Friday, December 28, 2012

Dance Fit Video! Jump!

The song is "Jump" (Radio edit) by The Cube Guys and Luciana. You can find it on iTunes.




As always, make sure to warm up a bit before you engage in any exercise. Check your footwear. Move furniture outta the way and be on even ground. Let me know if tutorials for some of the steps would be helpful, now that I have a handy dandy webcam :)

Hope you have a great weekend filled with happiness and joy as we get ready to usher in the New Year!

Thanks for watching.

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A New Year...




It's hard to believe that a whole new year is shortly upon us, even though I say the same thing every year.

I've never been one for New Year's Resolutions. I usually think if something is a good habit to start or stop, there's no time like the present. With that said, I think it's almost impossible not to view the time of changing over to a new year as one where new beginnings can spring.

There are the usual things that I try to remind myself to get back on top of. The piles of "oh, I'll get to that later, or "this weekend" (I'm a surface space abuser) and "I'm so going to keep that drawer, counter, section of the house tidy". My garden is off the hook. I've fully committed to growing a healthy crop of "screw it" in those raised beds. It just graduated to the Maybe When The Kids Are Up and Out list.

There are the soft chewy resolutions; more time with the kids, finding more inner piece, staying connected to friends more. I really think of these as everyday resolutions.

Even  though January 1st 2013 will not contain a new me, there are some goals that I would like to cross off the list floating around in my ol' brain pan sometime during 2013.


Clean up, or rather, re clean up my eating;


About a year and a half ago (2 years? Damn, time passes quickly). I made changes to my family's diet. Using the paleo diet as my template, I cut out wheat and glutens, seriously reduced our sugar intake, legumes and almost all dairy. I abandoned the notions that I grew up with, "Move more, eat less" and "High carb and low fat is the only healthy way to eat". I've had what I would consider great success, and I know my family has benefited greatly as well.

But it's easy to get a little sloppy over time. Sure, I keep wheat glutens away and we still don't consume anywhere near the amount of sugar we once did. But I have my less than fab choices. Plus, Richard and I never really did the 30 days grain-free, dairy-free, legume-free as recommended by Robb Wolf in The Paleo Solution Diet. Richard mentioned he was game to try with me. If not, I will brave it myself. It wouldn't be too different from how I eat now, just less snaky type stuff, which would get replaced with real food choices. I've grown very accustomed to preparing foods, thanks to this lovely lady and her website,  Everyday Paleo.

Learn more about blogging;



I'm slowly, slowly learning as I go. I really enjoy reading the blogs of others and I love the thought of being able to reach out to others on subjects.
Cleaning up my diet and increasing my blogger-rific blog skills are more than likely going to conjoin into a new blog about my struggles, successes and failures with using paleo, primal and gluten-free as a template for the chow my family eats. Plus, I'll have a place to swear like a sailor and over share ;)

Since body tissue maintenance is coming up on the list, hopefully there will be more "rolling" on this blog.

Use my Trigger Point GRID more;


Shameless plug time! I'm a TPTherapy affiliate. Within the right side column there is a link to TPTherapy products for which, full disclosure, I get a small percentage if you purchase through the link on my blog. Whether you go through my site or not, its a product line I believe in.
I've been known to call it "making sweet love to my Trigger Point GRID". I love my GRID roller. But you would think otherwise the way I've been ignoring it lately. I need to roll out my muscles on a more regular basis.

Yoga;


More specifically, Bikram Yoga, sometimes known as hot yoga. I'm a novice at yoga in general and any yoga style would probably be of benefit. I'm a wimp when it comes to working out in heat. I'm okay if I heat up while working out, and in general I sweat like a pig as it were. But exercising in a heated room seems crazy to me. So why try it? To see if it will help all those tight, locked up parts in my body. And to see if I can "take the heat". Hopefully my innards won't liquefy.


Do more bodyweight training;



Handstands, pull-ups and many other moves that contribute to a rich vocabulary of functional movement. There are some great resources out there and I hope to learn what I can.
Animal Flow Workout and Global Bodyweight Training. I love the thought of combining this with dance moves!
MovNat. I've never been a very outdoorsy type. I did a lot of hiking as a kid. But between being an only child and having a dad that frequently referred to me as a "candy-ass", well you can do the psychological math on that one. I also spent a great deal of time in dance studios during my youth. Pointe shoes and the elements of outside don't mix well.
I don't think I will be throwing around boulders or dragging logs, but there's many other fun and functional moves I'm game for.
Gold Metal Bodies. I recently found this site. I'm excited to learn more. Tutorials, tips and tricks.
Har'core Pakour! I do not foresee myself scaling walls or jumping over picnic tables, but there are some basics that look doable and are pretty functional moves to have. Here's a great tutorial that I plan to modify for my own endeavors;

From the Fifth Ape blog.

This about as crazy as my shit gets! For now.
video
I plan on improving my knee drop jumps. I didn't learn those until just a month or so ago. I point that out because I'm 42 and not anywhere near extraordinary, meaning that we all have the potential to learn how to do awesome things!

Master my webcam;



I finally got a laptop a few months ago. Between trying to avoid shelling out dough for Windows 8, the offers of near constant upgrades from Lenovo and a new format for iTunes I've actually grown weary of shouting the f-word at my new electronic. But I do like having a webcam that can travel to which ever room in my house isn't in total disarray. Now I just need tips on how not to look like the Crypt-Keeper when my face is up close to the screen.


So those are the list toppers for my new Year's list, or course after the things that are really important!

Do you make New Year's resolutions? What are they? Any anti Crypt-Keeper tips?

Thanks for reading.

Enjoy the dance that is life!



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Dance Concept; Don't Lose Your Marble.

 
 
 
So I've been teaching Balletone classes on a more regular basis. I'm pretty psyched about it. For the gym I teach at it's been kind of a "filler" class (covering for a regular instructor who teaches step aerobics. I don't do step. That would be more of a comedy/slapstick hour thing for me to do), I've been kinda doing a hybrid Zumba/Balletone sampler plate. People seem pretty enthusiastic about the Balletone format, so it's looking like Balletone will become a regular class at this particular gym. It's been fun doing the first half hour as a Zumba, sometimes even a little Zumba Toning, then kicking off the shoes and socks and getting into our Balletone zone. This morning it was fun and functional, if not down right necessary. The group ex. room was like a freaking penguin den!
 
