The other day I was dancing Tango with a student in my UNM Ballroom class, and he thanked me for sharing my darker story of physical challenges with the class last fall.
And then he asked that share them openly with you. Oh boy...
Here are some hard health highlights from my first 35 years:
• Cancer Survivor, age 19. No thyroid. Limited body temperature and metabolism regulation
• Missing liver enzyme, high bilirubin and immune response
• High arches and shorter right leg; corrective orthotics
• Underdeveloped vertebrae, forward pelvic tilt, permanent s- and c- spinal curves
• Occasional peripheral neuropathy, unknown cause or progression
• Four head traumas, four pregnancies but two beautiful children, epidural spinal leak, broken tailbone, nail through my left foot…
Yes... There IS more.
BUT! The reason he and so many students come to UNM PE-AP classes and I dance and teach today with minimal pain, strength, and wellness: our like-minded community is sharing it all with YOU!
The UNM Dance Fitness Clinic, April 19-20, 2016
A celebration of movement and wellness for all.
This event could be the beginning of YOUR wellness story.
- Begin to dance and compete with no one, just grow in your own way
- Try social dance even if you don’t have a partner, but you may find one and you could dance together
- No matter your mood, learn simple dance moves will lift you, thrill you, relax you, elevate you, and showcase YOUR unique strengths your unique strengths
- No barriers, no experience necessary, all abilities ages 13 to 100+
Our mission to provide dance as wellness for all is and has been beyond worthwhile. UNM, guest Louis Van Amstel, and our local NM community and I are so honored and thank you for your time and consideration in joining us.
Some of my UNM Stress Management students have struck gold on stress reduction techniques at our half-way class point, and others are still waiting to find their "solution".
Here are some thoughts on "Journeys and Journals". Our path lengths are all varied, but continue to "seek and you shall find!" ;D
And while you're spreading love, give love and dance to yourself today and always! XO - Megan
Warning: the following is a self-indulgent, feel-amazing playlist for your life, NO PARTNERS NECESSARY. Choose your favorites, then rock it solo or among friends!
Slow Salsa/Tango Stretch: Love Like This, Natasha Bedingfield, Sean Kingston
Cha Cha/Jive Mix: Before We Fall In Love, Damato
Viennese Waltz: The Blue Danube, Manhattan Pops
Slow Samba: You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile
Martin Luther King, Jr. moved his generation with a deep and demanding love, particularly song artists. In honor of the emotional and lyrical depth of those artists, here are a few of my favorite dance songs from the 1960s.
LaBlast Music of the 1960s
Dance to the Music - Sly and the Family Stone (1968), Warm-Up/Disco
Something's Got a Hold on Me - Etta James (1962), Medium Jive
Do You Love Me - The Contours (1962), Mix
Then He Kissed Me - The Crystals (1963), Paso Doble
You Never Can Tell - Chuck Berry (1960-1964), Mix
Land of 1000 Dances - Chris Kenner (1963) / Wilson Pickett (1966), Jive Twist/Kick
Twenty Five Miles - Edwin Starr (1968), Hustle
One Fine Day - The Chiffons (1963), Quick Step
Be My Baby - The Ronettes (1963-1946), Rumba
These Arms of Mine - Otis Redding (1962-1964), Rumba
Winter Wonderland - Bernard and Smith (1934) / Aretha Franklin (1964), Viennese Waltz
Some Kind of Wonderful - The Drifters (1960), Cool Down
Save the Last Dance for Me - The Drifters (1962), Cool Down
May we turn our dreams of love into action. Then dance, together. - Megan
I've been in the fitness industry for around 15 years, passing through many locations, instructing diverse populations, always loving these people and places. But over the past five years, I began witnessing colleagues really gravitate toward specific fitness groups: Les Mills, Beachbody, Zumba, TRX, Crossfit... and I had huge envy watching them become deeply passionate and fully ingrained into these groups. They found their tribe.
This finally happened to me at IDEA 2011 when I came across LaBlast Fitness. The feeling of connection was so intense I thought "I have to find a FLAW with this program or I'm in it for life!" Fast forward to today as a new Master Trainer and I feel very fortunate for my LaBlast family and experiences.
