A Tough Winter

It has been a tough winter for many of us who live in places where the temperatures are unseasonably low (most likely due to global climate change). Hong Kong recorded the lowest temperature since the 1950s. On the coldest day, January 24, we registered just above-zero temperatures—around 2-3 degrees Celcius in the outskirts of the city (roughly 35 degree Farenheit). While it may sound “warm” to those of you in North America or Europe, the high humidity level, the zero insulation and lack of central heating or built-in radiators in Hong Kong’s buildings means that we have all been freezing our butts off!

Prior to the cold spell, I got sick with a nasty stomach flu. Luckily I was back on my feet within a week (thanks to many factors but mostly the wonderful probioticsDr. D’Adamo’s Polyflora—I have been taking and Miracle Mineral Solutions 1 & 2). Yesterday I made my way back to the ballet studio. It was very very chilly and most of us didn’t get warm even after the barre exercises! For me, I usually start to sweat after the first tendu, but yesterday I didn’t start to feel warm until ronds de jambe!

Gaynor Minden Paws - balletomanehk.com

So happy to make it back to ballet class after being sick and then hibernated in the extreme cold. Nothing feels better on a cold day than working up a good sweat! BTW, those Gaynor Minden paws are really great!


During the class, I also found it a big challenge to maintain the proper ballet posture as I had been lying in bed a lot and sitting in a hunched position in this chill for the whole week. My muscles were so tense (still are!). My teacher kept on reminding me to activate the scapular as my upper back was not upright and my arms and shoulders were not properly stretched out. This really affected all my movements. I felt it acutely when doing pirouettes. But as soon as I became more mindful of my alignment, I had a better go with turning.

The pirouette has always been the bane of my ballet existence through the years. Even after almost nine years (with many hiatus in between), I have yet to make a good clean single. In the past, I would condemn myself and feel devastated each time I failed to execute a good pirouette. But my mental state has changed. I have learned to laugh at myself and pat myself on the back every time I fail. In fact, I don’t even use the word “fail” in my head anymore. I just think of it as an attempt that leads to mastery one day. And I try to really focus on what went wrong and make an effort to do it differently the next time. So instead of pouting, I would put on a smile and try, try again.

While I’ve totally “gone off the wagon” of the 12-Week Challenge, I just try to go easy on myself and allow my body to slowly adjust to the temperature and my physical conditions instead of feeling frustrated. It is never a good idea to push yourself from zero to perfection, especially for those of us mature recreational dancers. Don’t you agree?

8 thoughts on “A Tough Winter

  1. Yes, I went to class last Sat and didn’t sweat till the end of the class (I usually is soaking wet after the barre exercise). It’s really a challenge to get out of bed and attend the class during the chilly days, or maybe I’m just lazy and making excuses :p

    The pirouette is also the bane of my ballet existence, although I’m not as experience as you (I only take up ballet for 2 years). I can make a perfect clean single pirouette in my good days, but most of the time I’m struggling to make a decent one. I sometime feel so frustrated because my classmates they all seem to have achieved it but I’m not there yet. Thank you for your encouraging words and I’ll keep working on it with a positive attitude! 🙂

    • Yes, the bed vs. the studio, what a dilemma, LOL! But I’m glad you made it to class on Saturday!

      Re: the pirouette, sometimes it is hard not to compare ourselves with our classmates. What I found is that it is better to focus on yourself and compare your own progress, as each person has his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Comparing with others create unnecessary tension, which is counterproductive to our learning. Let’s keep on working on our pirouettes!

  2. I too have been watching the news…. Pretty cold!!
    I also haven’t really been sticking to the challenge…and it’s not because of the weather. It’s hot and rainy in Sydney and I’m going to be grateful for it, because I don’t like winter and it would require great focus to get practising at home or get to class. So I applaud you!! Hope your stomach bug has gone away 😊

    • Hi Basia, thanks for your kind wishes. I have fully recovered now! Hot and rainy certain beats freezing and rainy! Well, it’s OK not to be able to stick with the challenge all the time. We are adults and so many things in life could get in the way. The good thing is that we can jump back on the wagon when the conditions are better. May inspirations be with you!

      • Thanks! Tonight I’ll check the KM schedule and see how much of it I have done… And maybe I’ll get around to writing about it?? I’ve been very slack about blogging.

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