Welcome to my Zumba blog! Find my class schedule, Yelp reviews, YouTube videos, and Facebook page links at http://www.zumba-sheila.com/ Stay here to share my tips and experiences! Check out my lessons on chest and hip movement, arms, body rolls, shimmies, posture, jive, tango & samba. More lessons are always coming, so become a Follower to stay in tune. After you've practiced a lesson, try incorporating the movement into your Zumba classes. Not sure if you're doing it right? Ask me after class. Don't live near me? Post a video response to my lesson and I'll give you some feedback. Also learn about the Plant Paradox diet and how to guarantee you will burn calories and feel great during and after Zumba.

I was nominated for best Zumba blog- Most Fascinating Blog of 2012 and came in 3rd place! Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

How to Balance Self-Care While Starting Your Side Hustle (submitted by Sheila Johnson)

Today, starting a side gig can be done at the comfort of your home and is very simple and easy. As long as you have the time and resources to dedicate to it, a side hustle can generate a lot of extra income. However, it is hard finding a perfect balance between life and work as it is a complicated process. If you choose to have a side hustle, your current life balance will be affected significantly.

You need to be careful not to let your goals and ambitions become an excuse for neglecting self-care. Here are some simple ideas to help you implement a routine that prevents burnout.

Plan a solid start and stop time for your solid hustle

Boundaries are very important for more than just your relationships. You need to set boundaries on the time you put into your side business and what you put in for self-care. Planning a solid start and stop time where you can walk away from your laptop and take a mental break can help you refuel and start on a new fresh when it's time to get back.

Establish boundaries between work and personal relationships

When you are obsessed with your side hustle, it is very easy to turn every conversation into something business-related. Having personal relationships and conversations that are about more than just work is important for your mental health. 

Therefore ensure that you have set some boundaries for yourself, and that is where your supportive network of fellow entrepreneurs comes in.

Optimize your schedule

Being proactive in managing your energy to optimize your results and success is key for daily balance. Commit to a daily routine of updating your schedule with priorities such as; self-care, work, education, family, entertainment, and any other key activities.

Also, ensure that you have scheduled time aside for;

  • Exercise
  • Healthy meals
  • Sleep
  • Social relationships for family and friends

Ensure that you are disciplined, selective, and protective of your priorities that maximize excellence and afford your balance.

Strive to improve your flexibility

Work on being flexible in all areas, mental, physical, and work flexibility will let you reach your goals much faster than expected. Ensure that you are able to switch situations whenever needed in case of an emergency. 

For flexibility in your freelance businesses and side gigs, consider creating a DBA (doing business as) name for your company. Starting one allows you to be flexible by doing business in a different name other than your own. A formation service like Zenbusiness.com can help with the process. Consequently, you’ll be able to sell products and market them under a different name.

Ditch the structure of a typical work week

Give yourself as much flexibility as you come in, where, when, and home you get work done. You need to structure your entire week around your peak productivity windows. Negotiate this with your employer if needed. Save time where you can.

Set and mage your priorities

We can never manage time, but we can manage priorities. If you are juggling three different paths like work, family, and side hustle, you must focus on one at a time. When at work, work, and when you are at home, focus on family. For instance, when you have an exercise routine, maybe Zumba classes with Sheila, set the most appropriate time aside and focus in order to get the most out of every session.

Several kinds of research show that multitasking is the most unproductive way to live life and do business.

Include your family

It is very exciting to be taking action to achieve your dreams and goals, and it is important to still perform well at work plus keep the fire burning at home. To make work easier, include your family in making the side gig successful. That includes visioning, planning to product development- leverage their strengths and emotional support for you.

Run toward what you love

When balancing a side gig with a full-time role, you will need to run towards the activities that bring you energy, utilize your natural strengths and what you love to do. Every role can be accomplished, all you have to do is run towards what you love rather than away from what you do not.

Create work-life alignment

It is very important to explore why you are doing the side gig and how the hustle can support your overall goals and objectives for your life and career. Seek ways to leverage your time to achieve your efforts and support in areas you cannot manage alone.