This is the power of finding your tribe. Your work turns to passion; you look forward to being involved. Your tribe makes what you need to do in life (like being physically active) so much better.
1. REALLY listen to yourself: what do you enjoy? My husband loves cycling. My sister found yoga. My daughter's teacher adores her daily run. And my friend loves her two daily hours at the gym. I love dance but LaBlast also gave me variety, authenticity, use of my own music, the option to dance with my family and friends, and much more!
2. Trying A LOT of new and varied things. Keep narrowing down who, what, where, and when might fit you until you strike gold. You can browse the myriad of my blog posts on fitness trials I have had. Around 2012 I enjoyed watching others enjoy Zumba, so a wrote an article and held a Zumba charity event for colleagues at UNM. My husband still enjoys a few Beachbody programs we starting trying several years ago (and despite it not being my fit, those programs are REALLY fantastic!) In 2011, I researched and practiced running to team up for a marathon but all of these activities felt unnatural. In contrast, I really look forward to time I spend dancing LaBlast.
3. New tribes start everyday! Among 6 billion people in the world, your tribe is either waiting for you or should be created. In a very short time and now at 800 global instructors, our LaBlast tribe feels so happy that Louis Van Amstel took the time and effort in creating our program. Other tribes are equally as grateful to their group innovators.
4. Be in more than one tribe, because:
Every tribe in your life will vary in the amount of time and level of interaction. LaBlast is my physical activity tribe that grew to enhance my occupation, intellect, and more, but I keep jogging, meditation, strengthening, and self defense in my fitness routines. My coworkers at UNM inspire me to strive higher for our students. I have a group of mom friends that share parenting stories and emotionally support one another in beautiful ways once or twice a month online. You can have more than one tribe in various areas of your life, such as your:
- environment: your location and surroundings, home, neighborhood, community, state
- career: your occupation versus your career and your finances
- social relationships: your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors...
- emotions: your feelings about actions, events, and life in general
- spirituality: your positivity and/or religious beliefs
- intellect: your education and ongoing pursuit to learn new things
- physical body: your nutrition, physical activity, sleep, stress, and overall health
Which tribes will you look for this New Year?
XO - Megan
When the dance and fitness worlds collide, four beautiful principles come together!
- Comfortable: absence of pain and distress, free of anxiety, feeling of ease and security
- Challenge: full use of your abilities and resources during trying but stimulating situations
- Compassion: awareness of the needs of others and a desire to alleviate a person's suffering
- Confidence: trust, faith, and self-assurance; a belief in your own abilities
What are the senses of comfortable challenges?
- Accomplishment striving and task completion
- A pounding but slowing heart at the end of a journey
- Heavy breathing but calm words of "Hello!"
- Reaching the final push or lift and striving a bit further
In aerobic activity, this is defined by being able to talk with single words yet you are breathing heavily during repetitive motions like walking, cycling, and swimming. In strength training, it is the moment when you can perform one more exercise safely before you loose proper form from muscle fatigue during motions such as lifting and pulling.
Reaching the CC level of intensity in both causes a safe overload: push your body to reach just slightly beyond it's capacity and doing so stimulates the body to grow stronger (muscle strength) and longer in capacity (muscle or cardiopulmonary endurance). Pushing well beyond this limit at once can burn more calories but raises injury risk and requires a longer recovery period before the next trial. Some activity is always better than none but I encourage you to give a bit more for greater results.
What do compassion and confidence look like?
- Rising posture
- Shining sweat
- Glowing yet lifted eyes
- Radiant smiles
- Open and welcoming arms
Compassion in dance connects instructors, students, and communities through movement and music. When a group moves compassionately in sync; physically connects through eye contact, partnering or circling; or simply unites in a display of positive emotion; the experience deepens support, encouragement, and unity.
Confidence is possessing faith in the class you enter when you enter, and growing your confidence during big or small dance attempts will leave you with less fear in your life. Turn your thoughts toward the similarities between you and other dancers: what is inside matters most, and what is outside becomes an aesthetic of diminished importance. Engage in every challenge with a positive goal in an open heart and mind. You will receive so much more.
Want to retain these principles? A happy child can remind you.