Regardless of the room temp at any given time, the demands for balance, agility and mind body connection in the movements of Balletone, or dance related movements often gets my brain spinning for the best ways to explain a movement concept. Also, many an interesting conversation about challenges in movement have come up. I love it! I could probably talk for days on end about it, as some unlucky souls I'm sure have found out the hard way.
 
I'm going to talk about only one right here.
 
Maintaining proper hip and pelvic alignment through a series of moves, or for a singular pose, can be challenging.
 
Think of a marble on a tabletop. If you keep the tabletop level, the marble will stay centered.
 
 
A brief tutorial...


Hope this little tip helps. I know it helps me when trying to connect my mind to my body.

Thanks for hanging out!

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Friday, December 14, 2012





Within the last few weeks I was asked to sub a fitness class at the gym where I lead other group fitness classes. The class was one designed for the elderly, including those that are mobility challenged.

 Sit N' Be Fit pretty much sums up what the class is all about. Most all of the exercises are done in a chair. Light weights, 2-3 lbs. are used for arm and core exercises. A main focus being functional movements, getting up and down from a chair, reaching overhead, bending down to pick something off the floor as well as just keeping range of movement throughout the body's system of joints.

I had never taught a class like Sit N' Be Fit, and as with endeavoring to do anything new, I was a bit nervous. While my part as an instructor would be pretty low wear and tear on my own body, it was of the utmost importance to me that I not jack up my participants, or give them movements that would leave them feeling frustrated.

Okay, right here I want to interject some thoughts on fitness, dance and aging.

Dancing makes you smarter! Its not just the physical activity, which many studies have shown is part of the recipe for keeping a brain from aging any faster than is has to. In learning, navigating and executing movement patterns in dance the brain is constantly asked to fire on many cylinders. New pathways are made while existing ones are refreshed and groomed. Add music to the mix, there's even more input for the brain to be stimulated by.

Usually dance is social. Whether you are working with partners in couples or group dancing or in a dance/dance fitness class, you are with others collectively sharing the experience. Bonds and memories are built. Keep that social life!

Many movements in dance and /or fitness require cross-lateral movement. Cross-lateral movement is when a limb crosses the mid-line of the body. This action causes the two hemishperes of the brain to communicate via the corpus callosum, the thick band of neuron fibers that connects the two sides of the brain. Cross-lateral movement is vital in an infant's brain development and the brain never outgrows the benefits!

The regular instructor gave me many pointers and ideas. As a licensed Zumba Gold instructor I have had some instruction on the needs of special populations in fitness. I also searched the web for tips and ideas. And if there is one thing I have learned from over almost 20 years of dance, movement and fitness instruction it is to not over think stuff when teaching a format that is new to me. Also, staying flexible and open minded, while always keeping safety as a priority. As long as one has a strong foundation or outline of what they plan to do, most everything else will fall into place. Over thinking and stressing out can often block out creativity.

One of the things that the regular instructor clued me in on was that the regular participants of the class love Big Band Era music. So I jumped onto iTunes and found a huge collection of Big Band tunes. My new play list had classics like King Porter's Stomp, Ain't Misbehavin' and Chattanooga Choo Choo. I also pulled out a couple of Zumba Gold routines that I modified to better fit a seated fitness format.

It is amazing how music, a certain song, can take the mind back to the past with many of the strong emotions that are attached with those memories. I could see in many of the participants' faces the memories of evenings spent with friends and family, loved ones that have passed, children that were once small. A few of the seniors shared smiles and laughter about remembering kicking their heels up with Swing dances like the the Lindy Hop, Jitterbug and Boogie Woogie. One woman told me that it was time to go home from the Town Grange when all the kids were asleep on the benches that lined the walls of the dance floor. For another woman "I'll Never Smile Again" brought back memories of all the tears she shed while being a young wife and mother with a husband fighting overseas in WW11.

I had all the participants walk around to the backs of their chairs for some standing exercises, the backs of the chairs offering something to hold onto for extra support. Using some Zumba Gold routines we heated things up with some dancin'. Doing movements to swing and mambo tunes had a lot of eyes sparkling.

So my subbing gig for Sit N' Be Fit is over, for now at least. Hopefully I will be asked to sub again. I so greatly enjoyed leading the classes. I so admire the participants for staying active both physically and socially.

Since I am in my early forties, I'm sorta at that place where I am feeling comfortable in my own skin, for the most part. I feel I have a better grip on what being vibrant and sexy means to me. But I also have those moments of "Oh sh*t, where the hell did my youth go?" "Oh. My. God. I'm becoming invisible." "Am I still desirable? Should I even care?" Yeah, I know some of those thoughts are a bit shallow, but I also know that they are not uncommon in my age group. I also have the relief that comes with knowing that the aforementioned concerns really aren't as important as to me as they used to be. I can focus on other things that are far more interesting and fulfilling.

My short spurts of time with those elderly exercisers was a real treat for me. I take comfort in knowing that if I just keep on keepin' on, I will be just fine know matter how many wrinkles I wear on my face or how stiff I may feel. Keeping connected to family, friends and community seems to make life a joy at any age!

Earlier I mentioned Swing dancing.

 
Wow!
 
 
 
Now go make some memories!
 
 
Thanks for reading.
 
Enjoy the dance that is life!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Gift Idea For The Ladies On Your List!

The Coobie Bra!





Have you ever heard of this bra? I have one and I love it. Its comfortable and gives a nice natural shape. With a huge selection of colors you can let your fashionista side soar.

Coobie Bra has special offers going on for the 12 Days of Christmas, with special offers going on each day till December 15th. Check it out!


"But isn't a bra a risky gift to get someone? What about sizing?"

