Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'll See Your Zumba and Raise You a Bhangra

Those of you who think Zumba is the latest and greatest when it comes to cardio classes? Yeah, sorry. I tried out a new cardio/dance/fun class tonight that will, I am confident, make your Zumba passe.

Tonight, the gym introduced a Bollywood style dance/cardio class.

First of all, I would have felt bad for the two girls who showed up and started unrolling yoga mats (because the Bollywood class replaced a yoga class) if the sign hadn't been on the door to the group exercise room for two weeks. They hastily re-rolled their mats and beat feet.

The instructor, we'll call her Kali for reasons about to become apparent, is a pretty young lady who looks like she could star in a Bollywood musical.Sweet smile, mean as a snake: she told us to take off our sneakers. Doesn't seem so bad? YOU didn't have your feet swathed in socks and Vitamin D ointment this afternoon. One wrong move and I'd have done involuntary splits. Remember JIm and Pam's wedding on "The Office" and how Andy Bernard injured himself? You get the picture.

Beyond that, I do not do a lot of barefoot. It's California and summer and unless I need more foot covering, I live in my flip flops. This does not make for toughend feet. "I don't understand," you say. Okay, try bouncing energetically barefoot on a hardwood floor doing moves that create FRICTION between the floor and your toes. Like me, you will develop a Jai Ho -normous blister on the bottom of your big toe in about 5 minutes of this activity (It's huge. It's disgusting. And the floor in the exercise room is filthy).

I soldiered on, though. I was not going to let a blister stop me. It did significantly restrict what I was able to do. Shark Week is coming on Discovery and I didn't want to leave a blood trail.

The moves are simple, but tough to do.Kali the instructor made them look so simple; fine, yes, I can cross step back and forth. Oh, you want the arms moving, too. And bouncing.  Energetic bouncing that shifts weight from side to side, arm movements, kicking and steps that are half bouncing and half skipping. We stopped a couple of times for some floor work, but at a brisk tempo. There were moves that I had done earlier in the day in yoga with Lila (Plank, Down Dog, Pigeon), but at much more measured pace. This was more like yoga on meth. We had a room full of people looking like they were trying to rub their heads and pat their stomachs.

I finally had to leave about 30 minutes in, not because I couldn't keep up (trust me, NOBODY but the teacher looked good in that  class), but the blister was threatening to rupture if I continued with the barefoot work (seriously, does this look infected?).

It's a great workout and I plan to return next Tuesday. I'm just going to keep my shoes on, though.


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