I cannot promise that all mental health professionals take their own advice, but I try not to speak outside of my own experience. I suppose I could say the same thing for dance instruction. Recently, when working with a fairly new salsa student, I encouraged him to try to get the pattern of the basic step cemented by just walking around his house left-right-left-pause, right-left-right-pause, stepping toe to heel rather than heel to toe. While I worked with him for almost an hour just reviewing all the details of the basic step, I was reminded yet again what a great workout just this basic dance step can be. If you really concentrate on proper technique and body isolations, you are using a lot of different muscles, and I find just one song can have me out of breath.
I am constantly trying to find ways to integrate more activity into my busy schedule. Today, I decided to take my own advice and popped my iPod into the dock while I set out to clean house. Normally cleaning takes me a lot of time because I get bored and distract myself. Dancing let me have fun and also showed me where I still need some work. Ideally, as a dancer, I should be able to keep my feet moving despite what my arms are doing, but I caught myself standing more than once while scrubbing my cast iron skillet. Of course the best part of it was how much I accomplished. It is June and in the 90s in Indiana, but there were still sweaters on my bedroom floor – not any more!
Turning on the Timba for a few minutes every day can bring me more joy, more cleanliness, more activity, and increase my dance skills. Even if salsa isn’t your dance of choice, find the music that moves you, combine tasks, and maybe even practice your moonwalk.
July 2nd, 2009