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10 Similarities Between Zumba and Life

I’ve been taking Zumba classes on and off for the past few years. I enjoy the fast paced music, the steady beat, the can-do feeling I get from the simple (ish) steps. The hour session really flies by quickly, and I love the satisfaction I get afterward knowing that I’ve put in a good, calorie-reducing hour of exercise.

About a month ago, while dance-moving around a few feet behind the teacher and focusing on doing things more or less correctly in an attemped  coordinated manner, I suddenly realized something.


My insight was that many of the Zumba  instructions (and with other exercises as well – swimming, aerobics, physical therapy) mirror rules for life. Each time I would come back for my twice weekly session, I would feel as if I was getting a session in self esteem and relationships.  It was funny (to me) how I just kept thinking about these things over and over while the teacher called out her Zumba prompts.  I had to put it down in a blog.

What was stranger was that about that time, a blogging friend, Nina Badzin,  wrote a post that was published over at the site, Kveller,  about how yoga reminds her of certain Jewish values of tolerance and friendship.

Wow. I thought that was an odd instance of synchronicity.  But then again, there’s really nothing new under the sun, so I went with the thought that maybe I was onto something with the Zumba-life skills thing.    And here’s what I’ve come up with.

  1. KEEP YOUR TUMMY IN: The tummy is considered the core of the body and is supposed to be kept tucked in when doing movements. In life, we have to be cognizant of what our core, our identity is. Keeping the tummy in is like keeping our identity card in our pocket at all times.

  2. WHATEVER YOU DO TO ONE SIDE, FOOT, ARM…, REPEAT FOR  THE OTHER:  A standard procedure in Zumba to balance movements on both sides of body. In life: We have to keep all segments of our life – physical, social, spiritual – active and in tune.

  3. FORM IS EVERYTHING. In Zumba, a lot of attention is paid to positioning of toes, hips, back, chest while doing the movements.  In life it’s not about what you say sometimes, but how you say it. Tone, body language and facial expressions are super important.

  4. GENTLE LANDING:  You know? Like when you sit down, bend down, put a foot down on the ground with each step? When offering help to others, best to do it as gently as possible.

  5. PAY ATTENTION TO REFLECTION IN THE MIRROR: It’s all about self-awareness and honesty in life’s relationships.

  6. BREATHE IN AND OUT: In Zumba…and in all of life, don’t forget to breathe

  7. START AND END WITH STRETCHING: To me, this is a metaphor for a constant self-assessment where we try to set goals for ourselves, which is a recipe for stretching and growing.

  8. KEEP THE BOUNCE IN THE STEPS: Zumba is full of springy dancing, which reminds me to have fun in life. Life can be challenging, but it’s always better to laugh and enjoy (if possible!).

  9. FOCUS: – All important skill for every day life.

  10. BUILD UP GRADUALLY: In zumba, all exercises and life, it’s important to start small, and take things one step at a time. It doesn’t do any good to take things too fast, because then you fall flat on the seat of your pants!

That’s all I thought of for now. Any similarities you gals and guys find between exercises like Zumba and life?

Remodeling Mania

When we made the decision to renovate our kitchen a few months ago, it was a long time coming. I had fantasized for years about having a brand new kitchen with shiny appliances, fancy wood design and smooth granite countertops. Recalling the many magazines I had perused over the years, I knew it was going to be fun, even with the budget we had in mind.

As we said good-bye to our old kitchen which over time had developed the “distressed” look, we looked forward to newer, pretty ones…

Soon came the mess of the demolition. IMG_2245


But we were overall kind of  relaxed.

Then came the decisions. I recall telling the contractor, “I’m not picky. You lead the way, show me a few choices and I’ll tell you what I like.”

I never thought I’d be the type to fuss over paint color or wood design. At the end of the day,  I knew what I liked, what I didn’t liked, and I would make quick decisions and move on. Please don’t give me too many choices, I told the guy in charge. I have my life and as much as I was happy to have this new project in my life, I didn’t want to become too engrossed, obsessed, or materialistic.

Well, here we are, six weeks into the project, and as the saying goes, “the more belongings, the more worries.”  My husband calls them “first world problems.”

Last night I couldn’t sleep because I suddenly realized in middle of the night that maybe a few weeks ago when they did the electricity,  they didn’t put enough outlets near the counter. What if I want to plug in my laptop over there? I ran downstairs to check (true story) and sure enough there were two outlets in that area.

The other day I argued with the contractor because I want a built-in microwave  and he claimed there’s no room in my kitchen layout. He says I’d have to sacrifice cabinet space. He claims we “discussed it in the beginning.”

First world problems. Hubby is right. There are so many problems in the world now, and all I have to think about is my silly kitchen?

Today the discussion was about the color of the cabinets. I thought they were white and now they are looking off white to me. What’s going on?

The lighting. That’s the excuse they give. When the flooring came, I told the guy it was too dark. He looked at me like I was nuts.

The contractor talked me out of that worry pretty fast. I find that I’m very gullible these days. The bathroom tile came out the wrong color.

“Oh, really?” I say. “You mean it’s okay not to have a ______ (fill in the blanks) even though that was my dream? No room? Okay, okay.”

Truthfully, as I read this post over again, I want to delete it all change my attitude. To get my priorities straight. I don’t want to be preoccupied (forever) with granite, tiles, flooring, cabinets, and appliances. I don’t really enjoy this kind of stuff, but I am getting sucked into it somehow.

I really would love if all these decisions would be made for me by the guys who know better. But there’s that little voice inside me that wants to control, who wants to pick and choose.

It’s okay to pick and choose. It’s okay to enjoy the process, I tell myself. But when the process starts to take over my life, that’s not okay anymore.

After all, as my husband says, if these were my worst problems in life, I’d be pretty okay. And he’s right.

There are several things I’ve learned from this experience. One is that when I get overly engrossed in little things in my life, I have to take a step back and breathe deeply. It’s all going to be okay.

The other is not to judge those who are more materialistic, especially myself! It’s okay sometimes to like nice things, isn’t it?

Breathe. Breathe. Anyone have similar experiences where you have to take a step back and relax? Tell me about it in the comment section below.

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