Well the Coobie is designed as one size fits all, comfortably fitting  32A thru 36D. With Full sizes in  38 thru 42D.

While I would recommend something with more support for more intense athletic activities, I wear mine when I teach dance classes like ballet and contemporary/lyrical and am delightfully comfortable.

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dance Step Tutorial.


So I got a new laptop. Yeah! For the most part I'm all but clueless. But since I'm clueless about many things I'm well within my comfort zone.

One of the bells and whistles on my new toy is a webcam (I'm sure its pretty standard on most laptops these days. Just guessing, 'cause remember, I don't know sh*t from Shinola when it comes to techy stuff).

I wanted to do a tutorial on this fun dance step, so it gave me the perfect opportunity to play with my new webcam.

It was definitely a process. I think I had to download a couple of things and at one point a high pitched air raid siren started going off. I was ready to abandon the whole task and grabbed my 15 yrear old's Flip camera. Couldn't find any of my mini tripods and the batteries crapped out mid filming. Erg!

But success was finally mine...depending on how you measure it :)




 
 
I love this step. Whenever I am choreographing a ballet piece that has any hint of Latin flavor I will usually do some variation of it.
 
Its not just fun, but a pretty good workout step as well.
 
The action of the leg works both hip abduction (when the leg lifts up and out to the side) and adduction (when the leg crosses in front of the other leg).
 
The jump, while small, offers some lower intensity plyometric movement, as well as a balance challenge in that the leg is held for a moment in the air before it comes down and crosses.
 
An important function of the obliques is to stabilize the torso and maintain proper placement of the pelvic area and spine through movements (a good article on the subject). The actions of the upper body and arms in conjunction with the lower body's movements through this step do just that.
 
In addition, there is a syncopated timing in the step. Its not all even. This is great brain food at any age! As well as the cross lateral movements of the limbs, which cause the two hemispheres of the brain to "converse".
 
If you know the exact name of this step, used in this context, don't be shy. Let me know!
 
Thanks for reading.
 
Enjoy the dance that is life!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Holiday Music. Time To Make The Playlist Of The Season.



For the last few years come usually around October, I have to sit down and comb through my catalog of music and surf iTunes for holiday/Christmas music to choreograph dance pieces to. I've complained about this before to anyone unlucky enough to be within hearing of me rant. It's not that I don't like music associated with this time of year. I rather enjoy it, and will usually play the radio station that goes straight up Christmas music come Black Friday.

What gets my knickers bunched up is that the world of music and dance concepts goes from a vast and endless ocean of possibilities to a small puddle.

So back in October I once again dragged my ears and choreographic mind's eye to the computer to hash out a plan of attack for dance pieces for my dance classes.

This year was a little different. Maybe I was in a more open frame of mind as to possibilities, or maybe I am becoming more confident as a choreographer. Whatever the case, this year's search revealed some real treasures. And not just for setting dance choreography, but for the enjoyment of listening to the music of the season.

 Its time to make that holiday play list that will be the background  sounds of this time for special traditions shared with loved ones and for gatherings throughout this time of year.



Christmas With The Kranks soundtrack.

The link above is for amazon, but the soundtrack is also available on iTunes.
A really fun collection of classic Christmas songs by artist like The Ramones, Elvis Presley and even a rendition of the Nutcracker Suite by The Brian Setzer Orchestra Band.



The Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs.

I've had this album for awhile now and have used songs from it before. It's a real treasure.



NOW That's What I Call Christmas 4.

This 2010 album has 36 songs. it is also available on iTunes.

I'm currently using (and loving) Rhianna's version of  "A Child Is Born".



From The Grinch Who Stole Christmas movie soundtrack, Little Isidor and the Inquisitors "Christmas of Love".

This song is too cute and fun for words!



The piece I am most enjoying choreographing to is the "Christmas Eve Montage" from Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas. The composition is from the talented Danny Elfman. He simply breaths excellence.

The dance piece I am using "Christmas Eve Montage" for is an ensemble piece. I just love listening to it.



For a more electronica sound try "Celtic Carol" by Lindsey Stirling. This kind of talent blows my mind.



The Nutcracker Suite as done by jazz legend Duke Ellington. This version of the holiday classic gives a smooth and sultry sound to mix things up for listening pleasure, without the indigestion that goes with mixing other things up. Like the endless array of holiday num nums.

So if you don't already have a play list for the holidays maybe its time to make one! If you already have your MP3 loaded, hopefully you can find some new treasures.

Thanks for reading.

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Do you have a favorite Christmas song or album? Tips for organizing a great play list? Please share!




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Exercises and Steps To Work On For 11/28/12 Classes.



For Dance CORE;
the awesome abs series. If time allows leg extensions (to the back).

Lyrical;
Floats turns. Tutorial I currently like to use here.
Start with breaking down action at the leg action with one hand at the barre.
Procede to centre floor.

Six step turns. Tutorial I currently like to use here.

Rehearse and perhaps add onto "A Child Is Born" dance and maybe "Wide Awake"

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Way To Show Thanks To Those Who Serve...

...And get maybe get a leg up on your Christmas shopping list!


  The GRID.



This weekend, November 23rd -25th. When you purchase The Limited Edition CAMO GRID, Trigger Point Performance will donate $5 to the Wounded Warrior Project.

There is a banner link on the right side of my blog. Or go to tptherapy.com.

The GRID by Trigger Point Performance Therapy is one of my favorite products of all time!

It can be used as a self massaging/self myofascial release as well as a tool for core training (an example).

*Quick medical disclaimer- This product may not be appropriate for those with poor circulation due to conditions such as diabetes. Also it may not be appropriate for those suffering from severe varicose veins, high blood pressure or other conditions that affect normal breathing. Consult with your doctor and/or other medical professionals before using this product. Also, pregnant women should consult with their doctors before using this product.


I use it for myself, although lately not as much as I should. That's gonna change. I sometimes bring in the two rollers that I own for my dance students to roll on or use as a tool for core exercises. It is highly portable. I almost always take it on vacations. The hollow center is great for stuffing your socks into.

