Major Lazer – Slide – #MoveMondays

Single, single, double

This move is fun and one that you can add into a lot of different songs and routines easily but there are a couple of key points that you need to be aware of so you don’t hurt yourself:

  • When doing this move and taking part in any dance fitness class you should have proper workout trainers. If there is too much grip on the top of your trainer when twisting your feet you may twist your knee…not good!
  • Make sure you stay on the balls of your feet, it’s much easier to move faster
  • Only go as low as you can while still being able to move to the beat. There’s no point pushing yourself to go lower if you’re going to hurt yourself getting back up at the right moment to move to the next step

Enjoy and ciao for now x

Back poses….on the farm?! – #StretchSundays

Cat and Cow poses – Marjaryasana and Bitilasana

An extremely underestimated series of stretches that is great for anyone with slight back pains. I’ve been in the office before where people have got lower back pains and have had to work still and I’ve made them get on the floor in the middle of the office and do this little sequence.

It’s understated and the combination of the two poses with added breathing helps to calm you at the same time as stretching your body out. Some teachers use this combination as a good warm up for a class, preparing the back for future stretches.

Ciao for now x

When the location dictates the teacher – #TalkToMeTuesdays

As my journey along this fitness path continues I’m learning more and more about lots of things. What type of teachers I like, what type of venue, how far I’m willing to travel and how much I am willing to pay. You start the journey wanting a class for convenience but slowly you can outgrow your classes, or even your teachers at some point, or stagnate. That doesn’t mean they are a bad teacher, just that the type of teaching they do, doesn’t work for you anymore.

This is why I think it’s so important to keep developing even as a teacher. By that I don’t mean by learning a new posture for Yoga, or a new choreography for Dance or even a new recipe if you cook. I mean growing into your role and developing how you do what you do. For example, as a Dance fitness teacher I have taken up dance classes myself to try and improve my technique, refine my moves and even push myself out my comfort zone. My class will tell you that when I first started teaching I did not like the traditional Zumba hip based moves. I felt uncomfortable and unwieldy. I’m not saying I am any better in how I execute the move but I have tried really hard to try and improve that element of my teaching and to give my class a much more varied workout, constantly changing my songs and my choreo so they can grow, but also so that I can grow.

I find it baffling when you may have a Zumba teacher, or a Dance fitness teacher who has not changed for years. Ok, so you don’t have to be a dancer to teach dance fitness or even Zumba but what you do is still a career. If you worked in a standard day job, you’d still have objectives, you’d still have courses for improvement, constant feedback and expect to improve year on year. So why would you not do the same with this career? I know a lot of teachers that have done the same thing for years. They still have good numbers in their classes which is great, but is that good numbers because people don’t like change or are those good numbers just a turnover of people? If you have 30 people in a class this week, in 3 months you still have 30 people you’d think that was great for consistency. But how many of those new 30 are the same 30 that you had 3 months ago? It’s all well and good to keep numbers consistent but also you want those people to be with you long term feeling like the workout is constantly something new, something fresh and pushes them in new ways. For yourself, especially if you do 10 of those classes a week, when will you get sick of that song or that choreo and not give 100% every time you teach?

Furthermore, locations. Now I understand that especially in London (though also I’m sure everywhere) there is a growing desire for boutique type gyms and studios. More trendy, more expensive and more dynamic classes. I’m all for that. However, what I’m not all for is the location changing a teacher.

Every teacher you have for any type of fitness brings their own elements to their classes. Some of us design our own classes, or even deliver the same classes in very different ways. It doesn’t mean any of us are wrong, just different. That’s why there is so much choice. Someone may love attending my class, some may hate it. It’s not because I’m a bad teacher, just because the way I teach doesn’t appeal to them.

Today I went to a trendy studio in Central London. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the studio. I was sincerely disappointed in my class. Why? It was a yoga class, 50 mins. Firstly, it overran which is a big deal when you are going in the middle of the working day. Not only that but we moved through every posture so fast I barely got into them before we were moving out of them. We also did SO MANY postures, I’m sure we were going through the entire yoga dictionary. For those that practice yoga, I was doing crow balances in my second sun salute flow. During the entire 60 mins class we did, cows head pose, flows, warrior 1, warrior 2, warrior 3, humble warrior, reverse warrior, side twist, head stands, hand stands, forearm balance, side crow, standing balance, wheel and that is just to name a few!

At the time I blamed the teacher. Most of the class didn’t do every posture, myself included so why did she not recognise that we weren’t ready for them all and just take longer with the previous pose? On reflection, and after speaking to a few others, I realised there was probably a heavy influence from the studio. The entire theme of the location is about fast, dynamic, tough, arm balances and I realised that perhaps some of it was her inattentiveness to her class but how much of it was her opinion being over written by a location?

