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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?

My New Tagline: Grandmas and Stretching

Anyone who has been following my Bubby or Grandmother blog since I began back in June 2012, will be familiar with my tagline under the main title of “Bubby Joys and Oys.” — -A Place for Bubbies to Kvell and Kvetch. Continue reading

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