This week was my first ballet class back after a month long break in the summer! Given that I hadn’t really worked on anything dance wise since classes ended at the end of July, class went surprisingly well. It was fun and challenging and felt comfortable, a familiar and welcoming place. Although ballet is undoubtedly an art form, it is also an incredibly physical activity, and I felt that.
We will have a performance at some point later in the year, but we will not be working on choreography for quite some time! We are going to be working on exercises and technique and styles, and there will be something for everyone. Like the summer, there is a range in ages from roughly 20 to 60, with an accompanying range in experience and training. It is an enjoyable group of women and I’m looking forward to spending the year improving together.
I spent roughly 40 minutes stretching before class because I knew that I hadn’t properly stretched for dance for a month. I forgot my warm up booties, but thankfully had some fluffy socks on hand! I am very appreciative that ballet has really ingrained the need to warm up in me, as it makes a huge difference in exercise. Although your barre is technically a warm up, the pliés that you begin with are rather difficult on your calves. I had actually made a list of what muscles to stretch in which order to best prepare myself for class. If only I had taken this time when I was younger! I’m going to try my hardest to spend 20-30 minutes on Saturday and Sunday stretching and preparing myself beforehand. Once I get back into yoga regularly, I don’t know that I will need to dedicate that much time specifically to stretching but I will for the time being.
I had an excellent class- I really worked myself to my limits without pushing myself too far, which is very easy to do. I’m still learning Cechetti terminology and technique, and it is pushing and using my muscles in slightly different ways than I am used to. I find that minute differences in technique are making a huge difference in how my muscles feel after class. I am enjoying refining and broadening my own technique and ability, as that is a huge part of ballet! Because Cechetti port de bras (arm positions) are quite different from Royal Academy of Dance port de bras, my arm, shoulders, and back all feel very worked after class.
My arms and back are also sore from the yoga class I took on Wednesday at lunch! Our regular instructor was there, we did an extended Sun Salutation, and although I was incredibly tired, it was a wonderful class. Because it was a Sun Salutation, it was a familiar sequence to me. It reaffirmed that side planks really are the invention of the devil and your arm, back, and rib muscles will feel terribly sore for days- while it isn’t a great feeling to be sore when you yawn, it’s nice to know that you are working hard enough. However, the biggest impact for me was the mental difference it made. Work has been busy and stressful, and I was able to escape from my mind for those thirty minutes. I was able to focus on what my muscles were doing and my breathing, and fully dedicate myself to the practice. It really clued me in that yoga needs to be an important part of my life, and I need to make time for it- not just for my muscles, but for my mind.
I need some fitness inspiration- does anyone have any success stories? Has exercise helped you with stress and worries?