Women's National Health and Fitness Day exists to remind us that, as busy young women in this big city, we still have to make time for our health.
Most of us are either too busy with school, internships, and jobs to work out and eat healthy everyday. Instead of making excuses, we should strive to look and feel our best by keeping a healthy lifestyle in mind. So, to celebrate this fine occasion, I made the time to visit Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on Wednesday, September 30th to take part in their special Women's National Wellness and Fitness Day event. For just $25, I took part in a series of three different 30-minute classes planned to keep me moving all through the night.
On 55th Street and 9th Avenue sits a theater—a bright white building in the middle of cozy restaurants and eclectic bars. In the spirit of fitness, I walked right on past them. Friendly staff and dancers of all ages occupied the lobby. Even though I have taken dance classes and have even performed in front of audiences before, I do not consider myself a professional dancer, so I admit that I felt a bit intimidated. Once I arrived at the assigned studio, I felt at ease because I saw women of all ages finding a place to put their purple yoga mats on the floor.
The first class was Ashtanga (Power) Yoga taught by Alvin Ailey instructor Irini Res. She started by playing chants over the speakers. I tuned my mind to the hooeys and the hums and drifted into a state of peace and awareness. She led the class through beginner moves so that those who were not familiar with yoga could follow along. Even after the many warrior poses and downward dogs, I felt relaxed and motivated for the next class.
The next instructor entered carrying bright green resistance bands. She gave us a little history about the dance company and its founder, and she also explained her own dance background. The class combined ballet and strengthening moves, but still kept us all moving gracefully. The music made me feel like a ballerina (in my dreams), and the moves really worked my whole body.
The night ended with Zumba. I jumped to the front—as a self-proclaimed Zumba professional, I was ready to get my groove on. Karen Lynell Arceneaux warned us that there was going to be a lot of booty shaking, and she wasn’t lying; I haven’t done that much booty shaking since I starred in Ludacris’s “How Low.” (And what a crazy shoot that was.) For this class, we all got out of our comfort zones and let loose with confidence. Before leaving, we were reminded how important it is to eat healthy and live active lifestyles. The instructors also encouraged us to get annual physicals and flu shots (you can get one at your local CVS) and to check ourselves for breast and skin cancer often (there’s no pharmacy for that).
I had an amazing rush afterwards. The instructors really gave me a run for my money. Besides walking away with a body full of endorphins, I walked away with motivation to improve my wellness. Let us all make the time to keep ourselves healthy and happy so that we can continue to thrive in our busy lives!