A side gig can be very profitable and if it’s well managed, it can become a permanent source of income. With discipline and being able to separate your side gig from your day job and personal life, you will be able to run your life smoothly and take care of yourself. 

Don’t forget to take care of yourself by eating right, sleeping enough, and exercising regularly. You don’t want to make a lot of money and spend it all on hospital bills. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

Nutrition and the Plant Paradox Diet

     I've been on the Plant Paradox diet for 18 months now, and I will be staying on it!  For at least a year before I started this diet, I had been slowly gaining weight, and the weight gain started to accelerate in those last few months.  This prompted me to look hard for a better diet.   It didn't make sense that I was teaching Zumba 5x's a week and sweating like crazy but still gaining weight!  Plus I was hiking with my husky for miles each day!  Everything was leaving me bloated and leaving my clothes too tight on me. People said that I was getting older, so it was natural that my metabolism would slow down.  I didn't want to accept this answer.   Right when I was starting to get desperate, a friend started reading The Plant Paradox by Steven Gundry and kept talking about it and asking me to read it.  I hesitated at first because I didn't want to read anything that said I shouldn't eat beans or brown rice.  I was sure those were healthy.  Even so, with her persistence, I started to read.    What I learned resonated with me.  Everything Dr. Gundry wrote about human evolution, how different societies ate and how long particular plants had been available to humans made sense to me.   I liked that he does clinical research and has an office,  full of patients with past diagnoses, who are thriving on his diet, without their old medicines.   I even went to his office and spoke with some of his patients in the waiting room.  He is really changing lives.  I especially liked how there was a clear plan to follow, so I took the yes/no list to Whole Foods and scoured every aisle, reading labels.  I jumped for joy when I discovered I could eat paleo pancakes and date syrup!
     I started losing weight immediately and lost it at the rate of 4 pounds a month until it was all gone.  I do notice that if I go out and splurge with my diet for a special occasion, the scale will reflect it the next day.  and if I splurge 2 days in a row, the scale will doubly reflect it.   Thankfully, each time I go back to the strict Plant Paradox diet, I lose it all quickly again.  This gives me control over my diet.  I know how to keep the weight off, and if the weight looks good, I can treat myself to something on the No list every now and then.   When I do break from the list, which isn't often, I bring Lectin Shield with me (sold by Gundry MD.)  In fact, I always have some in my purse, just in case.  Lectin Shield is Dr. Gundry's natural concoction to shield you from dangers of items on the No list.  Dr. Gundry is against a number of lectins, which cause leaky gut and a number of resulting diseases.  Critics misunderstand Gundry and think that he believes all lectins are bad.  If you read his book more carefully, he does not ban all lectins, but he makes a clear list of which foods have undesirable lectins.  Even the No list is not a total ban.  Many of the items can be peeled, deseeded and/or pressure-cooked and then removed from the No list.  Plus, after several weeks of Phase 2 of the program, you can introduce one NO list item at a time and see how your body reacts.  I've introduced cucumbers, pumpkin and sunflower seeds without any problem (no bloating whatsoever).  I still don't eat a lot of those foods, but I know that if I do have some, I'll be fine!
