No Matter How You Feel… Show up and Never Give up

Today’s the fifth day of the 12-Week Challenge. I missed a day on Wednesday as I had to travel to the city for work, which means almost four hours back and forth. On Thursday, I picked up the challenge again by jumping rope on my roof.

Jumping-Rope

I made around 120 rounds… not that much if you think of the little time needed to do that, but still, it was better than nothing and my heart rate certainly went up a notch. It’s amazing how a simple exercise was able to lift my mood as well—I was feeling rather depressed about my economic situation after paying tax, and worried how I’m going to pay the rent, let alone my ballet classes! (If you are so inclined, please consider sending in a donation so I can keep on taking ballet class… click here. I’ll be forever grateful!)

The Universe does have its way of comforting and encouraging me. First, I saw this quote while browsing Instagram:

“No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up and never give up.”
~Regina Brett

It was like a gentle nudge that life goes on, keep doing what you need to do and what you love to do.

Then, another sign—The following cardio workout routine showed up on my Facebook newsfeed. Exactly what I needed to get my cardio exercise done for the challenge:

The trainer, Jenna Wolfe, said the exercises progress from the easiest to the hardest, from the largest number of reps to the smallest. To my surprise, I almost stopped dead in the middle of the sequence. The squatting one was so tough. My thighs were killing me. But the high kicks were easy, without me having to bend the trunk forward like Wolfe does in the video (dancer’s advantage, I guess). I don’t know if I burned 100 calories or not (the goal of this workout) but I don’t care about calories. It’s the heart rate that matters, and I surely could feel the blood pumping fast after the workout!

Then, somehow I stumbled upon the following video on workout exercises. Although I was going to try out Kathryn Morgan’s leg workout, my attention turned to this instead. In my first time back at the ballet studio, I noticed how tight my hip muscles were and how little turnout was left of me, so I decided to work on that. Check out this video! I love it because all the exercises were done with a focus on warming up and rotating the hip joint… no forcing at all. And the video is not too long, around 8 minutes. You can do it along with the instructor Lisa Maree. Some of her audience members reported much better turnout after having done this workout repeatedly. So it might be something to build into the 12-week challenge routine and beyond.

After my workouts were done, my legs were totally shaky! But I feel good. The quote above is so spot on! Thank you, Universe.

First Position… Again

First Position_Sep17, 2014

It was raining at lunch time today, so I had to give up on working out barefoot outdoors. Took my very old pair of ballet slippers to an empty room in my office building and practiced ballet for the first time since my surgery. Experienced all the usual things that an absolute beginner experiences: shaky legs, low extension, stiffness, inability to hold my leg in the air for even one count. The list goes on. This gives me the insight that when I was doing ballet full out a year ago, I was often feeling inadequate in my techniques. But from the perspective of an absolute beginner. whom am now, I think that kind of judgment on myself was way too harsh. And so the same goes for every one of you ballet buddies who think you aren’t doing great. You are doing excellent!

In today’s practice, I almost forgot the steps for each simple barre exercise. But I didn’t fret too much about it. And as you can see in my first position here, I don’t have much of a turnout to speak of, but I did not try to force it when I practiced. Instead, I focused on using the core and hamstrings, which I have been working on in my Pilates sessions in the past few months. Without the help of a real ballet barre–holding on lightly to the edge of a white board, I was all the more aware of the use of core muscles. While the execution was quite pathetic, I did my best, and came out feeling quite surprised about the amount of sweat I worked up with.

It was a good start.