I’ve run the gamut with exercises. Aerobics, to kickboxing, to weights, to Zumba, to yoga. I’m planning to start a regular blog series, weekly or bi-weekly, time will tell, that is focused on the benefits I get from exercise. So, yes, my exercise of choice keeps evolving. I’ll start here with Zumba. One day I had a discussion with my students about releasing aggression. At that time, Zumba was my go to. That discussion spawned this stream of consciousness that occurred during Zumba class. * They say exercise is good for the brain….
Yoga has, at times been a great outlet for me. It is more like hypnotizing. Nothing else matters but the moment, so I leave it all behind. I still use this one at times. But what works so well for me in releasing aggression, besides the calming medicine for my overactive colon, is a mixture of two things. And I guess I could share this with my students but I didn’t. Because I get pretty tired of all the sugar-coating.
Right now, the first method of releasing my aggression is my obsession with “Breaking Bad.” It is a go-to since I can even do this if I’m sick. I get to watch a meek, down-on-his-luck fellow totally buck the system, come up against some really bad villains, and succeed. Man, this show is violent. I myself am even surprised I got hooked, but you know, it makes you care about the characters. It’s not just the violence, there also are some excellent story-telling elements like flashback and foreshadowing. Similarly, I have, for a long time, been totally hooked on “Fringe”, which is also pretty violent and ominous. But I can put myself in the place of their unstoppable female heroine, Olivia, who,yes, always wins, even escaping captivity after countless times. These are great ways of escape for me. Life can’t be all about work and cooking dinner, you know?
Then there is Zumba. Last year I had told some students that I do Zumba and their eyes got wide. They probably know about the snake (which I don’t do unless I want to laugh at myself). Well, I stay away for a while and then go back and it’s like returning to a lost lover. It is so good for me. Not to mention I love to dance and this is my only dance right now. So there’s the expression element. But it’s not just dance. It’s Zumba. You move your hips and do some fancy footwork and, oh, so many chances to wave your hands! Just to make sure you move your hips, they always play at least one or two songs by Pitbull, that hottie from Cuba with the goatee. His voice is unmistakable. Deep. Raw. What a perfect example of channeling aggression. And that fits so well with Zumba. He has been touted as a misogynist. That’s beside the fact. They play him for the aggression in his voice.
It is okay to shake it and you are really Zumba-ing the more you shake your hips (which is a side-effect of the Pitbull songs for me). I think it is ALL about channeling aggression, expressing it, and not being ashamed. Oh, Lordie, I grew up with lots of shame so this is SO freeing to me. His lyrics are also pretty aggressive. In fact, on the radio, it sounds like they are bleeping a few words out of every one of his songs I have ever heard. But, ah. That voice. Yep. Zumba works for me. Anyone who ever made me feel inadequate doesn’t see me letting loose my inhibitions, dancing out my demons and feeling like an island princess. I can close my eyes and make believe I’m Rihanna. I have the right class, with women of mixed ages and backgrounds all there for the same reason. My son was embarrassed at first about me going to Zumba, since he goes to the same gym and works the weights while I am in class. He seems more supportive, though, maybe because he likes the Latino girls. Whatever. Doesn’t bother me…….I am no longer too old, too shy, too judgmental, or too inadequate to dance. Nor am I overly concerned with my mothering or teaching techniques when I am in there listening to Pitbull and getting the Spanish lyrics wrong (one song sounds like “Happy Drunk.” To me anyway.) And that releases all manner of tension, aggression, and inhibition.
That is the goal, after all. Release the aggression. Don’t just swallow it and don’t deny it. We are human. We are of this earth. Imperfect. That is what made us survive as long as we have. I love to listen to the jungle rhythms in Zumba and imagine myself there. Yes, I am of this earth. I have something that works for me. I wasn’t sure if the kids asked me the other day what my answer would be, but it all came to me in Zumba class. 🙂
*The gym where I had regularly attended Zumba class has since shut down, and I have moved on to a new exercise of choice. Such will be the subject of my next Exercise Evolution blog post!