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Alex’s Yoga and Dancing ‘Journey’

In October I moved to Leeds, along with this I thought it would be great to start to new activities that could potentially grow into hobbies. I decided to pick one activity that challenges me and to be completely honest, scared the hell out of me. The other one I thought could be used to help me as a coach. I went for dancing and yoga, well more specifically Ballroom and Latin Dancing…think Strictly!

Yoga

I am very inflexible, especially hamstrings and other areas in and around my hips. My upper spine, the thoracic region also could be improved. My first class was obviously a beginner’s class – which I thought was a safe option.

How I Found Yoga

I loved some of the ‘flows’ working on opening up the hips. This was quite like some of the mobility I do prior to a strength session – although with some more challenging moves. Something of simple as spending a lot of time in the ‘downward facing dog’ is massively helpful for someone like me with incredibly tight gastrocnemius, hamstring and thoracic spine – although tough it was very helpful.

Personally, though I didn’t enjoy yoga as much as others do. The reason I didn’t enjoy yoga as a holistic package is down to three main reasons.

Firstly, the spiritual side of things, that’s not really me. I do want to be relaxed and calm during and after the session, but personally I can’t relax too much when my hamstrings are on fire and I worrying whether I am doing it correctly or not. Secondly, the time of the session wasn’t very well suited to me, it was a late Thursday night for 90 minutes – I think next time I will try find a daytime (weekend maybe) session that is 60 minutes or less. Finally, I need a partner, someone who will drag me when motivation is low…after all it is going to have a massively positive adaptation on my body.

I am looking to start this up again at a new yoga place either after Christmas or after New Year.

Dancing!!

Why? As I mentioned above I wanted to challenge myself with something completely new – this certainly does that! As a relatively inexperienced coach I think it is also great to be on the other side of the fence and be coached. Yoga provides insight into coach movement to a group of people and the dancing has given me insight into coaching on a 1:1 environment. It has been SO enjoyable. I think even after only 6 weeks I have picked up certain things I can use in coaching and have already changed my coaching style in slight ways.

What I like!

What I honestly didn’t expect is to love the dancing as much as I have done. So far, I have learnt Waltz, Rumba, Quickstep, Foxtrot and very badly attempted the Jive. I am pretty rubbish at all of them – but absolutely love being a beginner at something. I am a very intrinsically motivated individual, I don’t like being bad at something, so my drive to get better is high. My teacher is great and tries to relate as much back to exercise and my kind of movement as possible. My balance and co-ordination are ‘ok’ but I really struggle with rhythm and timing – something hopefully practice will improve.

What is next?

More lessons! Like I said I love it – genuinely one of the best parts of my weeks. My advice to anyone is to give something like dancing a go. If not dancing, I think learning any new skill, whether it be an instrument or a language can be equally as rewarding.

Keep your eyes peeled on social media for some potential photos or videos me doing some steps!

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