Zumba- Yet another Pathway to New Age Health and spiritual patterns merge into rhythm By: Emma Woeste

Contact: emma.woeste@gmail.com The New Age Movement isn’t so “new” The New Age Movement dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Though this movement stems from so long ago, community members have been gathering around spiritual, religious and holistic health similarities beyond this time. A recent and unique exercise practice, Zumba, brings individuals together to dance to the rhythm of songs from all over the world. New Age has many parts associated to its long history; many of the traditions of this movement became active again in the 1960s. Today, in 2012, the patterns of this movement still remain. Community members are seeking holistic lifestyles and are engaging in various practices. One of the newest practices stems from Colombia, South America. Bringing different religious and cultural dances/routines together, Zumba is an expression of various backgrounds coming together through fitness and health. Zumba: The New Age made new again All across the world individuals are partaking in a “New Age Movement” exercise called Zumba. Zumba is an exhilarating and upbeat approach to living a holistic lifestyle. Community members have formed Zumba classes to achieve better health through these classes and to also have the support to maintain a healthy balance in other areas of their lives. For many community members, Zumba has become a way of life. Zumba classes have formed and are still continuing to Above- Zumba Fitness logo form at local churches, city buildings and fitness centers. “I attend three to four Zumba classes a week with different instructors,” said Kathy Woeste. “Zumba is a fun and motivational way to maintain my holistic lifestyle of attending church, eating healthy and keeping my mind, body and spirit on a comfortable level.” Zumba has been a growing program since the 1990s. Right now it’s in more than 75 countries and classes are taking place in over 50,000 locations. With a variety of cultural backgrounds, Zumba incorporates traditional, spiritual and cultural dances from different denominations. This video shows the integration of cultural customs and norms into a Zumba routine.

“Zumba has impacted my health through the energetic offering that other exercise classes do not have,” said Zumba student Kandy Ohara. “It is a truly unique class that engages us in a variety of platforms” So…what is Zumba? Zumba is a Latin-based fitness program that was formed by “accident.” Yes, Zumba came along because Alberto “Beto” Perez, a resident of Cali, Colombia, was teaching fitness classes in Colombia and forgot to bring his music to class with him one day. He grabbed some music from his backpack and started to move to the music. Focusing on the movements of the body and the healthy aspects of the class, Zumba Fitness was formed. Zumba Fitness has a mission that states “At Zumba Fitness LLC, our vision is to fill the world’s empty rooms with Zumba® classes. Working hand-in-hand with our most dedicated Zumba Instructors (called ZIN™ members), together, our goal is to spread the philosophy of health and happiness and of loving everything you do, especially your workout.” This mission keeps each Zumba class on the same track and toward a better lifestyle. This video is the core of the Zumba mission.

Above- Zumba class using toning sticks as part of their workout

Need a fitness class that keeps you motivated to attend every class? Zumba is a true “fitness party.” Zumba helps individuals get on a healthy track and maintain their healthy lifestyle. The sprit and working of the inner core is the main ingredient to living a holistic life. The holistic lifestyle approach, which stems from the New Age Movement, can be achieved through puzzle pieces of choices. Not only does a Zumba student better their body through exercise, but their spiritual/religious and eating habits are taken into account. It is taking a look at your life from different angles. Being healthy is one thing, but living a healthy and holistic lifestyle is a different street altogether. What does a Zumba class look like? It’s fun to wear belly dancing skirts while participating in a Zumba class. The skirts have symbols that help everyone feel the beat of the music as they move. Bracelets with bells are also worn to be shaken to the tempo. In addition, to make dressing up a bit more interesting, participants tie feathers and bandanas in their hair.

So, grab your belly skirt and feathers! It is time to Zumba! This class begins with a warm up dance that is followed with 45 minutes of Zumba dancing. Zumba dances are a mixture of cumbia, salsa, merengue, mambo, flamenco, chachacha, reggaeton, soca, s amba, belly dancing, bhangra, hip hop music, axé music and tango. Each of these dances originated from a country that traditionally dances to these songs in their everyday customs. With a mixture of cultural dances that focus on more than the body getting into shape, but the mind and spirit as well, Zumba is a unique offering. Each Zumba class traditionally will end with stretching and several meditation techniques. Unlike yoga, there is not a formal meditation process at the end of the lesson. “I weighed 300 pounds before I started Zumba.” said instructor Samantha Ward of northern Kentucky. “Zumba changed my life. I now have a healthier lifestyle and as of December 2011, I have lost 150 pounds from Zumba!” One of the unique aspects of Zumba is the age verity of students. There are classes for children and even the elderly. The goal of Zumba is to integrate a fun and healthy spin on life no matter what the age is of the participant.
• Zumba

Gold- This class targets the elderly community members. Those that are physically limited or aren’t use to working out on a daily basis can try this exercise format. Zumbatonic- A class geared toward children. The moves are simplified and adapted to the age of the children participating.

Above- Zumba Gold class

Above- Zumbatonic class

Karen Smith said, “I was in a car accident ten years ago and I never thought that I would be able to exercise again. My Zumba instructors were patient with make me and helped me become stronger and regain my old self again through each class. That’s the great part about Zumba, there are so many different styles of dances, you can focus on those that are comfortable for you and your level at any given time.” Zumba is a current practice that relates to the origins of the New Age

Movement. Through other exercise classes, such as aerial yoga, meditations, religious affiliations and a strong focus on the mind, body and spirit, community members can partake in various aspects of this continuous movement. New Age Zumba and Beyond Now that Zumba has the world’s attention, what is next? Besides trying Zumba classes out, getting involved in other New Age trends would make for a great combo. Zumba adds the rhythmic side to life however, focusing on religious beliefs, eating habits and medicine practice will bring you closer to being New Age. Give it a try-become a New Ager. Start with Zumba!

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