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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Happy Mind. Wired Brain.


Chillin with Pip and Tabs--waiting for Mist's ballet class to finish so we can all head back up the mountain for the evening. Little Pip's face is a tad messy from treats :)

I finally made it to the Yoga House meditation and I am happy. Mondays have always been too busy for me to get away for the evening but I did it! Happy because, although I will be away traveling when they have their up and coming quest speaker/day long retreat, I will now be keeping in the know of up and coming Buddhist events in this city.

I am an artist. I have the brain wiring of an artist. This is good and sometimes bad (senses overload on occasion). My senses are super receptive to stimulation. My brain is that of a visual artist and a dancer.  I love learning about the brain and how we all have such unique areas that are super-developed compared to other areas. One thing I have learned about my own brain is how it differs slightly from people who don't have a natural affinity for art/music. For one thing, I see more colours than the average person. It helps me as a painter. I can identify slight variations in shades, tones and colours that others might not see. A bonus is that the visual side of my brain is very well developed and provides me with a photographic memory for colour. I can look at red fabric I have at home and go to the store and pick out an identical matching red fabric simply from memory. My brain  also has the wiring that provides me with a natural affinity for dance and music. My favorite thing to do as a little girl was to choreograph dances to songs and perform them for my parents. As a child, auditory music tests indicated I had a perfect ear and could choose any instrument to play in band.

As a Zumba instructor, these variations in brain wiring have become apparent to me. I realize that many people cannot hear subtle changes in the music. Literally, their brains are not wired for it as they are not trained in the language of music and thus cannot detect subtle shifts. That means that some of my untrained Zumba students (who have very little or no dance experience, or music experience), will expect a set beat to a song and stick with it, despite subtle changes. My brain hears everything in a song and my body naturally moves to the changes. This is a dancer's brain.

My Zumba classes are all about dance. I am the Gina Grant type of instructor. I have attended fitness style Zumba and it is boring to me. My brain craves the language of dance! Some instructors are more fitness-class based and do more athletic-type repetitive moves to music. My classes really are pure dance. I stay away from any moves that are simply athletic moves. If it isn't a dance step, it isn't in my song. The good news for my students is that even if they have an untrained music/dance brain, if they come to enough of my classes, their  brains will learn the language of dance and will soon be able to hear subtle variations and changes within the music. It is all about brain wiring. Learning the language of dance rewires one's brain in the best way. Music makes us happier. An added bonus is that a brain wired for art and music is a math brain too.

So, for anyone out there who wants to try Zumba or has tried it once or twice and worries if they don't "get" the moves right away:  be patient. Allow your brain the time it needs to "map" out the music. And if your friends are newbies too yet seem to "get" the moves quickly, it is because your friends have already established the basic music/dance mapping through previous training. They only need to add a few new little tweaks to their map. The learning curve is short. After 3 classes your map will be fairly extensive and you'll find Zumba a snap.

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