My husband has always been somewhat skeptical of the GRID's virtues. So you can imagine how delighted I was when Manning (Peyton, I believe) popped up on the T.V. with a bunch of his teammates rolling out their glutes and piriformis during a football show.

Back in October of this year I attended a SMRT-CORE workshop that focused on the applications of the GRID as a tool for;

 pre-workout prepping of the body

integrating the core and strengthening specific muscle groups

a technique know as Total Body Tension that uses body tension to isometrically fire up the muscles of the core and upper body, requiring functional stabilization during specific movements. I like to refer to this as gaining body intelligence.

self massage for relaxation, rejuvenation and restoration of the body. Flush the gunk from your muscle tissues.

 In the coming year I plan to post more about this glorious product and its applications.

I'll be dropping hints galore about what a great gift this would be for say, a teenage ballet/contemporary student/dancer! My young ladies might not be too excited about the CAMO design, but the Orange/Black or Black/Green options will do just fine. And many have witnessed me using my GRID to prep for Zumba as well as recovering afterwards.

So, if you plan on doing some online shopping to fill your Christmas list needs, AND you want to give a gift that will give back for years to come, consider getting a GRID for a loved one. And don't forget yourself! Although the really nice thing is that if you buy one for a household member they will probably be so delighted that they will gladly share. You might just want your own too!


Enjoy the dance that is life!



****Disclosure: If you purchase any of the products through the links on the right side of my page, I receive a small percentage from the respected affiliate programs****

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Real Deal; Go With A ZIN™!




You love your weekly Zumba class, or classes. You greatly enjoy your regular instructors (okay, right here is where we are going to assume that your regular Zumba instructor is a ZIN member).


The holidays are here, and for many of us that may mean traveling to see loved ones. It also means traveling right out of our regular routines. Right into a potentially gastric nightmare compared with the oldest stress know to mankind; the hassles of travel and holidays with the family!

Not the best time to be forced to ditch your workout regiment.

With travel comes an opportunity for new experiences. You can, if location (visiting loved ones on the outskirts of Siberia?) and time allows, why not check out a Zumba class in the area you are visiting?

Best way to find an instructor? If you are visiting someone who is familiar with the Zumba program in their area you can ask for a recommendation. Or better yet, go to zumba.com, click on the "Find An Instructor" option located in the menu across the top of the page. This will tell you about the location of all the ZINs in the area you are seeking.

You may even have the opportunity to introduce friends and family to the joy that is Zumba!

Okay, next I'm going to give a short explanation of what a ZIN is, followed by a bit of mild ranting and blathering. Wanna pass? Just scroll on down till the text goes go back to the color black.

What's a ZIN?

ZIN stands for Zumba Instructors Network. Once licensed through completing a Zumba Basic 1 workshop, a Zumba instructor can sign up and subscribe to being a ZIN member. For the monthly fee ($30.00) comes discounts on everything from clothing to specialty workshops, monthly deliveries of either new music or new music and a DVD loaded up with tons of choreography that we as ZINs can use or not use or modify, marketing materials, resources and a links to chat online with other ZINs throughout the known galaxy. In addition, ZINs can promote charity events or Zumbathons and sign up for special classes only available to current ZINs.

I'm not trying to sell anyone on the ZIN program itself. But I do want to emphasize what opportunities and resources are available to ZINs, as opposed to someone who calls themselves a Zumba instructor, but is not a ZIN. If not a part of the ZIN program, one must get re certified every year, and as far as I know, they don't have all the ZIN resources available to them.
 
Over the last year, Zumba HQ has put out at least one promo video about encouraging folks to go for the real deal. The one video that I have seen has a very mock video feel. It features a rather dumpy looking character with a horrible hair piece butchering basic Latin dance moves. All the while text appears throughout the video of the hazards of going with anything but a ZIN when seeking a Zumba instructor. Silly and quaint, it was mildly entertaining to me. But the realities are that someone claiming to be a Zumba instructor (past the basic one year non-ZIN time limit) and to giving the authentic Zumba experience may actually deliver a good to great class. Here's my, for lack of a better term, issue with that; if one really believes in a program (hopefully in themselves as well), then commit to properly representing them by their terms. Otherwise, nut up and start your own damn brand. Additionally, who knows what gaps in the knowledge of safety may exist with such a shameful usurper!

For what its worth, there are times that I will train an eye of suspicion on the virtues of ZINdom and what's coming out of Zumba HQ. But more often than not I am surprised, delighted and/or grateful for the opportunities they give us ZINs.
                           For example;

The Zumba affiliate program! Use my code; mserinzfit to get a savings of 10% on Zumba wear!

Or visit my ZIN website at erindeniz.zumba.com

That's all for right now. More tips for "dancing" your way through the holidays to come!

Thanks for reading.

Enjoy the dance that is life!



 
 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Psoas; Wicked Little Muscle!

Don't even try reading the tiny words!

 
    

Okay, maybe "little" isn't the right word. "Wicked" on the other hand...


 The psoas (so-az) is a muscle that contains many mysteries. But this muscle plays a serious role in movement and stabilization. The name psoas represents two muscles, psoas major and psoas minor. Psoas minor is present in only 40-50% of the human population. What! That's a pretty wild fact. I haven't come across anything that indicates if this is gender specific occurrence.

What I have come across though, in reading articles and surfing the mighty web, is that the psoas is often ground zero for lower back pain, hip pain, all kinds of pain! This I know from personal experience. That's why I'm so darned fascinated and interested in this muscle. Human anatomy is pretty interesting anyway, but in this case, a necessity. To understand how to retrain and reshape a muscle, joint, what have you group, you've gotta know a little about how it works.

My knowledge is limited at best. I'm hoping to change that bit by bit.

I came across this website; Learn About Psoas Muscle Pain & Psoas Release Techniques by Barry Krost.

There is a wealth of knowledge on the site as well as many links. Geek out at will!

Here's some quick and dirty about "Our Friend The Psoas".

The psoas primarily flexes the hip and the spinal column. Think lifting your knee for hip flexion and rounding your back for spinal flexion.

