No, not like I’d missed last year’s Dance Week …

I went “back” to Masala Bhangra (via the Dance Week NYC Pass) for a trial class.

But it’s in a dance studio, and it is different than when it had been taught in a yoga studio (don’t ask:  the teacher wore a T-shirt emblazoned on the back with the words: “Masala Bhangra Ambassador”; and her literal function — though I hadn’t consciously recruited her for it —was to have served as an ambassador for tiniertina herself, to be doing business again with a yoga studio that hosted her class, a yoga studio that had gotten a little too greedy with their upsales for my very limited potential private session/live class yoga patronage)

This was a long story, but because I am no hypochondriac and had no health insurance at the time, I unknowingly had fooled them with sporting the bloated-but-not-strong, upper body muscles of the insulin resistant … I’d been, roughly, up to 30 pounds heavier at that time.  Oh, and as a primarily home yoga practitioner for over 3 years by that time, and possessing of a high enough IQ to know middle path and when I want it and no swaps for it, in hatha and vinyasa yoga.

There had been a bit more moves from yoga postures thrown in, by the Masala Bhangra teacher in my (now totally former) studio—I’d seen to that a few weeks ago – this time no threats of lawsuits against me from the control freak owner (she had “mellowed”, such as it were) anywhere.  I have not patronized them for a couple years … they’d no longer had The Masala Bhangra Workout on their schedule…So, now, it is obvious that Sarina Jain, the founder of The Masala Bhangra Workout and by extension the world-class leader of this class, instead puts in jazz balletomane-pleasing (and very tough for me) moves.  Come on, this is The Alvin Ailey Extension we’re talking about here!

Okay, maybe I’m a bit of a schlepper with dance-exercise; but I am mobile, agile, lithe in as absolute a sense as NYC body fashion wants to make of it (even if for the first couple of years in my life) and can bust the moves and keep at my own pace (middle path, remember?) for my advanced age … Young peoples’ aerobics are not going to totally take over the world yet; and Senior Cardio is, while a bit gentler on my joints, frankly—to me—a little insulting.  For instance:  first having, reluctantly, admitted Gentle Yoga into my life last year, at age 59 – about 11 years too soon for me.  Maybe not for her At 92 Years Young, An Incredibly Inspirational Yogi Of Mind, Body And Adventurous Spirit, but for me; hey – unanticipated Type 2 diabetes happens.  As does other, joint-related, fall-related stuff …

Senior Cardio, in addition, and as generally taught in the U.S., barely nods to world music; and in so doing, doesn’t address the needs of the erstwhile American yoga student who is (still) into the richness of the desi (if not Hindu) culture and/or philosophy …  you know—we who know our way around meditation.  Like about 40 minutes every single day.  No advanced asana needed.  Actually, maybe some of the other Bollywood-inspired workouts do … but the first thing I’d thought of was:  I have to go take a class in The Masala Bhangra Workout because, having gotten bored with Hemalayaa videos, I found I cannot get any Bollywood sessions around my neighborhood that aren’t rich-people private-session/wedding pre-training stuff!!!

Knowing how fast-paced and traveling-moves-heavy the Masala Bhangra Workout really is, I hadn’t known if I could take the class without at best being unable to focus, learn and grow; or at worst, its leading to my falling and breaking something. A relative I am close to was in the hospital on the 22nd; and I had kept trying to find out, by phone if she was finally admitted; and where she was admitted to … She’s out of the hospital, now.  But it had been such touch-and-go in the days right after my NYC Dance Week introduction.  I could not go and use another copy of my pass. [More on that later.]

However, I did fine in class …

Like with the large handful of live Masala Bhangra classes I’d taken before, via varying nationalities (not just Indian), the actual culture barely touched upon.  But, my introduction to The Masala Bhangra Workout back in 2013, had been more than just to the dance-exercise modality.

It had also been to the Punjabi music … I’d run down to the store Music of India in early 2014 in Manhattan’s Curry Hill and procured  a CD.   An American resident of greater New York City—for whom, they’d taken the time to play opening bars of all the tracks; because they knew I would not know the songs via title alone.

Had to get it back on iTunes, so that it played right and in the proper sequence (this was a 2 CD Box set, music that was non-audio-fitness-instructional), that I’d gotten for nearly a song …
So glad I perfected my playlist … only 47 minutes… and here and there I’d  off-and-on, designed my own workout self-sequenced interval training, based on cardio bhangra bellydance fusion (do not have quite enough room for “traveling dance moves” in my studio apartment…)

Day after class:

I must rest these knees. They haven’t hurt this much, since more impact driven dance-fitness than that (I am talking my old-school Jane Fonda, out from under wraps, in the audio fitness world!! No secret as to why Sarina Jain is called the Indian Jane Fonda!).  Masala Bhangra is not for the faint of heart … particularly if taught by its founder at Alvin Ailey Extension, and particularly, if live … there is a lot of traveling moves around so you’re kinda stuck to the pace of the other classgoers .. since I’d had 13 live classes in it w/ the last one just under 2 years ago, previously [and, of course, my home dance practice routines, many self-choreographed and a few videos]; taught by my snarky former teacher … I did not place myself in the very back… which—I quickly despaired of—filled up before I could run over there.  I am not criticizing any lack of density control here, due to the infusion of guests.  Because this is a dance-exercise class, not an exercise in logistics (nor, for that matter, ability-shaming!) so you cannot expect that of all teachers, only the really really nasty, control freak ones – and Sarina Jain is NO control freak!

