Thursday, 27 September 2012

Bokwa & Tai Chi

No, I haven't just randomly typed letters into the heading, those are in fact the names of two new gym classes I tried this evening.

Firstly Bokwa. Bokwa is the latest dance craze since Zumba hit our shores. Which admittedly wasn't that long ago, but turns out we needed another craze. As it happens I never got round to trying Zumba although I wanted to. I thought about it. A lot. But it would seem thinking about something isn't quite the same as getting off your arse and actually doing it.

Anyway, back to Bokwa. Bokwa is Zumba for people who can't dance, have no rhythm, no coordination and can't be arsed with complicated routines. Basically you just make out different letters with your feet on the you sort of step round an O shape, or an Lshape etc with a few bounces in between. And that's it. So as long as you have feet and you can spell, you're in. Sounds pretty lame. Except because there are no cringey steps and compulsory dance moves, you can pretty much do what you like within those shapes. So if you want to go all JLo and shake your booty round the place, you can. Or if you want to just step politely round the edges you can do that too.

Why am I telling you any of this?  Because I loved it.

I love dancing and music and being an old married in the berbs I no longer get to do it that often. Other than by myself in a dark room with my headphones on. I also get quite frustrated by dance classes at the gym when they start yelling at you to do moves you don't want to do,(or can't do more to the point) or that involve back breaking feats even a non dodgy back would wince at. I haven't done a gym class for an age...too busy, wrong time, crap timetable, back hurts blah blah am lazy and can't be arsed but making up various stupid excuses, that kind of thing. So I miss a good bit of group sweating and floor pounding.

Hence I signed myself up and off I went.  It was great. The moves are challenging enough to not be boring so you feel a sense of achievement when you have mastered them. The music is upbeat and uplifting, everybody is essentially doing their own thing, in the same vague shape with some ideas chucked in by the instructor, it was fast and high impact enough to get a good sweat (and a nice rosy face) on without being so gruelling I might never walk again. Perfect. ok, not quite perfect, it starts at 7pm which might be too early for me to ever make it home from work in time again but where there's a will...

So I repeat, why I am telling you this? Because it made me happy.

Why did it make me happy?

Because it was exercise. Because it was stretching (actually, like most gym classes, there wasn't much of that) but achievable. Because I was able to achieve a 'sense of mastery'. Because I could let myself go with the 'flow'. Because there was uplifting music. Because I felt a part of something bigger than myself. Because it was new. Because there was a community of us doing it together.

And then I thought to myself, the tai chi class is starting now. I could stay for that. Shall I? Well I wont get home until later. So? Well I hadn't planned to do that. but I suppose I could. I was going to start that next week. And so my inner monologue continued until I remembered something I read on Fat Girl Ph.D's blog earlier today. Stop thinking about it, just bloody do it. Nobody ever regretted working out, thinking about exercising or not is more exhausting than just doing the class. So, I stopped thinking about it and just went for it. I turned around and walked straight back into the same studio I'd just come out of and signed up for tai chi as well.

I have always wanted to do tai chi. There is something very appealing to me about it. It seems to graceful and considered and flowing and peaceful. And after the frenetic leaping around-ness of Bokwa it seemed the perfect antidote. It was.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I loved it! and again, it made me happy.

This time it made me happy for slightly different reasons.

Tai chi made me happy because e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g w.a.s s.l.o.w.e.d r.i.g.h.t d.o.w.n. giving me some much needed space. Space to breathe, literally and metaphorically. Because tai chi has to be so effortless I had to stop the trying so hard I seem to do the rest of the time. Because it is all about mindfulness and meditation. All the movements are really hypnotic and relaxing and I found myself really switching off from the outside and totally focusing inwards. Because tai chi is more spiritual than physical. Because I was learning a new skill...and as in Bokwa, actually managing to do it. I met new people. I relaxed. And I finally found a way to do something I have wanted to do for ages.

I should probably mention that I am also signed up for Anti Gravity Yoga next week as well so watch this space for yet another 'my new thing I learnt today' post.

So, the upshot of all of this is that I'm feeling rather proud of myself today. I got through a lot of work, I ticked off a whole load of chores, I ate well and I've made all my food ready for tomorrow. Then I went out and tried not one but two new exercise classes and enjoyed them both.

I know not every day will pan out like this, but it's worth stopping and appreciating it, and myself, when it does.

So, for now, well done me!

1 comment:

  1. Great article- thank you for writing.

    I loved BOKWA so much I am now teaching it in New Hampshire! See


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