Because it is a flexor for the hips and thighs it is a major muscle for walking.

The psoas is part of a group of muscles that effect the hips and back.

The psoas is part of spine twisting and moving the pelvis in all sorts of ways.

The body of each psoas (it's on both sides of the body) contains, on average 11 branches of muscle fibers. Each of those branches has a connection. That's a total of 22 connections! One on each thigh, on the femur, and 10 along the spine. The highest is at the lowest thoracic vertebra and the rest along the lumbar vertebra. Compress much?

The psoas has two layers of muscle, superficial and deep. Embedded between those layers is a bundle of nerves that communicate with everything in the region; hips, thighs, abs, pelvic floor.

There is also the whole emotional element to the psoas. It is really one of the main muscles in a "flight or fight" situation to react. There is evidence that some traumas may get stored in the psoas, causing it to stay tight and reactive. I'd like to touch upon that in coming posts. I know for myself that whenever I get a massage I find it nearly impossible to be worked on in that area. No matter how comfortable and relaxed I am, I will cringe, stiffen and get a horrible "tickle" response.

So many opportunities for something to go seriously wonky! To make matters worse, excessive sitting is a major shortener of the psoas, thus making everything TIGHT!

I plan to learn more and more about the psoas. And how I can learn to move better, more efficiently and hopefully pain-free! I hope to share as much as possible for your journey as well.

I've ordered some books that I saw mentioned on the website I put a link for above.

The Psoas Book by Liz Koch.
and
Psoas Release Party! by Johnathan FitzGordon.

Should be for some interesting reading.

Thanks for reading!

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Friday, November 2, 2012

I'm Now A Zumba™ Affiliate!

 

I am now a Zumba affiliate for Zumba apparel! So what does that mean exactly?

Well, it means that by using a special code that is mine as a member of the Zumba Instructor Network (ZIN) I can pass along savings to friends, family, students, or whoever uses it really. By using the code, customers can save 10% on their Zumba wear purchases! I earn a percentage from the purchases when the code is used as well. Win, win!

So how does it work?

Go to zumba.com

Click on the "SHOP" option along the top menu.

When you have made your selection or selections and you are ready to checkout (after each item is added to your cart an option to "continue shopping" or "checkout" pops up) a window will appear that asks for any coupon codes, and below it one that asks for an affiliate code. That's where you are going to type in my code

mserinzfit
 
It's that simple! Of course, if you have additional coupon codes to use on the first option type them in as well.
 
 
My affiliate code works on sale items as well!


There are some restrictions; DVDs, video games and gift cards are excluded. If someone is a ZIN and they are shopping as a ZIN, that's also excluded.

Now for some tips when shopping for Zumba clothes and shoes.

Read the reviews for each items you are interested in ordering! This has helped me immensely in the past. Don't just read one or two either. While I have always found my Zumba wear purchases to be of excellent quality and can hold up to many wearings and washings, they aren't cheap money wise. Probably because they can put up with a lot of wearings and washings! They are on par cost wise with many mid to higher end fitness brands. But still pretty affordable.

Often reviewers will have listed their age range, as well as mention within their review their height and body build. Reviewers are also a mix of Zumba enthusiasts, students and instructors. Bust size is really helpful as well. For someone like me who is small chested, when I read a review like "I'm a 38 DD and this sports bra held up great through a 3 hour Zumba workshop and I looked super sexy in it!", then that particular sports bra might have way more material than I need and will not fit well. Let's say I come across one that reads "I'm 5'4" and not very big up top, but this sports bra has a really flattering cut and is super comfortable", then I'm all over it!

Reviewers will also usually share whether a particular pair of cargo pants is too long for their body type or is too tight in the crotch. As well as if an item is true to size. Is the medium really a large. Or maybe the reviewer was swimming in the large and would have been better off with a medium. The accuracy of size is super important when looking to purchase footwear.

I bought some Z-Kickz II many months ago and I absolutely love them! Reading the reviews helped me pick the perfect size for my feet.

There is a sizing guide as well, but who wants to go hunt that darn measuring tape!

Think about the fabric as well. I bought some cute yoga style sweatpants a few years ago. It was at a licensing workshop, so no reviews to read. They were way to thick to ever use in a class, unless I was planning on dancing in a freezer. They were even too hot for just lounging around. So think about what you will be doing in them. Check the lock first if you plan on dancing in any freezers!

So if you are looking to add some fun Zumba wear items to your wardrobe or you want to get something for a Zumba lover, now you have a way to add a little extra savings!

Thanks for reading!

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What A Thrill!




Thrill The World 2012 was last Saturday, the 27th of October. I had never participated, watched or learned the dance. But back in September I thought it would be a fun dance to learn, bit by bit with my Zumba class.

Well, bit by bit we made one heck of a team of Zombie dancers! I posted back in September that I got by with the help of some friends.

We had so much fun! The sense of team spirit was amazing. I was so honored that people who had never done something like this before, or at least not in a long time, were willing to follow me into this Zombie adventure! I may have been their fearless leader (Ha!), but they gave me the courage with their enthusiasm, spirit and dedication! A definite team! I'm so proud!

I really started feeling some serious excitement when we met up with the other TTW Chico groups. Then it was time to Zombie walk over to the performance location. We, over 200 of us, literally stopped traffic as we crossed the street in Zombie mode. Zombies are slow!

Awaiting us were crowds of family, friends and eager audience members as well as videographers and photographers. TTW is an international event!

Ready to load up and head over to Beauty Queen Central.

I had so much fun doing the finishing touches of getting ready at my friend Melanie's house. A group of moms and their lovely Beauty Queens, as well as a pretty cool dude, really got into their Zombie Zone! Thank you Melanie for sharing your beautiful home with us riff raff!

Even as the "Undead", our Zumba crew couldn't miss one another!

So much fun getting into character!

Performing with the big group of both friends and strangers was a blast! And with a cheering crowd!

video


Next year? Oh yeah!