Wishing you comfortable challenges filled with compassion and confidence!
XO - Megan
The top educators in the world list "Setting High Expectations" as a priority step to reaching great achievements: a belief that WONDERFUL THINGS ARE going to happen to you! From your first hot air balloon ride, to switching careers, to changing your health habits: aim high to reach high in your life. Once you set a high expectation, plan 1. Resources, 2. Timed Steps, and 3. Support to move from belief to reality.
1. RESOURCES: The valid, trusted tools and knowledge to reach your goal. Seek resources that are 1. accurate and 2. level-appropriate. If your resource is convenient but not from an expert or it is from a professional but not understandable, keep searching. Correct materials at your level are worth their weight in gold!
HOT TIP: When searching online for content, resources, or products, read "Comment", "Testimonial", and "About" pages to get a feel for who the creator is and the type of client the resource was designed for.
2. TIMED STEPS: The timeline and size of steps fit into your life, today! Although vast changes are a wonderful thought, most if not all daily life changes will happen in small, quick, and simple modifications to your normal routine. Make long-term changes by repeating those small behaviors over time.
Small example steps are: taking 5 minutes a day to write down daily spending habits, swapping out the yogurt for a cleaner brand on the next shopping trip, and making a call to a local gym to ask about their programs.
HOT TIP: Keep moving forward by making the steps to your expectation REQUIRED, not optional.
3. SUPPORT: Build a support network of people who have been there, done that. Seek referrals, ideas, or experience friends, family, and area professionals: their feedback is priceless.
HOT TIP: Kiss shyness goodbye and ASK professionals the questions you have to build your plan. Experts are people just like you but simply further along on the same journey.
High Expectation: "Hey Megan, I'm going to become a fitness professional!"
|Oh, wow! Tell me more...|
High Expectation with a Plan:
"Hey Megan, I would love to change careers and become a fitness professional! I can begin working one-on-one with members at a local gym but here's what I need to do:
The local gym requires an ACE Personal Trainer certification; I looked into it online and the ACE PT Exam materials and testing procedure seem valid (NCCA accreditation) and are broken down into segments that fit my 12-14 week/10 hrs per week available study time. ACE has email reminders, study guides, flash cards, and live chat support, too!
I can make it work if every Monday-Friday from 6-8 AM if I set my alarm and get going on time, plus I'll schedule in two extra study weeks in case emergencies arise before my testing date, so 14 weeks total to prep. My super family is going to limit distractions during my study hours. May I email you once or twice if I have content questions?"
|Great goal and those first steps sounds amazing! Absolutely!|
The expectation may be a strong belief, but the expectation with a plan changes your reality by developing passion, preparation, obstacle avoidance, plus you will gain supporters along your journey.
Honoring the memories, tragedies, survival, and empowerment of a single day in the history of the world through dance.
"Let freedom ring... Let the weak be strong... Throw the stone away..." - Martina McBride
Embrace the rhythms.
Repeat the mantras.
To a blessed and inspired life, EVERY single moment.
Warm-Up Traveling/Tango: Born This Way, Lady Gaga
"Spread your wings; you've got this!"
Warm-Up, Isolations Mixed with In-Place Cha Cha/Disco/Jive: Wings, Little Mix
Sept. 11, 2001
2,996 deaths; +6,000 injuries
Salsa: I'm Alive, Celine Dion
LaBlast Weight Loss Challenge
Empowering our Body, Mind, and Emotions
"Stronger, Harder, Wiser, Faster, Smarter"
Hip Hop Salsa: Fighter, Christina Aguilera
"Make Love to the DANCE FLOOR"
Cha Cha/Salsa/Jive: Dance Again, Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull
"Pride Inside You"
Disco/Strength: Rambo - Hardwell Edit, Deorro and J-Trick
Cha Cha/Salsa/Merengue Partnered: Independence Day, Martina McBride
Slow to Fast Jive: Proud Mary, Tina Turner
SQQ Rumba with Weights: No Air, Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown
Samba: Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy; Big & Rich
"Transition to Life"
Cool Down: Breathe, Faith Hill
"Feel Good. Life is Good."
Goodbyes: Feeling Good, Nina Simone