     I have plenty of energy for Zumba, and what's amazing is that I didn't get my usual bout of colds or flu the first winter I was on the diet!   Even though I was around sick family members, I caught nothing!  The second winter, when I became more relaxed with holiday sweets, I caught a short 3 day cold, probably because of all the extra sugar.  Once I caught the cold, I quickly steered away from sugar, and the cold went away soon after.   What I love about the diet is that I'm protecting myself from all sorts of diseases.  I feel like I'm cultivating a rainforest in my gut that won't let disease grow!
     At first it was tricky finding everything on the Yes list, but I quickly learned that I can find everything between Real Foods Bay Area (pastured meat and eggs (soy and corn free), any Asian grocery store (Korean sweet potato noodles), Sprouts (sugar free So Delicious coconut milk ice cream) Grocery Outlet (good deals on goat cheddar and coconut yogurt,) Trader Joes, Costco, Whole Foods and Amazon!  I order supplements such as Vitamin D, Vital Reds, and Primal Plants from Gundry MD.   I started out making most of the recipes from The Plant Paradox Cookbook , but now I can freestyle and adapt other recipes or invent my own.
     Here are some of my eating habits:  (also see this video for more shopping ideas)
1) on the way to morning Zumba:  a green banana and Quest Bar, or if I have more prep time, a green apple smoothie made from (Gundry's Primal Plant, coconut milk, blanched almond butter, green apple slices, frozen green banana, inulin powder, date syrup or a couple dates)
2) after Zumba: a one egg omelet with goat or manchego sheep cheese and  tons of mushrooms, onions, broccoli and kale cooked quickly in EVOO, algae oil or avocado oil on top of a tiny piece of high quality sourdough toast with whole fat cream cheese and sliced avocado and sprinkled with dried seaweed..   Sometimes I'll have a Birchbenders Paleo waffles, with So Delicious coconut yogurt (some varieties have 1g of sugar!) sprinkled with inulin powder, date syrup, freshly ground flax seeds, hemp seeds and and fresh berries.
3) snack: barukas or macadamia nuts with a piece of dark chocolate.  Or try Siete grain-free tortilla chips with guacamole or home-made salsa (tomatoes skinned and peeled).
4) lunch: There are so many lunch possibilities, but a simple one is a Hilary's millet burger on top of arugula or spinach - in EVOO and balsamic vinegar.  To the salad add whatever you have (radishes, sliced fennel bulb, green onions, cooked sweet potato from the previous night, canned artichokes or hearts of palm...   Or try a salad or millet with sardines on top!  Or add EVOO, balsamic vinegar and a variety of vegetables to rinsed out Eden brand beans, which are already pressure cooked.
5) snack: a handful of pistachios.  Or spread some blanched almond butter and a teaspoon of manuka honey or more date syrup on a Siete cassava flour or almond flour tortilla.
5) Dinner:  How about baked wild salmon?  If you have a pasta fix, try goat cheddar cheese with either miracle noodles or pressure cooked quinoa pasta.  Dr. Gundry says we can't pressure cook wheat, but you can pressure cook quinoa!  Baked sunchokes are amazing!  Or try baked brussel sprouts mixed with toasted blanched almonds and dates and  tossed in balsamic, EVOO and lemon juice.   Alternatively, you could stir fry wild shrimp with sesame oil, coconut aminos, fresh ginger and lots of vegetables, such as bok choy, cauliflower, celery and garlic.  Then toss it with Korean Sweet Potato Noodles (cheaper at any Asian market) and MCT oil.
6) dessert:  Sugar-free So Delicious Coconut ice cream with chopped walnuts, sea salt, coconut and cacao nibs!  or Tigernut flour dark chocolate chip cookies!
7) For a satisfying warm drink, try Golden Milk.  Mix warm coconut milk with turmeric, ginger, coconut oil and stevia or monk fruit sweetener.