Now that I have dipped my toe in, I want to go bigger! I'm hoping next to be more involved with the TTW Chico organization (granted that they need my help) as far as helping with rehearsals and teaching the dance.

You with me?

Hope so!

Have a fun, happy and SAFE Halloween!

Enjoy the dance that is life!






Monday, October 15, 2012

Thrill The World Day Is Only 12 Days Away!!



  Austin, Texas 2008

I don't where from where, but they got their Zombie on!
Chico 2010!!




That's right! Thrill The World (TTW) Day is less than 2 weeks away!

I've mentioned before that this is the first year I have ever attempted to learn the dance or to even think about participating in the international event.

For those local to the Chico, California area, here's the link for the Thrill The World Chico website. The event happens Saturday October 27th at 12noon.

The link above and the links below will give you all sorts of info, including ideas and tips to really get your Zombie look dialed in!


For visuals and tutorials on how to learn the official Thrill The World "Thriller Dance",click here for the Video Clips. Clip 39 of 40 is my favorite, as it does the whole dance with the instructor's back to the viewer (easier to follow along) and the cuing voice over with the music.

For the dance script,click here for the full text of the Dance Script. Having words that go with your moves really does help. I used to make up songs about variations and dance pieces when I was younger for when I would practice them in my head when falling asleep at night.

What's the fun of dance without some music! For the original Thriller song to a cuing version,click here, and you should be able to find where you can download a track (actually I think there are a few tracks at different speeds) of "Thriller" w/ the cuing voice over.

So the "dance script" has a word for each movement. To help myself sort of remember all the sections with their many movements, I wrote out a sort of condensed version. Once you feel comfortable with all the moves in a segment, then you can start clustering those segments into sections.

For example:

Zombie March


(forward) right left right left
(take-it-back) right left right left
(to-the-front) right left right left
(take-it-back) right left right left


March Booty Swim

(forward) *shoulder step nothing step *shoulder step *shoulder step
(back) *shoulder step nothing step *shoulder step *shoulder step
(step) booty bounce (together) booty bounce
(step) booty bounce (together) booty bounce
swim together swim jump (hold)
swim together swim jump

*use your RIGHT SHOULDER

Shuffle Ha Slide

shuffle back hop hop forward
turn look stare stare
down ha down ha down ha down ha
down clap slide slide slide stomp and shoulders look left
down clap slide slide slide stomp and shoulders and prep

Hip N’ Roar

right hip right hip right hip in out
left hip left hip in and roar
walk walk roar-turn roar-turn roar-turn
walk walk roar-turn roar-turn
jump and land circle
shake-it-and-a-uppa and a shake-it-and-a-uppa
stomp stomp stomp look left
walk left right left and turn

can be grouped together as;
Z March
March Booty Swim
Shuffle Ha Slide + Hip n Roar
So on and so forth.
You can copy and paste and print out as a little cheat sheet for when you practice. Sometimes just holding a silly little pieces of paper with notes on it can give me all the confidence I need!

I hope you find it useful!



Z March
March Booty Swim
Shuffle Ha Slide + Hip n Roar
________________________________________________________________________

Wuz Up

_________________________________________________________________________

Shuffle Ha Slide + Oh Snap Rock On + Head n Shoulders

__________________________________________________________________________

Stomp
*down 2-3-4 rise 2-3-4

__________________________________________________________________________

Shuffle Ha Slide + Oh Snap Rock On + Head n Shoulders (x-tra prep)
*Down 2-3-4 rise 2-3-PREP
__________________________________________________________________________

Hip n Roar

___________________________________________________________________________

Z March
March Booty Swim
Shuffle Ha Slide + Wuz Up

____________________________________________________________________________

Z March + Stomp + SCARE!

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hips Don't Lie; Mine Are Tight!

I've got me some tight hips. Tightness in the hips affects the lower back, and from there all kinds of other things can get outta whack! So getting those hips opened up and stretched out becomes vital.

I love rolling on my Trigger Point GRID (I'm going to go to a tptherapy Smrt-Core workshop later this month. I'm super excited, so expect more on this topic!). I can tolerate getting deep with a lacrosse ball and my fascia (more on that to come as well). I stretch, do dynamic stretching (pre-work-out/warm up) as well as static stretching (post work-out/relaxation/peace out time). Do I do them on a consistent basis conducive to repair and proper body wellness maintenance? Uh....What was the question?

I've got to get serious! I want my hip and lower back health to take a front seat. The Prince Charming of Physical Well Being mostly likely is not going to gallop up on his trusty steed, Pain Free. Time to start smacking butts with my broom and send Step-Mom Cra Cra to mediation. Okay, enough with the fairy tale references, 'cause Dudes, I'm talking to you as well!

First, a video of someone who knows what the hell they are doing;

http://www.everydayhealth.com/hip-pain/yoga-for-hip-pain.aspx


Now, a video from someone who knows considerably less; the first stretch shown is gentle and a great place to start. The second stretch is a bit more aggressive. Approach with caution.

video

I believe the seated yoga stretch pose that I do in the video is called The Fire Log.

To bad I didn't save the footage of me switching to do the pose on the other side. It was pretty funny, in a kinda sad way...

Yoga, yoga, yoga...got to get me some. Get you some too! There are many different styles, find the right one for you. Look around for a qualified instructor or peruse the numerous products available for home use.

More to come. Maybe I'll even get my knees and feet to touch!
Wishing you happy hips!

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pelvic Floor and TVA Exercises.

I was asked a few days ago about what exercises would be good for strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor.

Well, the crowning champion of pelvic floor strengthening exercises is the Kegel, especially for women. For more info on what Kegel exercises are, what muscles are employed and how to perform them, click here.

I've included a video with a couple of exercises that I think are useful. They not only target the pelvic floor, but the transverse abdominis (TVA) as well.

From Wiki;
The transversus abdominis muscle, also known as the transverse abdominus, transversalis muscle and transverse abdominal muscle, is a muscle layer of the anterior and lateral abdominal wall which is deep to (layered below) the internal oblique muscle. It is thought to be a significant component of the core.

