Anyone who knows me, knows that I am unabashedly, unconditionally, without falter, in love with and devoted to… Zumba. Now wait, don’t dismiss it just yet. Let me tell you how Zumba has changed my life, and not just because it has given my inner Latina lady her time to shine. I am going to tell you how you can find and maintain a form of physical practice that gets your motor going!
We have all made efforts at some point in our lives to be fit and healthy. Some efforts fail miserably, others soar. As a young girl in America, early on I decided I needed to be “skinny” and “pretty”. Not because I made this choice based on my own opinions, but based on what societal norms and expectations were suggesting to me.
More often than not, we as humans in a society driven by aesthetics, begin our journey down the exercise and diet path due to a desire to be attractive to other people, even complete strangers. But the truth is, what matters most is how we see and feel about ourselves. That should come from no one but ourselves. Sadly, this is often not the case. This is often why our efforts crash and burn. We seek fitness for the wrong reasons, and so the fire burns out.
As a youngster, I started out by doing my mom’s Richard Simmons Sweating to the Oldies tapes. My sister and I would invite our friends over and we’d boogie woogie in the living room to songs we had never heard, busting out moves that we would never do again in front of anyone but each other. This was mostly innocent and for fun, but even as 8 year old chicas, we knew we were “supposed” to exercise to be skinny, so we could win over the boys… or girls as I would later find out.
As I entered into later teen years, I began to take things a bit more seriously, sometimes too seriously. I exercised every day and I became angry if I could not get my work out in. I was eating only a banana for breakfast, a granola bar and apple for lunch, and Special K for dinner. My poor body was not getting enough of the right fuel to function. But hey, I was getting skinny so that was good, right? Wrong.
The efforts to maintain this lifestyle, faded like many before. For good reasons this time. My body needed more food, and your body talks… listen to it. I needed to develop a healthy relationship with exercise, not an addiction.
Then, one fateful day in my early twenties, I attended my first Zumba class. The high vibrations of the music, the shared energy bouncing off the walls and mirrors, people releasing their inhibitions to have fun and connect with the rhythm, I was in heaven. I fell in love hard & fast.
Since discovering Zumba and maturing into a young woman who finally grasped that I needed to improve my relationship with food and exercise, I have maintained a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. The practices I had implemented in the past failed for two reasons.
First, I was not motivated by genuine desire to do something good for my mind, body, and soul. I was motivated by vanity and societal pressures. In addition, I hadn’t fallen in love with my routine. While I looked forward to the result of exercise, I didn’t appreciate and enjoy the exercise itself.
Exercise is without debate, invaluable. It enhances quality of life far beyond physical fitness. If you find your preferred fitness regimen, you will know. You will look forward to the time you spend taking care of your body. It will become a powerful coping skill and a time designated specifically for you, which we all need and deserve. It is a crazy powerful form of self care.
What I tell you now, is to seek your Zumba. It may not be Zumba for you, although I tell everyone I meet that they must try it, at least once, because I fancy myself an unofficial sponsor for it! For you, maybe your love is Yoga or Cycling or Karate or Pilates or Kick Boxing or Running. My goodness, we live in such an awesome time where there are so many ways we can take care of our bodies. Here in Arizona, there is even a goat farm that offers Goat Yoga. GOAT YOGA! You have to check out that link, whether or not goats or yoga are your style, it’s just too amusing and heart warming.
Once you find a physical outlet that gets you excited, ensure that you are choosing to implement this practice into your life for the right reasons! If you want to look good naked, that’s okay! Who doesn’t? But also make sure you focus on how this is making you healthier, and stronger, and mentally fit! When you focus and meditate on these concepts, the practice is far more likely to stick.
And of course, at the end of the day, healthy people feel better, and when you feel better, you omit more positive light and energy. It all comes full circle, fam. The better you feel, the kinder you are to yourself, the more you engage in regular self-care, the more natural it becomes for you to embody The Zenful Urbanite lifestyle.
As always, thank you kindly for your time and attention, and I hope whole heartedly that this brought some value to your life and that you find for you, what Zumba is for me.
XO – Zurby