So my statement today is this. Like every single job we do, in every single walk of life. You can love your job but hate where you work. Nowhere is worth sacrificing who you are and how you do your job for. A fitness teacher especially has to stay true to themselves and has to teach their content, their way. They can’t be forced into changing everything because that is what the location wants as it just shows that the location doesn’t really understand the topic you are teaching. Yoga is about internalising, and as a couple of my awesome teachers have said in the past, it’s about how a posture FEELS not what it looks like. How can you get to what it FEELS like if you have barely got into the posture? If every posture is a transition, when do you stop to take it in?

Something to think about.

Ciao for now x

Punch the waves – #WetWednesdays

PUNCH!

When you were a kid did you ever play fight with waves? I did, well I mean, I still do! haha when that wave comes in, ball your fist up and punch it with all your might.

It’s incredible the strength you use and how the resistance pushing back on your hand really works your arm. Try comparing it to the slice we did last week.

Go to the pool and try the too. What is harder? What is easier? Can you feel the resistance more in your arms when you punch it? Can you feel the difference and how hard it is?

There are a number of ways you can change your hand movement to get a higher or lower level of workout.

What about if you slice your hand to the side, how does that feel? Now try balling your fist. You have more of your hand exposed to the water now so you can really feel a big difference. Creating a smaller plane that’s exposed to the the water will make less impact and less resistance.

Playing with different hand movements is so much fun and makes me feel like a kid again. Hit the pool, have a play and enjoy yourself. Experiment, be a child and lose your inhibitions.

Ciao for now x

The importance of breathing – #WellbeingWednesdays

Just-Breathe-image download

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breathing. We all do it, we all think we do it well but do we really? The amount of forms of exercise and fitness that focus on your breathing can teach you how badly you are breathing.

One little breath can be manipulated to have such a dramatic difference. Those who practice yoga know what a lion’s breath can do, a huge sigh that releases tension and lets you clear out stale air that’s been stored in your lungs for longer than needed.

Then of course there is the fire breath, shallow, fast paced breaths that build up your body’s temperature and can be a workout in their own right!!

Then for those of you who swim, there’s the very shallow and slow breaths. You literally have a tiny handful of seconds to take a breath but that breath only needs to last the next handful of strokes until you’re back up again. It’s slow to keep your body calm and relaxed and very shallow so you don’t keep yourself too buoyant.

So why don’t you take some time right now and focus on your breathing. Try not to change it or influence it. Just close your eyes, try and block out all the sound around you. Just turn your gaze inwards, assess your breathing. Is it shallow? Is it deep? Is it fast? Is it slow? Now start playing with it. Make it deeper, longer and slower. What effect does it have on your body? How about if you speed it up and keep them deep? And make it shallow?

Playing with breath, learning the effect it has on your own body is a huge step towards being more self-aware. Then when you’re mood is needing a bit of a switch up, use your breath.

At work and feeling quite lethargic and sleepy? Speed your breathing up, make it shallower, start heating your body up and you might see a big difference in your energy levels.

Agitated, stressed or just generally fidgety? Slow your breathing down, make them longer, deeper and try and fill every part of your lungs. What difference does it make? Do you feel more relaxed?

Have fun with your breath. Play with it, see what difference it can make!

Have fun, ciao for now x

Box step – #MoveMondays

One of the easiest move to teach someone as you just need a bit of imagination to picture a box!

Where your feet start are the bottom two corners of the box and all you do is step each foot forwards to imagine the box on the floor.

This move can then be tailored so you can go lower, push your hips out further or use your arms to add in more of a full body workout.

The move is pretty straightforward so no instructions this time, just watch and copy!

Have fun and ciao for now x

Slice that hand – #WetWednesdays

Have you ever tried aqua aerobics? If not? Why not? It’s actually great fun and there are very simple yet effective ways to make the workout harder or easier as the case may be.

One of the best ways to change up the exercise is to change your hands. No matter what your legs are doing try this simple switch up of your hand positions and movements and see what effect it has on your workout.

The easiest hand movement you can do is to slice the water. Position your hand into a flat knife like position and slice it through the water. Either fingers first and slicing forward or off to the side so your hand is still facing forwards. Notice how much easier it is than if you had your hands open in the direction you are moving your hands in? Thats because your hands are showing the smallest possible plane facing into the water which means there’s less resistance.

Doesn’t mean it’s easy to do, but it will be easier than a few of the other variations which we will cover in later blog posts. Still a great way to work out your arms and chest.

Enjoy this one!

Ciao for now x