Wake Up Call! Message to my Zumba Peeps
A Special Message to my Zumba Students & Friends:
There IS such a thing as too much of a good thing. And I mean a genuinely good thing... I’m not talking about binging on bon-bons. I’m talking about a thing that lights you up from the inside. Dance does that for me. Movement and the liberation it brings. I can honestly say that it has saved my life on more than one occasion. But that story is for another day...
Most of you already know that I love me some ass shakin’. My specific passion has morphed throughout the years (Nia, martial arts, hoopdance). Since January 2009, it has been Zumba.... liberating, joy-inducing, wild-woman, sensuality-celebrating Zumba.
It does a body good. To a point.
What lights you up can burn you out. Choose moderation.
Experts say that moderate exercise can boost your immune system and contribute to overall health. Moderate, folks. Now call me crazy, but 7-9 Zumba classes a week isn’t exactly moderate. As you know, Zumba is a crazy fun, all-out booty blasting workout that pumps high-energy from minute-one all the way to the end. Sure, we build in some dips here and there. But there is no room for deep breathing. Interval format, yes. Restorative movement, not so much. Heads up, ladies (and you rare but fearless hip-girating gents)... ya gotta balance your muscle with grace. I don’t know how many times I’m gonna have to learn this one. And you can step down from your pedestals mind-body practitioners... even modalities that promise both (ie. yoga, Nia, hoopdance) can be overdone in spades due to our incessant desire to push it to further limits. Trust me, I have severely scalded myself on all counts. Thankfully, my body is sending me a very clear message once again...
After three years of pretty much non-stop teaching each week, my immune system is crashing. Big time. I have been sick more in the past year and a half than I have in the ten years prior. No joke. My body is in crisis-mode, and I have no choice but to listen. Of course my dance schedule is not solely at fault. Far from it. As a multi-passionate entrepreneur I have created a rigorous work schedule for myself, balancing paying the bills (working late into the night) with building a business during the day. Add to that loss of a dear loved one two years ago, and you’ve got a prescription for an emotional and physical body teetering toward imbalance. Oh, and did I mention that my diet could also use some improvement?
Hang out long enough on the edge, and eventually you’ll fall over.
As a result, I will be altering my schedule and my priorities, effective immediately. I will be going down to teaching only four classes per week. Yep, I’m gonna workout like a civilian. ;) And I will also be taking of August 5-11 for my birthday and some much needed me-time. Damn straight, and I deserve it! I know some of you will be disappointed at the changes, but I can promise that the space afforded will expand into into bigger projects that will inspire you on every level.
The biggest change will be at NW Women’s Fitness Club, where I will no longer be teaching regular classes. I have been with some of you ladies for many years, and I will miss you dearly. I have received a tremendous amount of love and support in that space, and I am a better woman for having known and danced with you all.
As many of you know, in 2009 I launched the Zumba program there. It has been a massive success, an achievement that continues to be a highlight of my teaching career, even winning me an award! And now that same program has grown to include a magnificent team of women who are passionately committed to your fitness and fun-time. That being said, I want to use what limited authority to offer a couple more very important reminders to all of my students out there.
First let me say that I appreciate SO much your words of praise and love around my teaching. After over a decade of teaching and sharing what I love, it moves me to tears to think that I have such a loyal and grateful following. I truly savor each and every moment of celebration for the talents that I’ve worked so hard to develop.
On the flip side, it pains me when I hear that other teachers are being held to unfair standards. Don’t get me wrong, ladies... feel free to like what you like, speak your mind when you don’t get what you want... but please, let us remember not to alienate ourselves from connection by attaching ourselves to one way of doing something. It is perfectly natural to be attached to one teacher’s style, to resonate with someone. And it is also unreasonable to expect (or desire) that someone else emulate it. I passionately believe that every person has a unique gift to bring to dance and teaching. Please don’t miss all that good stuff oozing forth right in front of you by wanting him or her to be someone else. I am sure you know from a lifetime of relationships, that doesn’t bring out the best in anyone.
You will see better when you expect better.
In my early days I was the studio manager and primary guest teacher for Nia’s founders. It took a tremendous amount of personal power and courage for me to step up in front of a room full of people who expected me to deliver at the highest standard possible; to stand in and hold a candle to the experts. At times, I could feel boredom and eyes rolling behind me. I imagined thought bubbles popping up over the students’ heads: “I wish Debbie was here.”... “Has it been an hour yet?”... “Who IS she and why in the hell is she doing THAT?” Of course some of this was nerves and may not have been based in reality, but it zapped my energy and my joy nonetheless. I never taught at my best when I was distracted by an air of disappointment in the room. I eventually learned to plug into the students who seemed to want to be there... the ones who genuinely wanted me to succeed. By anchoring into my peeps, I regained my center and found my own style. Over time, the people who didn’t vibe with me moved on, and I slowly developed my own following.
The point is, if you want to see ANY teacher at her best, flash her your most winning smile... cheer her on and mean it... take charge of your own joy... lift the energy in the room. That gorgeous creature in front of you has every right to shine in her own way. Please do your best not to inadvertently make her wrong for her uniqueness or her learning curve. She is doing her very best to serve you.
That being said... if, by chance, her style isn’t polished enough or just doesn’t sit right with you. No problem! But please check-in with yourself before you make it about her... or the management... or about anyone else. It’s your experience. Own it. Speak your truth without complaining or making anyone wrong. Own your right to make a choice, and walk on. Or better yet, keep experimenting with an open mind until you find a right fit!
When you own your experience, THEN you have the power to change it.
Ok. I will step from my soapbox now. ;) I just hate for you to miss out on all the magic of the moment by wishing it could be different. It is a wonderful feeling to be appreciated by you all... yet my most heartfelt desire (far beyond fame or accolades of any kind) is to inspire you to live and walk fully in your power. That is my real work.
I love you all dearly... and my heart aches a little in the letting go. But such is the price of change. I am 100% confident (seriously, I am that certain) that we will all gain something in this transition. IF we are open enough to see it. As always, I welcome your comments below. xo!
And if you like what I bring to class, you will love what I bring to coaching. Why not spend some quality time with me one-on-one? As an incentive, I’ve got a deal that will knock your socks off...
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