When was the last time you felt empowered?
I have never been someone who enjoyed exercise. In school I hated gym class with a passion. After puberty I was never in any sports and let dance fade away until I was an adult. I have tried different techniques over the years to be in better shape.
And as someone who had a rocky relationship with exercise, it was hard for me to understand people who got addicted to it and really, truly enjoyed it. But then I found Zumba fitness, and I got a tiny glimpse into that world. I went to classes regularly, and then I started downloading the music and dancing to it in my kitchen. I understood a little better. It was hard for me to stand still when a Zumba song came on.
And then, one day, it happened. I was attending a Zumba fitness class, and we were doing a toning song to “Confident” by Demi Lovato. I liked the song all right. But I tend to grow to love a song more when I learn a dance to it. Everything about the song and the moves was uplifting. We used small free weights as we danced, building muscle. And at the climactic ending of the song, we did jumping jacks for about sixteen bars. The first few times I tried it I simply wanted to die. I didn’t think I would make it, but I kept pushing through. I kept hearing those words in my head, “What’s wrong with being...what’s wrong with being confident?” And then, this one day, not only did I push through the slog of my resistance. I sailed right through it into euphoria.
I felt invincible, untouchable. Confident. Empowered. I felt like I could have kept going. It was incredible. I have never had exercise make me feel that way in my entire life. It was always just something to be endured and survived. I never knew it could be fun, uplifting, or exhilarating. But I did know that I wanted to feel that way again.
The music in Zumba classes is my fuel. I may not love every song. But the fact that every beat has a move at once anchors and frees me. Every second has potential meaning. It’s all there for you, waiting to be unlocked. And what it can unleash in you is incredible. You will feel uplifted so that you don’t notice the slog, the sweat, the breathlessness. You can be carried along in a river of music until you reach the destination you are striving for. That can be weight loss. That can be mental clarity. That can be a simple break from your kids. It can be camaraderie. It can be improved fitness.
It can be empowerment. You can shove all of those doubts away and be encouraged to leave it all on the floor. It doesn’t matter if you can dance like a master. You are doing this for you, and you alone. All that matters is that you keep moving, and you will find yourself far away from where you started.
Written by Rachel Mowbray.
*You can join Rachel, and experience the incredible fun and joy of a Zumba class, Wednesday evenings at Wild Woman Wellness Center. Head over to our classes page for more info. And, just in case you're feeling nervous, the first class is FREE!