Thursday, July 31, 2014

Biking To Zoomba

One great pleasure that is relatively new to me is my biweekly zoomba classes at the West Seattle Y. I have done aerobic dancing before as far back as when I was living with Sherry Cole in East Lansing, but not lately. A year or two ago I resolved to get more serious about exercising, at which I had completely slacked because once I bought this house in West Seattle, it was too difficult getting to the morning classes in downtown Seattle that had previously been so enjoyable.
I dutifully zoomba'd away for a while trying to copy the class leader's motions, and getting enough exercise I suppose, but not really enjoying the frustration of mirroring (...except for the Bulldog song "Don't Stop The Party" - that one's dance logic just suited me well!) One day I noticed one of the expert dancers - a remarkably tall woman who had clearly done plenty of ballet - was going beyond the instructor's moves to throw in some extras of her own. That's when it struck me: this was dancing, not merely callesthenics to music, and that means I should dance.
I have danced enthusiastically and badly since my days at Exit Seven, where we would go to Dr. Deegan's after performances and close the place down. I simply not skilled or interested in rote repetition of structured moves (....something that hampered my aikido career as well....) but when I give myself permission, I can caper and gambol with wild abandon for hours. Giving myself permission to do so at zoomba was liberating.
Suddenly just another class became a source of joy, and much more effective as an exercise as well. It's dancing! My dancing is not precising what the instructor is doing. I try to capture the essence; top priority is not running into the others on the floor, and giving them confidence that they can do their dance without worrying where I am next. But my physical expression of what I see the instructor doing is highly ideosyncratic and I no longer worry about that.
This frees me to concentrate on getting exercise.
One other point is that a lot of dangers worry too much about what the extremities are doing, perhaps because they are easy to see. That's fine if that's your priority, but for expression and exercise it is more important to get the core going in the desired direction. The feet will place themselves as they need; they've been doing that for decades and really don't need the brain to help with that.
Finally, it is just silly to drive to the Y for exercise when it's a perfectly decent bike ride. When time is short, driving is necessary - especially when I've been working in Seattle and stop at the Y on the way home. But biking to the Y  is a nice warmup. It also connects me to the community and the outdoors in a way driving does not.
The only downside is that it's a looooooooong ride back. I'm tired, and there are hills. However the hills can all be conquered, and I'm getting better at it. By the time I get home, I'm just about ready for bed after posting in my journal.
That is all.

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