In the video I use a hand gesture to indicate the TVA going across the pelvis, like a lap belt. The TVA doesn't actually run in this manner. I guess I've always thought of it as kind of a strapping down muscle when activated. Because the TVA runs under other muscles of the abdomen it fires everything up when engaged. So ignore my hand gesture, or use it as a mental reminder of activating the TVA.

video

I hope you find these useful.

Enjoy the dance that is life!

 

Monday, October 1, 2012

It's Monday Morning. What Diet Did You Wake Up Next To?






Soooo, I don't think I'm presenting a foreign scenario;

Its Monday morning, and one of the last thoughts of the night before was perhaps, "Okay, tomorrow I start that diet. I've really misbehaved this weekend, but come tomorrow things are gonna change."

Yikes! Why even go there Miss Erin? Monday mornings are enough of a pain to get through!

Last Friday morning I had a delightful and enlightening conversation with a friend of mine who also regularly takes my morning Zumba class that I teach 3 mornings a week.

She had asked me what I eat for breakfast normally. I've actually been asked that question many times, although mostly on mornings that I get a little wild in the energy department. Aside from that, I often think breakfast is sometimes how we set the pace/successes vs. failures of the rest of our day and our relationship with food. Ohhh, there it is. Our relationship with food.

Food, or rather fuel, is necessary. Food is comfort. Food is connections, whether with friends and family or culture, often both.

Food can also be a form of poison or a form of medicine. It can work against one's journey for health and wellness or help to pave the way.

Okay, back to the conversation.

I told my friend what I normally do, the reasons why and blah blah blah.

Our conversation started going in the direction of how choices are made often times by what relationship we are in with our "diets".

Maybe we have a relationship with a diet that is very demanding. You must do exactly this, in this amount at exactly this time.

Or perhaps you're in a crazy whirl wind adventure, where you trick the pounds away before your body realizes that you are majorly screwing with it!

Whatever the name or gimmick it always seems to be the same mess that you wake up to. Sure, it was perhaps new and exciting at first. The smell of optimism intoxicating. But a two week "crash" relationship does not make for a lifetime of security, confidence, trust and enlightenment. Pretty much the opposite.

If you think about a "diet" as someone that you would want to build a life with, the mundane and everyday as well as the glory of shared years, what would you look for?

Restrictions and unrelenting, as well as possibly unrealistic, demands?

False promises? A quick fix (one even quicker to come apart at the seams)?

Or rather;

Loving, nourishing and reasonable.

Realistic, with room for meeting your needs as an individual.

Doesn't take your intelligence for granted, but holds your hand with enthusiasm for the journey of discovery.

Not just for a couple of "shocking" weeks, but for a lifetime.

In my opinion, one's relationship with food should be one that is realistic, nourishing, custom-fitting and flexible, with spaces for both exceptions and hard limits (example; frozen yogurt/ice cream Tuesdays means so much to my kids. I'm having me some fro-yo or ice cream on Tuesdays. Gluten, no, not ever. At least not intentionally. Sorry Grandma. I love you, but I'm not eating a piece of that cake).

Am I perfect in all that I do food and nourishment wise? Um, hell to the no! Do I see my shortcomings as exactly that and not a reason or excuse to, pardon the cliche expression, throw the baby out with the bath water?  I've learned to in the last year and a half.

Oh, and let's rethink cheating. You don't cheat on something you are in a loving relationship with.There are treats. And those treats should not be followed by punishments. You go out with your buddies a number of nights or get tied up with projects, maybe you then focus on setting aside time with your loved ones (spouse, kids, what have you). You partake in foods you normally avoid, just make better choices for a number of days that follow to get yourself back on track. Its a journey! Not a race or competition.

Now comes the hardest part.

Finding the "one". The right "one". I'm talking lifestyle, which includes diet, exercise, stress management and adequate sleep (that one is a real bugger for me personally!).


So far I haven't talked much, if at all really, on this blog about nutrition (okay, maybe a little with links to Mark's Daily Apple, Everyday Paleo and I'll throw on a couple others, PaleoNonPaleo and Wellness Mama). But for the last eighteen months or so, it has been an important part of my family's and my journey of health and wellness.

As far as relationships with food and diet...oh, I've had my bad times.

Perhaps at some point I will post more extensively about that journey (successes and, dare I say it...failures, which should really be read as struggles).

So our conversation basically came to the conclusion that how one views food and nourishment should be held to the same standards as a lifetime commitment type of relationship. Don't settle for less than you deserve! You are worth the time and energy to find what works, and I mean what works for the long term, the everyday, both the good days and the bad.

Oh, and about starting fresh come Monday morning; screw that! Changes can be made any day of the week at any hour. Your sink is dripping Thursday night, you don't wait till Monday morning to fix it. Get on it now. It's not a house fire. You can safely make little steps, anytime.

Favorite breakfast; eggs scrambled in coconut oil served with half an avocado.

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Monday, September 24, 2012

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends...

Oh I'm a lucky girl surrounded by awesome people!

I've posted lately about breaking down the "Thriller" dance in preparation for Thrill The World Day (TTW).

My friend Melanie has kept me on track with using the right video tutorials.

*Side note; one of these days I'm going to do a post on Melanie's Zumba journey. I remember back in around '08ish telling her about Zumba and how fun it was. "I could never do that. I'm not coordinated enough for that!", are pretty close to her exact words. Now, half the time I'm watching her while I teach for inspiration! She is a beautiful and fierce beast on the Z floor!

Well, last Friday I was breaking down a bit more of the dance right before Zumba class. And I was starting to get those feelings of, "What have I got myself into?". I'm terrible at talking and dancing. So talking through the steps while doing them, while at tempo can definitely get a little dodgy for me!

Lucky for me, an angel named Brittany was in class. She let me know that there was a version of the song that had voice over cuing for the moves that corresponded with the tutorial I was using.

Brittany had emailed it to me by the time I got home. It's loaded and ready to be used this morning.

