*watch first 4 min.
I took a hip hop class on Friday night. It was something I’d always wanted to do. I’m a decent dancer, but outside choreography has never been my strong suit.
I got there a little after 7 PM, just in time for the meditation.
Yes, apparently dancers also meditate.
“Close your eyes and hold your arms out to the side,” an instructor said. “Focus on your breathing.”
Having come so familiar in the last few months with Kundalini kriyas, I was used to this “arms up and out” routine, my shoulders at least partially prepared.
I didn’t expect for it to go on forever! My arms screamed as my breath got louder and more concentrated. I peeked out an eye just to make sure I hadn’t missed the instruction to release.
As we struggled, the instructor gave us ammo to stay alive: “This is mind over matter, folks. I promise you, your arms will not fall off. A determined mind can conquer anything.”
I hadn’t yet removed my light jacket or hat and was already sweating, arms shaking. I turned to take them off and was quickly scolded (well, sort of) by an instructor. I hustled right back to at-ten-TION!
It seemed to continue well beyond the point of necessity, much like Kundalini. When the teacher finally says, “Release,” it’s an inner “Hallelujah!” of the holiest sort.
And just like Kundalini, when you think it’s done, it’s not done. “Hold the position. Breathe in. Hold. Exhale. Deep breath in. Hold. Exhale. Last time, deep breath …”
My finger tips had tears falling from them. No lie.
Then, with little transition, we were off to break our second mental barrier of the class: embarrassment.
The lights were dimmed and a spontaneous, mind you–sober, dance party commenced. It was like a dance floor meet and greet, which made it worse. Instructors and hip hop veterans alike danced their way around the room to welcome the newcomers, like me.
It was absurdly awkward, but I suppose that’s what I’d signed up for.
Thankfully five weeks of Improv class have made me nearly immune to awkward. It was only a passing thought, really. And when the DJ dropped, Missy Elliot: “Is it worth it, let me work it. I put my thing down flip it and reverse it,” I took over the dance floor like the old days–4 cocktails deep. Zero inhibition.
But then the choreography part came, and I immediately checked back into the sober reality. I had a spot in the back row. I couldn’t see very well. Surely, that was to blame for all my missteps. And I had two instructors in the back who kept bugging me. “No, it’s like this,” they’d say.
I thought, “Just leave me alone and let me figure it out! Surely, there is someone worse than me that could use your frickin help! What about that crazy white dude over there?”
I kept promising that I’d practice at home just so they’d leave me alone.
In the third hour (yes, it was an all nighter), we were put into new rows and a stern looking choreographer came out of the wood work, seriously. This was audition-style choreography where it is given quickly and you build.
Awesome. Why didn’t I slip out at the break?
This was also not my strong suit, and I somehow landed in the most vulnerable of positions, front and center. Surely the instructors had not lined us up according to skill.
I was certain the choreographer at any moment was going to step up, nose to nose with me like a drill sergeant, and tell me how terrible I was. I cried on the inside in preparation.
In the end, when I finally started to “get it,” it was his faint smile of relief that actually hurt worse.
I haven’t yet made up my mind whether I will be returning.
And just like Kundalini, however painful the experience, I learn a lot about what it means to stay put when my mind and body scream, “RUN!”
I leave you with this: Push the limits–mentally and physically. For real, push ’em good!
PS … No video was allowed. I asked. There was a videographer there though, and now that I think about it … I barely read that form they made us sign. I thought it was a health waiver. Hmmmm … that could be a frightening Youtube surprise.
PSS … A rare two spots have opened in my coaching practice. If you or someone you know could benefit from an accountability partner, kind and loving bullshit detector, and mindfulness-centered biz/life/relationship coach, do holler back–asap. I’m booking initial consultations as early as this week.
Kat Hurley is a transformational author, speaker and personal development coach, making over motivation @The Year of Magical Dreaming. For the full 411, visit kathurley.com, yo!