Tag Archives: YMCA

A moment at the Y

17 Mar

Today, I subbed for another instructor.  I’ve subbed for her before and noticed an older gentleman that would come in close to the time that class was to start.  I perceived him to be more on the quiet side – but he would always thank me at the end of class.  Someone had something to me at one time that caused me to form a preconceived idea of him which is something none of us should ever do.  We shouldn’t form an opinion until we have taken time to get to know someone for ourselves.  We even have to be careful of taking our friends’ word about someone and not making sure we find out for ourselves.

There were only two participants today – it’s Spring Break here in Knoxville area.  And they were chatting about his recent trip back to India.  He was sharing how he had attended a wedding that lasted for six days.  He was giving details about the beautiful flowers and all the food and that each day there were 500-700 people in attendance.  I was fascinated because I truly enjoy hearing and learning about other cultures.  I started class and so the conversation stopped.  I taught and then was cleaning up and waiting for him to get his mat and put his Equalizer away.  I decided to engage him further in conversation and that one moment turned into an hour-long conversation that left me with my mouth hanging open as I listened to him share about his life and all that he has done.  I mentioned to him several times that he needed to write a book  and share his life’s story.

His name is Arun Arora and he was born in India but moved to German when he was 23 to being his work as an engineer.  He’s lived in 20 countries – moved to the US about 34 years ago and has traveled to every state and every major city.  He said Colorado is the most beautiful place in all the world in his opinion and lived there for 15 years (I hope I’m remembering  all the details…I was listening intently and trying to take it all in!).  He worked for ABB, which is a Swedish-Swiss multinational company that operates mainly with robotics and automation.  However, he also mentioned building substations and transmissions for utilities.  He’s consulted for many companies – and the list goes on.   It appears as if he never married and he only moved to Knoxville because his brother became ill.  Otherwise, he would still be in Colorado…skiing, skating and backpacking.  I could have listened to him even longer because I’m sure there is so much more that he could share!

Our Y association in Knoxville is wanting us to share moments and stories that members tell us so I knew this was definitely a story I needed to share because I’m not sure very many people at that facility know any of this about him because he’s just one of those quiet people who come in for class and never says too much.  I emailed the director of that branch and recommended that he sit down for a cup of coffee with this gentleman and block out some time just to hear some of the history and wisdom from this member.

It was truly one of those moments when I was reminded that every person we come in contact with has a story and that we need to look beyond the outward appearance and go past the accent we hear when they talk and be more aware of these eye-opening moments that fill our days if we will just take the time to pause and listen.  My life became even better after spending one hour listening to Arun and hearing some of his fascinating life that he has lived.  This meek and quiet man has had so many adventures in his 75+ years of life that he could probably write one book for each year of his career.

Did I have that one hour blocked for him on my schedule of the day?  No.  In fact, I had several projects that needed to be finished for my online classes and had planned on being home by a certain time.  But as he began sharing with me, I consciously made the decision that I was just going to be present in the moment and listen to the life experiences and wisdom that I was being honored with as he chose to share with me his life.  I do not take that for granted and feel very blessed and grateful when people like him cross my path and cause my life to be enriched because they’ve spoken into.  You never know what one moment will hold and if we aren’t careful, we can miss it.  What moments will you choose to act on?

Into the Deep

20 Jun

This morning I ventured into a part of the Y that I have evaded for years.  THE POOL!!!

What has kept me out of this area for so long?  Ummmmm…..fear of the water would pretty much sum it up.  However, I heard that in aqua fitness classes you get to wear these cool belts that keep you from sinking to the bottom when you go into the deep end. So equipped with that knowledge I decided it was time.

(Additionally, I want to have more of an understanding of how the resistance of the water can create a great workout yet be easier on the joints.)

I made sure to get to the class early so I could tell the instructor that I was a first timer and NOT a lover of water. I have to admit I was somewhat nervous about walking into a new environment all by myself and was a little worried that I might do something that would make me stand out as the newbie.  This was way out of my comfort zone.

Well, right away I stood out because I was the youngest person in the pool….and the smallest – but I sensed this smirk of satisfaction on their faces and I realized they were going to enjoy watching my first time in an aqua fitness class.

I was very relieved to find out that we started in the shallow end…I could handle that – or so I thought until we started running through the water forwards and backwards.  I felt I was pushing against concrete!!! After 20 minutes in the shallow end, the instructor had us put on the belts and grab our weights and jog to the deep end.

Now I don’t know if you have ever jogged from one end of the pool to the other but it is NOT the same as jogging on a treadmill!!! I felt as if I were stuck in the sand and just spinning my tires….feet & legs were moving but I was not moving forward. It was a very disconcerting moment as I realized that my feet were no longer able to touch bottom. I was grateful for my belt and the weights that were holding me up.

We began to incorporate movements that were targeting our core muscles….holding our arms straight out and swinging the legs forwards and backwards, then side to side….and we did it over and over.  I realized that my triceps were beginning to feel the burn and I figured out it was because I had a death grip on those weights and was resisting going any lower in that water than I had to!!! Needless to say, I was not relaxed and my muscles were in permanent isometric contraction!!!

When we finished the work in the deep end, we were to alternate pushing the weights down while jogging back to the shallow end.  All the people older than me had made it back and was waiting for me and I was still stuck by the wall…..the lifeguard and instructor were having a great time watching me work so hard to stay in one place!!! I’m sure my abs are sore because of all the laughing I was doing.

Back at the shallow end, we began to use the weights and work our upper body. Have you ever done a lateral raise followed by a front raise in the pool while using weights? It took every ounce of strength to keep those weights from popping out of the water while I was lifting them straight out in front of me.  I had this mental image of me being catapulted through the air as the weights shot me up out of the pool.

I made it through the hour (while wondering how in the world the other participants could talk so much….It took my total concentration to do the moves correctly!), got out of the pool, and tried to get my “noodle” legs to get me into the locker room.  I was completely exhausted; and as I write this some 15 hours later, I’m already feeling the muscle soreness. (I can only imagine what it would feel like tomorrow!!!)

To sum it up, I had a great time….loved the challenge of doing something new while getting out of my comfort zone….and I will continue to go back until I’m no longer the last one out of the deep end!!!

Zumbathon for YMCA Change a Life

19 Feb

The Knoxville Zumbathon was from 2 – 4 today at the downtown Hilton.  However, doors opened at 1 and demos of Zumbatomic, Zumba Gold, and Zumba Toning began at 1:15.  There was no swimming pool in the room so there was video of Aqua Zumba playing so participants could see what an Aqua Zumba class is all about.  Over 300 participants were in the ballroom…and that doesn’t include the 80+ volunteers and sponsors that were helping out.  This Zumbathon raised $10,000 for the YMCA Change a Life Campaign for the East Tennessee YMCA!!!! One of the things that I LOVE about Zumba…..you can fill a room with people, get 20 instructors to get on stage and “instruct” 2 songs, and everyone can follow along and have a great time for TWO hours while burning lots of calories and getting healthy. Now I teach other formats and enjoy teaching them – but what other class can bring all ages, fitness levels, shapes, sizes and ethnicities into one room…even if they have never participated in that class before…and keep them moving for two hours — AND keep them smiling and having a great time???? From the moment the music kicked in for the demos until the end of the last song, the energy was high – the excitement level was intense – and the room was rocking 🙂 The instructors were just as diverse and unique but each one rocked the stage and brought his/her individuality and were truly “superstars”.  Endorphins were high…..heart rates were up…..the workouts were ditched….and the party was joined!!!!  What a way to raise some money!