If you can't or don't want to follow the diet completely, just do the best you can do.  Everything helps!  For ideas for getting your family involved in the diet, try The Plant Paradox Family Cookbook.  Dr. Gundry also recommends a specific fasting schedule in The Longevity Paradox, which I've read, but admittedly, I haven't yet fully implemented it.  Perhaps I'm doing so well with the Plant Paradox diet that I've haven't felt the need to do the fasting.   Make as many changes as you can and see if you feel better and look better!

For Gundry MD Products , such as Lectin Shield and Primal Plants, here

Monday, April 15, 2019

Zumba Cruise 2019!!

In one word, a Zumba cruise is everything!  It's the ultimate cruise.  Zumba partners with Royal Caribbean to give you non-stop music and Zumba if you want it, but also all the regular cruise activities everywhere on the ship or peace and quiet with ocean breeze on Deck 4!  We even met non-Zumba people on the ship who only took the cruise because the dates worked out for them.  Yet they even admitted that it was the funnest and most energetic cruise they had ever been on.
     This was my 2nd Zumba cruise!  On the 2017 cruise I met Rena, who has been on all 4 Zumba cruises!   This time, I convinced my friend and former student, Angela, to come with us.  We are a multi-generational clique; all of us were born in different decades.  Rena is like our mom now.  All in all, the trip turned out so great that we decided we are going to do the Zumba cruise every year.  In fact, Rena said we will still do it when she is 85!  
     We took a redeye flight from California to Miami and started out with a bang! First Angela and I Uber'd to Miami Beach for a sunrise segway tour.  We had our own private tour guide!  Then we biked along the coast and up to the Museum of Erotic Art!

The Zumba Cruise starts at the Port of Miami.  You can check in anytime up until 4PM, so we chose 2:30PM.   That's because I remembered that in 2017, you couldn't access your room till around 2PM anyway!  This way, we could take a segway tour of Miami beach in the morning and bike around Miami Beach after that, rather than sitting with our luggage.  I found the segway/bike deal on Groupon.

A Welcome Aboard from Beto was all we needed to get in the mood!
     We Uber'd from Miami Beach to the Port of Miami at 2PM.  There was almost no line getting on at 2:30, so we were happy with our choice of check-in times!  I was so excited when I saw the water slides.  The 2017 cruise was on the same ship, the Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas, but the slides were just built this year!  They are the longest water slides at sea!  I was also excited to try the surfing and boogie boarding machine and rock climbing wall.  I didn't get to do those in 2017 because I had been recovering from a sprained wrist.  This time I told myself I would do everything!
Here is the main pool where concerts and the biggest Zumba classes would happen.  Our favorite time to be there was when there was no class going on.  If the DJ played, anyone could go up there and lead, and anyone could follow or do their own thing.  We loved standing in the shallow pool and dancing free style in our swim suits.  That was the best was to get a tan!
     When you first get on the ship, you realize there are so many things to do and see but then you remember you had a red eye flight and an 8AM Zumba class the next day, so you'd better schedule in a nap!  The nap was almost impossible.  Thirty minutes into our one hour scheduled map, the cruise director, whom I later learned to love for his humor,
Our room!  The eight floor is great because there is no dancing above or below you, so it's always quiet, unless you
have crazy neighbors!  There are beds that fall out of the ceiling if you want to squeeze four people in!  Angela slept on the loft bed and used her lower bed as an outfit organizer!
announced on the loud speaker that everyone had to report to the dining room for emergency practice.  Well at least we got 30 minutes of horizontal time in!
Don't worry!  The buffet is free and full of dessert, but you won't have much time
to eat it on a Zumba cruise!  Maybe you can grab a piece between classes!  With
all the famous instructors in the world on the ship, you feel like you can't miss a class,
and there are classes all day long from 8AM to 8PM!
our favorite French guitarist.  Rena and I would grab tea
and a snack from the Promenade cafe and bring it over
to listen to him.
     Between dinner, a Welcome show, some guitar music and a Zumba Sail Away concert, the first night melted away quickly.  At the bar on the main Promenade, we loved the French guitarist who played country music.  We were the only 3 customers!  Everyone was at the Zumba concert, to which we went an hour later.  This is how the Zumba cruise throws the staff off a bit;  I don't think he was used to having only 3 listeners, but we supported him with all our hearts.  The  break from Zumba music feels amazing, even to those us who love Zumba music!  After dancing hard at the concert, we were able to wake up in time for our 8AM Zumba classes!  You can reserve space in the classes of your favorite teachers before you get on the ship.  Or you can choose based on times or locations.  You might not want to choose a class at 1PM on the Sports Court;  that could be deathly hot.
     My first class was with Ricardo Marmitte.  I have always loved his fun, easygoing personality and his authentic African moves!  Next I went to Nick Logrea's class.  He is from NYC, and he is amazing!  I loved his varied playlist and creative choreo.  Most of all, I loved his passionate presentation, which was realistic and not cheesy!
Ricardo Marmitte's class on the ice arena floor.  Yes, the ship has
an ice arena!  Feel the cold floor!  Some people are dancing in the
stadium seating!  You can see a little bitter there and don't need a reservation.
What I love about cruises is coming back to your room and
finding your steward has left you a towel animal:  this time a bat!
Nick Logrea, my new favorite instructor, posing with me.

