more necessary. It’s not really just about improving the picture in the mirror or even how the body works, but about finding something that helps get a person through what inevitably comes with later seasons of life.

That’s why I can feel the mission behind something like the ZUMBA fitness program. Oh sure, they’ll tell you ZUMBA class is a party—which it is. But more importantly, anything that gets people to move, despite life’s scars, has the power to create deep changes.

People arrive to their first classes, timid and afraid, believing in the permanency of the mirror and difficult life losses, but they start leaving happy in the moment. They jump back in the dance of life.

Count me in, too.

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