My Zumba Meditation

I’ve been taking Zumba classes at Studio X in Gaithersburg. This isn’t for wimps, either. I sweat myself stinky and shake my tush until I’m ready to drop. The classes are drop-in, and only $5. Honestly, I only started doing it because I recognized a need for improving my fitness level. Which happened because I was trying on a potential new pair of jeans in Target and caught a glimpse of my butt in the dressing room mirror. Only it wasn’t my butt. It was my mom’s. How it got onto my body, I’ll never understand. But, at that minute, I knew I’d have to find a way to recover my own rear end. And thus, I put myself in Zumba class. 

At first, I felt pretty awkward. Seeing myself in the mirror confirmed that, yes, I am awkward. Thanks a lot, mirrored walls. The gorgeous, muscular, joyfully smiling teacher led fast-paced sexy movements that I tried to follow, while trying not to trip over myself or get in the way of the people around me who seem to know every step.

I determined to get it, and got focused. It’s really fun, actually, and I love dancing, so I felt good moving and shaking it out. During the first few weeks, after a bunch of songs, I was breathing hard and sweating. I figured it must be nearly over by now. Then I looked at the clock. It had been 15 minutes. 45 to go. Dear God.

As the weeks went by, I’ve started to learn basic moves, and get sort of familiar with some of the songs. I don’t look at the clock as soon now. Usually it’s about 40 minutes into the hour before my eyes wander there. And I look somewhat less awkward in the mirror, when I catch a glimpse. My body likes it too, and I’m starting to feel more toned, which is a good thing. Maybe my own butt will return soon too. I think there’s hope. I’ve sent out the invitation for it to come back.

And I’ve realized something more important. Zumba is like meditation. I’m talking successful meditation, too. The kind that quiets the mental chatter. Here’s why: When I’m there in class, I have to follow the teacher’s moves. The moves change rapidly, the patterns are short and varied, and involve my whole body. There’s no possibility of letting my mind wander, because I’ll miss something and end up going the wrong direction, bumping into someone, or falling on my face. I can’t be thinking about what’s happening after class, or who I need to email, what I’m making for dinner, or my kids arguing this morning. My brain simply can’t hold those thoughts and move my body in coordination with the teacher’s pace at the same time. So I become present, focused, and totally in the moment.

These are the qualities I teach my Reiki students to emulate during a Reiki session. Be present, only observing what’s happening now. Be focused on that observation of sensation and energy flow, which also keeps the left brain chatter at bay. Be totally in the moment, because that helps strengthen the intuition. 

They are also the goals of a good meditation. Just being present – not distracted by a dozen thoughts, feelings, and unnecessary worries. Being focused on that mindful presence – allowing the left brain to be quiet. Being in the moment only – that’s a serious goal for mindful living. Because, really, all we need to do is deal with what’s happening now. Any chance to remember that, to bring our monkey mind back to the here and now, and just BE here, is a good thing. 

While I’m not very good at basic silent meditation, I find I’m doing better at the guided kind, which I’ve been trying to listen to daily. But I have to change it up, because predictability tends to cause my mind to wander, and before I know it, I’m thinking of all the stupid little things that make my meditation time a big #FAIL. I find it remarkable and sort of amusing that I’m best at creating that mindful, meditative, in the moment presence when I’m giving Reiki, or doing Zumba. 

So that’s an interesting lesson. I guess Zumba is a moving meditation for me. 

I welcome your comments, as always.

Reiki Awakening Reiki blog by Alice Langholt

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