     Day 2 of the cruise and you're already in Freeport, Bahamas!  The three of us had reserved the VIP Yacht Cruise: sailing on a  50 ft yacht with free drinks, lunch and snorkeling.
Relaxing on the breezy VIP yacht cruise with Rena and Angela!

The attendant danced with the Zumba patrons on the yacht cruise!  They also served us mimosas and a conch salad lunch with sandwiches.

After the yacht cruise, you can enjoy shopping at the cruise port or dancing on a beach.  Zumba cruises always have lots of beach dancing at any stop!  Any random teacher starts leading, and anyone can start following.  There's nothing like Zumba on a beach!  Some cruisers stay at the beach parties all day, in lieu of another excursion.  That would be fun too!

     Day 3 was at sea!  That is when we did the water slides and took lots of classes.  We even shopped at the Zumba store, where Angela had a shirt cut up.  But after watching the surfers for a minute, I chickened out!  When they fall, they fall fast!  I also saw every show that Royal Caribbean presented:  comedy, salsa, ballroom, musical theater, juggling, an ice show and more!   I love all their shows!  And we pressed our luck at the casino, wore lace to 80's night and danced with Pacman, danced salsa at the Boleros Club, and danced in the Cosmopolitan Club till past midnight.  But our favorite attraction was Andy the piano man at the Schooner Bar!  Passion emanated from his face, and he could play and sing anything anyone requested.  However, he wouldn't play "Shallow" because he said he was "deeper than that."
free t-shirt cutting in the Zumba store!  
Salsa at Boleros Club on Formal Night!

80's Night: Wear Leather or Lace!
Andy the piano man. I miss him!
Look at our beautiful ship docked at Labadee!
Then we came to Labadee, Haiti on Day 4!  The sun was hot, so it was fortunate that we got on a breezy boat right away and saw the Haitian shoreline until we came to a private beach called Pirate's Cove.  There we kayaked and had some tropical drinks before being taken on a guided tour through a Haitian teaching village.  It wasn't a real village, but just set up so we could learn some Haitian culture.  My favorite part was the cassava flour bread and holding a moray eel!
The Haitians weave lobster traps!  We saw lobsters while on the snorkel safari excursion later that afternoon!

They make fresh peanut butter- spicy!

We went kayaking in the cove, held an eel and bought souvenirs from the locals, who convinced me to buy because they were "broken" and I would be "bless."

Pirate's Cove in Labadee, Haiti  This is the boat that brought us here.

Day 5 was at Sea.  We were a little burnt out from classes, so we freestyled at the pool and while I was listening to my audio book on peaceful deck 4, Beto, the founder of Zumba, set his stereo right next to me and proceeded to teach two girls a new routine and shoot a new video for social media promoting the upcoming choreography.   I also ran into him getting ice cream!

Beto can't go anywhere on the Zumba cruise without being mobbed!  He just wanted an ice cream!

Beto shooting a new video on Deck 4, right in front of me.

Perhaps what I love most about the Zumba Cruise is connections is makes for you, whether between other people or just allowing you to reconnect to yourself.  I love this door decoration.  I don't know these people, but obviously they got engaged on the previous Zumba Cruise and celebrated their honeymoon on the 2019 Zumba Cruise!  That's so amazing!

On the last day we did take the Miami bus tour excursion so that they could hold our luggage while we saw new parts of Miami.  Our favorite place was Little Havana, but we saw other areas that we'll hit next time, such as Wynwood Walls.   

We ate a tasty Mexican lunch at the Ball & Chain in Little Havana
Fresh Mojitos at the Ball & Chain  Angela is sporting her new Zumba Strong jacket that
she bought on the ship.

