What’s Your Excuse? @Zumba #specialneeds #Zumba #UsFatGirls

Adults with Special Needs ZumbaJen with WheelchairThis was my fun day!  (I’m in blue).  I was honored to get to lead a Zumba class for Adults with Special Needs.  Daily, these participants  face obstacles resulting from an IQ of 80 or below, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, or Down Syndrome.  They live every day with so many rules:  where to park, places they are allowed to go or not allowed to go, others telling them when to bathe, when to wake up, and when to go to bed.  Many of these rules are necessary to keep them safe and to help them not break the law, which they might do unknowingly otherwise.

It was so fun to see them light up the entire gym.  They didn’t realize they had permission to get to workout at this location.  They loved the music.  But mostly they loved the freedom!  In Zumba, unlike other workouts, it doesn’t matter how you move or how a participant is doing things.  There is no need or requirement for perfect form.  The goals in Zumba are to keep moving and have fun.  Other types of exercise have an exactness in form required in order to prevent danger or injury.  Zumba is free.  Just Go!

wheelchair moving armTo see them be free, dance, hoot, holler,  and make the types of noises they make (which are often not accepted in public places) elated my heart to the full expanse of my chest.  They were free.  They were sweating.  They were filled with joy and exploded that joy on anyone else within reach.

girl feetIf all they could move was their hand, they were waving it.  If all they could move were their feet, they were wiggling.  If all they could do is moan, they were moaning with their whole heart.  They were free.  It was inspiring.

In my typical classes, people are often nervous and apprehensive.  Those feelings are natural and common.  They try to hide on the back row and often aim to be “perfect”.

What struck me, with this class, is how living free is so much more beautiful than trying to live perfect!    These sweethearts were living with freedom inside of bodies and minds that bind them and most physically and mentally free people live bound.

I mean really, don’t they just look miserable sweating and dancing?  (Total Sarcasm). Here’s a 30 second video sneak peek at our fun dancing together.

unloading to come to zumbaJust the effort it took for this adult community to arrive on time was immense.  They have to find transportation as they cannot drive themselves (photo of Eric unloading to come to Zumba).  They require assistance to fill out liability waivers.  It takes time and much preparation.  They do it day after day after day, even when it doesn’t get any easier.  Overcoming obstacles is a part of daily life.  It reminded me how much I take for granted in the many little things I just go and do.

Many of us able-bodied folks don’t make the most of our physical ability.  Dancing with them reminds me to be a good steward of all that I’ve been given.  Why would I sit on the couch when I am free to move, to go, to explore, to be great?

I was so inspired after dancing today.

What are your limits?  What is stopping you?  Are you using what you’ve been given to the extent of your ability?  If they CAN, why can’t you?  Do you have insurmountable obstacles to overcome?   What excuses are stopping you?