My 15 year old daughter and I had fun practicing with it last night. Okay, I was practicing the dance, Caitlyn, however, was trying to see if she could Dougie to Thriller. I was going to insert a link to a tutorial on how toDougie, but it became quickly apparent that it was going to be a long search for an explicit language free video. Search at your own risk!

A big thank you to Brittany!

I'm ready to get my Zombie on!

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thriller Tutorial Update!

A few days ago I posted some tutorials that I thought were helpful for breaking down and learning the Thriller dance in preparation for TTW Day.

Well my friend Melanie went with her kids to one of our local TTW practices and noticed that the dance they use is more specific to one of the tutorials.

Its the one that is linked on the official site. Actually its a series of clips. 40 to be exact.

I tracked down clip 39 of 40. If you need to see the tutorial in its entirety you can find it by

First going to the TTW site
http://thrilltheworld.com/

Second, go to "Learn the dance" and click on "video links". There you will have the options of all sorts of sections to chose from in learning the dance.

There is also a "dance script".

Today our script is;



Zombie March


(forward) right left right left
(take-it-back) right left right left
(to-the-front) right left right left
(take-it-back) right left right left


March Booty Swim

(forward) *shoulder step nothing step *shoulder step *shoulder step
(back) *shoulder step nothing step *shoulder step *shoulder step
(step) booty bounce (together) booty bounce
(step) booty bounce (together) booty bounce
swim together swim jump (hold)
swim together swim jump

*use your RIGHT SHOULDER

Shuffle Ha Slide

shuffle back hop hop forward
turn look stare stare
down ha down ha down ha down ha
down clap slide slide slide stomp and shoulders look left
down clap slide slide slide stomp and shoulders and prep

Hip N’ Roar

right hip right hip right hip in out
left hip left hip in and roar
walk walk roar-turn roar-turn roar-turn
walk walk roar-turn roar-turn
jump and land circle
shake-it-and-a-uppa and a shake-it-and-a-uppa
stomp stomp stomp look left
walk left right left and turn

Wuz Up

(forward on right leg) wuz up 1-2-3
left right 1-2-3
(take-it-back) right left 1-2-3
left right 1-2-3

Shuffle Ha Slide

shuffle back hop hop forward
turn look stare stare
down ha down ha down ha down ha
down clap slide slide slide stomp and shoulders look left
down clap slide slide slide stomp and shoulders look left

A big Thank You to Melanie for keep'in me on track!

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Monday, September 17, 2012

"Thriller" Tutorials For TTW Day.

Thrill The World Day is on Oct. 27th. I'm still breaking down the dance, little by little, and working on it with my Zumba class. Monday and Friday mornings, 8:15am-8:30am I teach a section at a time.

Click here to check the TTW Chico's practice schedule.

Learning the dance from Thriller is new to me too. I've found some tutorials that I like, as well as some that others like. Everyone learns and/or responds to instruction a little differently.

Check out these tutorials and learn the dance!

This link is a 40 part series of clips.



I like this You Tube tutorial.




This one I fine helpful too.



Have fun!

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Thrill The World!

Thrill The World Day (TTW) 2012 is Saturday October 27th 2012.
This from the TTW website;

What is Thrill The World?


Thrill The World is an annual worldwide simultaneous dance of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Every October, since 2006, Funky Zombies across the globe gather to synchronize their watches and dance to the greatest selling record of all time – Michael Jackson’s Thriller!

Volunteer event organizers in cities around the world organize events using the Thrill The World leaders manual and Thrill The World tool box.

Anyone can organize an event! No age requirement or experience necessary! And there is no limit to the number of events in each city!

Each event raises money for a local or not-for-profit charity of their choice.

Michael Jackson's Thriller was released in December of 1983. The dance in the video of a mob of funky zombies has been iconic ever since!

I was around 13 years old when it came out and I watched that video at least a million times. I never really learned the dance though. I don't know why that is, but whatever. It's a fun dance for all ages, so what better time than now.

Michael Jackson's life, and untimely death, was and still is steeped in controversy. But nobody can deny the effect his life's work has had on pop culture (here and abroad) and music across the globe.

For the first time ever I am setting about to learn the Thriller dance and I'm gonna take as many as will go on the journey with me!

My plan is to break it down little by little in my Zumba class. I will be providing information for folks local to me as to where they can get even more practice.

In Chico, Ca. locals can join up with Thrill The World Chico. On their site you can find a calendar of practice time and locations, as well as tutorial videos and other resources.

Check in your local area, or surrounding area for TTW events going on.


I was tinkering around on You tube for tutorials. Here's some of what I found;



I have posted Part 3, but you should be able to find Parts 1 &2, as well as others.

And of course, Michael Jackson's Thriller.

Let's get busy!

Enjoy the dance that is life!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dance Fushions!




Tap dancing is one of those things that's been on my bucket list for a long time. You would think that with my 30+ years of dance training I would've already had quite a bit under my belt. Not so.

I was just really focused on ballet training. I was exposed to and trained in and performed other forms of dance; modern, jazz, but I never seriously took tap. It was never for lack of appreciation of the dance form. I just never squeezed it in. Even when I went to intensive summer dance camps in the 80's as a teen dancer. The offerings were usually centered around ballet, jazz, character (I certainly don't ever remember that many adorable male dancers in one spot!) and pointe work which usually included pas de deux training. The one class in tap that I remember I struggled with timing (not my strong suit as a youth) and keeping my ankles relaxed.

If there is one thing I know for sure, as I try to keep my 40-something body from falling apart, there is always room to learn new things in dance and movement. One must calibrate their expectations appropriately, but that can still leave a vast amount of potential new skills still available for learning. Throughout the week I am reminded of this whenever I watch my older Zumba participants move and groove. I'm talking women in their 70's and 80's rockin those hips!


Well, here's a video that makes me want to move "learning tap" a little higher up on my bucket list.
It's an awesome fushion of hip hop and tap. Although kickin it old school with tap is pretty boss too!


Click here, and scroll down a bit till you see where there is a video. Enjoy!

What's on your bucket list?

Thanks for reading.

Enjoy the dance that is life!