     The bus company also took us to the airport at the end of the day.  Even though we are home now, we are still in vacay mode!  Zumba is always a vacation!  We are waiting for the Zumba Cruise 2020 announcement!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Exclusive Interview with Juank Ricardo, Colombian Vallenato accordeonist

Juank Ricardo, in his home, with his accordeon
I had the pleasure to be hosted by Juank's mother in Valledupar, Colombia, the birthplace of Vallenato music. Vallenato means "born in the valley." Vallenato is perfect for Zumba, and I've always enjoyed using it in my class.  It's fast and happy and the accordeon adds beauty and variety to our routines.  I feel so lucky to have met this kind and talented musician who is helping to create the new wave of Vallenato around the planet.  He has yet to try a Zumba class, but he's excited about the idea of it and thinks it is perfect to inspire people to move and dance!

Here are some samples of Juank's latest works:
Mi Razon de Ser
Vivo el el Limbo
Voy pa Lante

Here's what Juank has to say:  (Interview translated by Letiana Bohlke)

How old are you?  How many years do you want me to have?

How long have you been playing the accordeon?  I started when I was 8 years old so I've been playing for 22-23 years now.

Are you working with a singer right now?  not right now, but I've worked with 3 or 4 singers during my career.  And I've filmed a soap opera, Nina Bonita, which has done well in Colombia.

Do you prefer playing music or acting?  playing music absolutely

What do you feel when you are playing accordeon for an audience?  I feel the love of the people.  It's the most special thing that could happen to any artist.  The love of the people is the best reward I could have.
Accordeon Statue in Valledupar
Sign at base of statue: My Piece of Accordeon
Do you make eye contact with certain people, or do you just look over their heads?  It depends.  If it's only one person, I play for her.  If it's a concert, I play for everybody.  Of course, if I see a beautiful girl, I look at her.

When you play in a concert, does the audience dance or sit still? People like to dance to Vallenato.  It depends.  The modern Vallenato is more dancing.  With the old Vallenato, people used to only sit because it was so beautiful and they only wanted to sit and listen.  The older Vallenato was more poetic and romantic, says people like my father.

Do you play the modern Vallenato?  I’m one of the people who has started the new movement, or modern generation of Vallenato.

How old are your fans? 20-25 years old, or maybe 15-25

Have you traveled and performed in different countries?  Yes,  Europe, Germany, Spain, France, Italy . . 

Do audiences in different countries behave differently?   My audiences are Latinos, and Latino people are the same everywhere.  Some people think I'm from Venezuela.  They get confused and don't know I'm from Colombia.

Where do you get the inspiration to write a new song?  from a story from my life.  Sometimes my friend has an issue with love, and I make a song about his story.  Sometimes I say it's my friend's story, not mine.

Do your friends appreciate when you write a song about them?  a lot!

Do you envision Vallenato as moving outside of Latin audiences and people from other countries dancing to vallenato?  I think it's a very successful type of music that's going to be around the planet.  Every Latino knows this type of music.

Can you explain the different types of vallenato?    

Paseo is written in 4/4 time and is the most popular type.   Son is also written in 4/4 time but is mournful and slow.   Merengue, not the Dominican genre, is written in 3/4 time and has a narrative style.  Finally, Puya is witten in 3/4 time and is the oldest of the 4 types.  All the vallenato songs use drums, accordeon and guacharacas.  Sometimes guitar or other instruments, like bass, bells and piano, began to be used later on, too.

Which do you prefer?  merengue.

Which ones provide the most energetic music for dancing?  Puya, merengue and Paseo.  You can dance very fast in 4/4 to Paseo.  "Zuaka de one" would be an excellent high speed dance song from my CD.  Routine from Zumba with Sheila coming soon!

How do you feel after you play an especially fast song?  I feel amazing!

Guacharaca lesson wth Juank!

Faster Guacharaca lesson!  I didn't feel so amazing after playing so fast!  My head hurt!

Do you get to meet many other artists?  Many artists are brought to the Vallenato festival in April in Valledupar.  The festival is famous around the world.  It's why I have a vision that Vallenato will be around the globe.
Vallenato Festival Statue in Valledupar

Sign at the base of statue

How do you participate in the Vallenato festival and what happens there?  I'm going to participate next year.  It's a contest where they elect the king of Vallenato.   Contestants must play all 4 types and demonstrate that they are a master of Vallenato.  Judges decide who is the best.

