Shaking My Groove Thing With Jam Box Fitness and Baileys

If you’ve ever been to a public event with me, you will know that I can and will dance/shimmy/slide with no shame. Impromptu movement is fun for me. Some folks challenge each other to #StopDropandYoga and I just want to do the Electric Slide in the grocery store.

Me in Vegas for my 25th birthday, fist pumping for my life.
Me in Vegas for my 25th birthday, fist pumping for my life.
Wedding action shot of me sliding across the dance floor.
Wedding action shot of me sliding across the dance floor.
I even took on challengers at the wedding!
I even took on challengers at the wedding!

For all the fun I have dancing, choreographed dance has eluded me. Given more than three movements in a row and I turn into Ms. Two Left Feet. I didn’t let the handicap stop me from coming out for the Dallas Fitness Ambassadors fun event at Jam Box Addison. The event, billed as a jam session, had attendees enjoying lovely Baileys cocktails beforehand and then we were going to get funky on the dance floor.

You had me at drinks. Baileys got us started right with a refreshing mix of Baileys Almande, a gluten-free, nondairy (but not vegan) liquer mixed with Vita Coco.

I’ve been putting Vita Coco in my smoothies lately in place of sugary orange juice and plain water and it was great to have it in a mixed drink as well. One (okay, fine, two) rounds of drinks and I was ready to bust a move!

I had not heard of Jam Box Fitness prior to attending, so I had no idea what to expect. The teacher and studio owner, Dominique Lasha’e, told us we’d start with Pound class and then move onto choreographed movements, aka my nemesis.

Dominique, getting us ready to go.
Dominique, getting us ready to go. Photo courtesy of Dallas Fitness Ambassadors

Pound class sounded relatively easy: hold drumsticks and clap them and tap the ground in beat. Verdict: ouch, my obliques. While I blissed out to the amazing Rihanna-driven soundtrack and followed along with the moves, my core was working harder than I knew. You stay in a squat and bend laterally, which fires up all the big, supportive muscles groups along the middle of your body. LOVE the deceptiveness of the fitness aspect.

Get into that core work. And yes, I’m wearing Chuck Taylors because I forgot my tennis shoes and nothing was going to stop me from working out. Photo courtesy of Dallas Fitness Ambassadors
You can literally see my thoughts: “And 1, 2, 3…4” Photo courtesy of Dallas Fitness Ambassadors

Next up: Funk the Fit dance cardio. I took a deep breath, rolled my shoulders back and faced the class with all I had…and I killed it.

Photo courtesy of Dallas Fitness Ambassadors
Photo courtesy of Dallas Fitness Ambassadors

We grooved our way through class and I felt like Ciara, Janet Jackson and just a touch of Queen Bey, rolled into one sweaty dancing fool. I’d gotten some crappy news earlier in the day and the class took my mood completely in the other direction.

After class, Pollo Tropical came through with the great-smelling fare. I was initially concerned that I wasn’t going to be able to eat after burning all those calories. Thankfully, their beans are vegetarian so I loaded up on salad, beans and rice with some spicy salsa to go alongside. Perfection. And right before I put myself in a food-induced coma, I got a five minute rubdown from Riviera Spa and discovered just how tight my neck and shoulders are. In all, a great Friday night made better by being surrounded by my fitness friends, dancing, drinks and food and a good mini-massage.

Shouts out to Dallas Fitness Ambassadors, Jam Box Fitness and Dominique Lasha’e, Baileys and Vita Coco, Pollo Tropical and Riviera Spa. 



Dancing QUEENS! Photo courtesy of Dallas Fitness Ambassadors

Where Do I Start With Yoga?

Inspired by Amanda Miller Littlejohn’s recent appearance on the Wharton School of Business “Women@Work” podcast, I started to rethink how I present my expertise on yoga. Littlejohn stated that we shouldn’t be thinking so much about what we’re good at and what we know as much as what our customers are asking. (Seriously, check her out, she’s dope.)

The most frequent reaction I get when I state that I teach yoga is “I could never do yoga. I can’t even touch my toes.” This statement is often combined with an assertion that they don’t know where to start. In that vein, today’s post is going to provide a starting point to those who consider yoga and think “Where do I even start?”

Start Inside Your Head

I’ve written about how I think social media skews our idea of what yoga looks like. Your practice, especially as a beginner, will not consist of floating into handstands in hidden alcoves on sandy shores. You will be sweaty, kind of clumsy and possibly forget your right and your left. Make peace with the idea of looking silly to yourself and others. Nine times out of 10, no one is paying attention to you and the bead of sweat that landed in your eye that you’re furiously blinking away. Most people, including me, go to class to work on themselves, not to judge what’s happening on other people’s mats.

Flickr user Fizzr
Flickr user Fizzr

Find Stillness

Let’s back it up for a second, away from the idea of sweating and getting physical. Yoga is more than the postures you do in class, combining movements and breath. There is much to learn in suspending motion and focusing on one action. Find a comfortable position (Mountain, Child’s Pose, Savasana, Easy Pose), allow your eyes to close gently and start the work of blocking all outside distractions. Put your phone on mute, turn off Netflix and bring your attention inward, to your breath entering and exiting your body. I am a fan of resting a hand on my chest and another on my belly, as the sensation of my rising and falling chest gives me something to focus in on. The great thing: you don’t have to do this for long. Start with 120 seconds, two minutes, of removing the external distractions. Increase gradually, and forgive yourself easily if you lose focus. None of us are perfect at meditation – except maybe the monks who have bad reception in the mountains.

Close Up Tree at DMA

Have Fun

I understand that yoga can be intimidating. I teach it, I take classes, and I still can feel inadequate from time to time. I feel like I should be better, stronger, bendier. We’re human and we are all learning how to be kinder to ourselves. One thing I will never stop doing with yoga is having fun. Simply put, my body is amazing, capable of more than I ever thought I could do, and much of the respect I have for it came from being in a yoga studio. I firmly believe that yoga (all physical activity, really) helps you form a bond with your person, your essence and the energy you put out into the world. So every once in a while, whether in Happy Baby or balancing in Warrior 3, pull up the corners of your mouth.

As I like to say to my students: Smile, it’s just yoga!

Smiling Upward Dog

What advice would you give to a new student? Sound off in the comments, teachers and students alike.