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!

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


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


*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;

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.

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, 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.

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!