What kind of exercise do you do?  I love to play soccer, and accordeon is good for my arms!  I haven't tried Zumba yet!  I'm a better musician than a dancer, but playing the accordeon is dancing with my fingers, so maybe I could still learn to dance!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Dangers of Perfumes & Scented Products While Exercising

     So you're just trying to make yourself healthier by going to Zumba class, but now you realize you've entered a chemical danger zone.  In the beginning of class, the woman next to you, though three feet away, smelled nice and you didn't really mind.  But about 20 minutes later, she's getting warmer and chemistry is making her perfumed body lotion even stronger.  To top if off, your heart is beating faster and you're breathing harder so those sweet smelling chemicals are now circulating through your body quickly.  If you're a student, you could move to another corner of the room or just leave and you're wise to do so.  Inhaling perfume products or powders during exercise can lead to serious health problems.
     I've had students complain to me after class that they got a migraine because the woman next to them had to much perfume.  One student told me she had to leave class because a woman walked in late with enough perfume to trigger her asthma symptoms.  At the gyms, I always see signs that read, "Please refrain from using any scented products."  In the past, all I did was sent out general emails asking students not to wear perfumed products to class.  Then something happened to change my tactics.
     About three weeks ago, a student came to my class with such a strong scent of perfume that could be smelled from more than 10 feet away.  If I were a student, I would have moved as far from her as possible or even left the class early.  Being the teacher, however, I had to remain close to the center of the front row and I surely couldn't just leave.  I became so distracted and light headed that I started to forget routines that were otherwise easy for me.  I went home and felt light headed, heavy chested and "poisoned" for the rest of the day.  For the first time, I felt like my job made me less healthy, not healthier.  Through email, I confronted her, told her I loved her but politely asked if she could wear less perfume next time.  She said she hadn't been wearing any perfume but she had put a new body lotion on, and yes, that lotion did seem pretty strong.  She apologized and said she wouldn't use it again.  That's when I started educating myself about perfume.  The first thing I read is that inhaling perfumes can affect your short-term memory.  That would explain why I couldn't remember my routines that day.
    I was fine for a couple weeks.  Then, last week, I noticed obvious perfumed scents coming from two different students.  When I started to experience the same symptoms again, light headedness and inability to remember my routines, I decided that I didn't want to poison myself.  So I canceled my 1 hour class after only 40 minutes and asked everyone not to wear scented products to my class.  It was an act of tough love, but I had to make students realize that I won't teach if I notice perfume.  One lady thought it was her fabric softener or scented deodorant; she promised to change them.  Another claimed she didn't use perfume because she was allergic to it but she was using a corn starch baby powder on her armpits.  I went home and read about corn starch and baby powder and found out that the powder gets in the air and we inhale the irritating particles  As a result,  I made a new waiver that reads, "I will not wear scented products or powders to class." All my students initial this statement and sign the new waivers.  Plus, I've posted a sign about perfumes at the studio and on my website.
     The next couple days were hard for me.  I seemed to have developed a heightened sense of smell.  I was noticing everything, and everything was distracting me from teaching.  I even worried I wouldn't be able to teach Zumba anymore.  I even noticed all the detergents and cleanser smells at the grocery store.  Luckily, I could walk away from those.  I might have developed hyperosmia.  I read that this increased olfactory acuity can be triggered by environmental factors but can also go away if the environmental factors are removed.  So I went to Whole Foods and purchased fragrance free shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion, deodorant and hair mousse.  I was desperate!  I even borrowed a small air purifier from a dear friend and brought it to the dance studio along with another fan to blow the air around the room.  If all these efforts don't work, I guess I can shell out for a larger air purifier for my studio. (update: I just bought this: Winix PlasmaWave 5300 Air Cleaner Model)  I read that if you apply deodorant in front of one or even fart in front of it,  the fan will kick in and start purifying the air.  Having it helps me psychologically.
     At one class, a concerned and long-time student told me she hadn't put on any perfume that morning, just for me, and she asked me to smell her to make sure there was nothing.  I didn't notice anything.  Twenty minutes into the class, however, I suddenly noticed perfume coming from her corner of the room.  That's when I learned that increased body temperature strengthens any perfume you are wearing.  Perfume Originals, a perfume manufacturer, admits, "Increased body temperature causes perfumes to expand and the scent becomes stronger."  When I asked the sweet lady after class if she could wear less perfume next time, she was annoyed that before the class started, I had told her that she didn't smell of perfume.  That was before I knew about this perfume chemistry
     At another class, one student admitted she had applied perfume at 8AM, went to work and came straight to Zumba after work.  "Am I supposed to take a shower before I come to Zumba?"  Where are you putting it on your body?  If it's just a small area, can you wash it off?  If you're getting warmer, and the fragrance is becoming stronger, the people next to you will be suffering, no matter what time you put the perfume on.
    My husband suggested I was having a reaction to cleaning products used in the studio, but the truth was I only had problems at particular classes that particular students attended.  And if I taught another class right after it, with different students, the air seemed clear, and I felt fine.  One friend gave me advice to spray Febreze in my my studio before class to kill any other odors in the air.  Well, Febreze itself is just a another chemical that traps the odor molecules.  Let's go green and have clean air quality Zumba!
     It's hard to imagine how much your scented shampoos, hairsprays, lotions, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, etc can disturb others until you have had an experience such as I have had in the past few weeks.  Even if it doesn't bother you, note that many of these products are made with synthetic chemicals that can lead to all sort of problems for you and your neighbor, including lung cancer, pneumonia and yes, hyperosmia.

