Entering the fall, I was not sure what direction to go in. I made the decision to focus on my family and my students. This decision has brought me happiness in ways I cannot describe.
I have made the commitment to go back to dance classes purely for the joy it brings me. There is no wish to be on Broadway or even to get in better shape. It is truly fun. Taking this view has allowed me to meet new people and reconnect with others.
Bringing a new focus to teaching and a desire to constantly find new information has been great. I have created new classes and I am lucky enough to help people on their fitness journey. Some are at the beginning and others are further along the path.
I often hear about the fears people have when it comes to fitness. One of the most common is a fear of standing out in class or not being strong enough to take the class. It was hearing these concerns that brought me back to my original teaching goal. Finding ways to make simple changes and fitness available to everyone.
It was with this passion, that I have been focusing on my Facebook page, Simply Modern. Each day, I am posting a seated core exercise at 11:30 and a standing core exercise at 4:15; with the goal of giving people easy ideas to try while they are at work or making dinner.
At this time, I am going to focus on my Facebook adventure. I will be sure to share my experiences moving forward on this blog – but not regularly. Thank you for the support and I hope you enjoy the new tips
When did being average become a bad thing? It seems in every aspect of our society people are looking upon average as a lack of success. We seem to be living in a world of extremes. You are obese or do military style training, you are wealthy or poor, vegan or junk food lover – what happened to the middle? So many people talk about finding a balance, yet they don’t want to be average. Perhaps it is how we perceive the word.
The funny thing about average is that it’s constantly changing. Look at how much the average cost of living has changed. The same is true for athletics and academics. Personally, I learned to read in first grade which was average at the time. Now, the average first grader is reading chapter books and learning the building blocks of algebra. What used to be unheard of in athletics is now average thanks to different physical training and more advanced equipment. As we continue to grow as a society our average keeps changing.
As a parent, I often reflect on my own memories and experiences. Like everyone, we try to emulate parts of our childhood and maybe tweak other parts. I was a good student and took advanced classes all the way through school. I will never forget the look on my Advanced Placement Physics teacher when he saw that I would be majoring in dance. Having a name at the end of the alphabet, he had read eighteen engineering or pre-med majors and literally stopped in his tracks at dance. He questioned my reasoning for taking his class. My answer was simply that I liked math and science and it was the next logical step. As you might imagine, I never used those great physics skills.
As a dance major, I didn’t need high level math for my gen ed so I took a relatively basic math class. It was in this class that we calculated mortgage and credit card interest. Yes, I had learned these skills early on in math class, but frankly knowing how to compound interest for a mortgage doesn’t mean anything to an eighth grader. I could make the argument that the lower level math class in college was more beneficial than the AP physics in high school for the life that I lead.
Would I change taking advanced classes? Absolutely not, but I don’t think they define me as a person. I am sure they have helped with my daily reasoning skills, but my friends who didn’t take advanced classes are leading wonderful lives. Somewhere along the way, we all met at average and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. My goal for my children is to set them up to succeed. For now, that means letting them try a variety of activities and seeing which ones they enjoy. Down the road they will have to make decisions about which ones they want to pursue and I am sure their individual talents will play a role. Most importantly, I hope that they lead a happy life – even if it is average!
I am lucky enough to live in a town where the community and schools support each other. My son is in elementary school and this year I was fortunate enough to volunteer for what they call, enrichment clusters. Each school in our town offers a variation of the same program through 7th grade. Some schools find time during the school day for these enrichment clusters and others have them after school. Regardless, they are amazing!
My son’s school has them on Friday mornings for six weeks. These programs are run by parents and volunteers within the community. Each year the school looks for people to volunteer and it is amazing at the variety of programs they offer. There is everything from crafts, sewing, sign-language, the police department and fire department each offer classes, hip hop dance, ice skating (at the community center next door), tennis, gymnastics, rangers from a town beach come in and talk about nature in the area, cooking, photography, and the list goes on. Each child brings home a booklet with all that is being offered and they select their top eight choices. (It should be noted that these clusters are free to students and the PTO covers the cost of supplies)
At the end of six weeks each group creates a presentation to be shared with the school community. Today was the cluster celebration and it was inspiring. To see the wide range of talents offered and the variety of programs was amazing. It is something that I had seen in writing, but to witness it was truly special.
What a great opportunity to volunteer! Look into your own school system and see if they have anything similar. It would work at a community center as well. The children get an invaluable experience and I am sure you will get the same if not more from interacting with kids. You don’t have to be a super parent or member of the community – you just have to show up and be yourself. The more people are involved in their community, the healthier it is for everyone. Happiness is the best medicine around and these kids will definitely put a smile on your face for the entire day.
Finding a gym or fitness center can be a daunting task. Everyone is looking for something different. Personally, I enjoy a clean, bright space with nice people. I enjoy chatting before and after class or as I walk through the machines. My family found this at our local YMCA. My husband and I both use the fitness center and our children take swimming lessons. Through our many years of membership we have made new friends and strengthened existing friendships.
Frankly, my husband goes in, uses the equipment and heads home with maybe a few hello’s to the staff. I have made friends with the people I take class with, discovered a group of preschool moms who go over after drop-off and overall had a welcoming experience. It is because I enjoy seeing people I like and feel accountable that I continue to go.
Now, I am a pilates and yoga instructor at the Y and have made new relationships with my students. I love watching people meet and create friendships. There are older women who now get together for lunch or dinner. They are very warm and positive to everyone in class, including their instructor. One woman always has something nice to say. It doesn’t matter who you are, she can come up with a positive statement. It is this positive attitude that has helped her grow new friendships and a sense of belonging in a new town.
It got me thinking. It isn’t hard to have a positive affect on someone. We could all find something nice to say to someone we know or even the person bagging our groceries. Everyone can use a cheerleader. Moving forward, I am going to do my best and be a cheerleader for those around me!
I found this saying on my tea tag. I absolutely love Yogi teas (http://www.yogiproducts.com/) not only do they taste great, but each tea bag has a meaningful saying. This particular saying really struck me. It is universal. You can use great or you can replace it with a variety of words such as, happy, successful, thoughtful, present, etc.
My favorite variation is, to be happy, think happy, act happy. It is amazing how far a smile can go in any situation. By simply smiling, you are telling your brain you are happy and it will emit endorphins. If you work out frequently, a smile will help you get through the hardest part of your routine. If you are stuck in line at the store and are in a rush, a smile will help you relax and receive great service. Remembering to smile randomly with your children or spouse will encourage them to be friendly back. I recently stumbled across this article and felt that it is fitting. Here is “Top 10 reasons to smile” from Mark Stibich, Ph.D. http://longevity.about.com/od/lifelongbeauty/tp/smiling.htm
Happiness is a key component in any healthy, balanced life. Some could argue it is more important than the extra rep at the gym or skipping the french fries. Instead of keeping a food or fitness diary, try to keep track of how often you smile in a day and even better how often you laugh. Let the smile enhance your day-to-day life and perhaps your approach to fitness and healthy eating.