 Is Perfume the New Second Hand Smoke?
Scent of Danger:  Are There Toxic Ingredients in Perfumes and Colognes?
Why Go Fragrance Free?
Perfume in the Workplace
Scent-Free Policy for the Workplace
Perfume Originals

Friday, October 4, 2013

How to Nightclub two step for dance exercise cooldowns

I just made a video http://youtu.be/jOyJXwcm6qg1for how to do the steps I usually do for Nightclub two step routines.  Nightclub two step can be done to a number of slow popular music songs.  In my class, we have used this rhythm for Beyonce's Halo, Demi Lovato's Heart Attack (See my routine at http://youtu.be/0WuqcFtNMj8) and even Cosmic Dancer from Billy Elliot!  It's a partner dance, but I have adjusted it so we can dance it by ourselves in a dance exercise class.

The timing is quick quick slow (QQS).  Each quick is 1 count.  Each slow is 2 counts.  So, this dance style can be used for many slow 8 count songs.  Lady in Red comes to mind!

On the basic step, make a big side step on the slow.  Push off with your launching foot.  The step should feel smooth, not bouncy up and down.  You head should stay on one level!  You can use your hips a little or not at all, but not as much as you would for a Latin dance.  The two quicks of the basic step are 1) small step diagonally back and 2) replace weight on other foot.  Then the slow is a big side step wth the same foot you used in #1.

You can do 3 basic steps and turn.  The turn will consist of 3 steps done to the QQS rhythm.  Students often make the 3rd step too fast and get off time with the music.  You can keep repeating 3 basic steps (RLR, LRL, RLR) and turn (LRL).   Or you can do 2 basic steps and a turn.  Each time you will start your basic step on a different side and turn in the opposite direction.

You can do a side travel step.  QQS.  1= side step to right.  2= left foot crosses in front of right. 3= right foot steps to right.   Repeat on the other side or alternate with basic steps.

You can add a grapevine, or four quick steps, in between sets of basics.

You can pivot turn.  You can pivot turn 90 degrees between each side travel step.  If you are side traveling to the right, pivot counterclockwise on step 3 of the side travel.   You can also pivot 180 and feel like you're flying!  I like to do 3 basics (RLR, LRL, RLR) and pivot counterclockwise on my right foot 180 degrees and then side travel to the left.  Keep repeating!  Fun!

Please watch the video!