Sarina Jain additionally instructed with no snark, sarcasm, deprecation, “fitting into the bikini”-talk or banter … As the founder of the workout, she had absolutely nothing to prove to anybody or to put somebody else down about … I’d expected the Indian-American Joan Rivers, based on experiences with her direct protegée (though an Irish-American former jazz dance—not Jazzercise, but the real thing—instructor) who’d taught me a few years ago (and, more than obviously, fit in personality-wise at that yoga studio—good riddance to them; and really hope they have a nice life!) … and was very pleasantly surprised with Sarina Jain’s personality which was fitting to the term, “Masala Bhangra Ambassador”…

Anyway, my own choreography, is still not as TIFT (Taking it From the Top)-ed as I like in a dance exercise workout—most likely authored by others, TIFT-ing being a tall order with my slow ability to remember things cold – stuff gets boring by the time I get the patterns and sequence down—(and, like I said above, I need a bit more room to execute most of those workouts) … kind of reflecting how The Masala Bhangra actual workout changed in just a few short years … less TIFT-ing than before.  [It’s by now considered a little old-school, but it can approximate interval training in the dance-workout-choreography-savvy … TIFTing is even used in aerobic weight training and boot-camp-ish stuff, not just dance/dance-exercise, I later found out!)

When I’d felt (due to diabetes) that I had to switch from yoga/belly dance /5 Rhythms to intense, vigorous dance cardio, I’d felt so at home with a highly TIFT-ed class:  The Masala Bhangra Workout … whatever the personality quirks of the instructor …

The founder of Masala Bhangra, Sarina Jain herself (she looks so small and lithe, compared to pictures of her …) thanked me, personally, for coming to the class …

Not only that, but I could tell they had regulars who wouldn’t miss the “free week”. Some of them (obviously those not afraid of Dance Week crowds), came up to me after class and invited me to consider returning … that they take the class “every chance they get”.

Passed up going to a free core-focused All Levels vinyasa yoga class at Mang’Oh Yoga Studio (I’d been involved with several hospital visits during this week …

Had my eye on a free Pilates Mat Class …

Well, they defaulted to allowing in members/paid attendees, obviously; or those who reserved at the opening bell of the Dance Week the moment it went live (not me, for I had been informed via – and that was several days into it ..)

I was following the pilates studio, Power Pilates, Mindbody Online (they had never returned my phone message, as advised by the Website) … so – well – guess I did the math right this time …

A few days in advance of NYC Dance Week 2014, Doonya …

Doonya had caused me to chicken out of 2014’s dance week, because there had been a real compassionate instructor, Aisha Russell, and wow, it had seemed as good as it gets

and I’d told her so to her face …this had been a free, outreachy type of class ….

… If she had been supposed to do “fitting-in-the-bikini-talk” or act control freak on everyone, maybe that hadn’t been her to begin with!

But, Doonya?!? A workout that should have gone the Zumba route, but didn’t … and, as alluded to before, Ido appreciate desi culture, song, story – the works, the lifestyle, whathaveyou …

I thought only Soul Cycle and Tracy Anderson and routines like that – as well as their predecessor:  go to SoHo, take out a rock and hit any number of yoga studios just like that (tee-hee!), were the type to have exclusive exercise spas …

Oh, well.

I am living in the wrong life to be paying $30 for a walk in at the Doonya NYC Fitness Center …

I may yet spring for an actual class with the Sarina Jain again, even though Doonya seems to be my preferred workout … at home, at home, at home !!  What I’m attempting to say here is, that Doonya had gone all Boutique Fitness on me and the rest of us NYC poor souls … who would rather pay for their own, home, residential electric bill .. because that’s where the money has to go first ..

Anger Against Complacency

It is the only thing that ever drives me.
Guess that makes me not quite normal. But who cares?
Yearning leads to learning.
Hopefully earning.

I have definitely saved a bit of coin in the compulsive learning process. [Made compulsive only by its challenges. I definitely am not the compulsive type by nature; I would have had a handle on the food situation a lot sooner than by age 48 if I really was …]

Would have been fairly major coin (yes!) if I did not ever doubt my inner, inner intuitive guide.

If not earning, it still will have been worth it.

Not quite on the receiving end of that kind of leg-up, being merely a Student of Life. To wit:

“Microsoft offers free boost to CUNY students”, as reported in the New York Post of April 21, 2015.

These students of the City University of New York will get free downloads, good for 4 years—both full- and part-time students, in fact—of Microsoft Office 365 Pro Plus. The list price was $79.99 “for the student version”. Guess maybe it was cheaper than what I have which I’d  bought at Best Buy—because it did not include OneNote.  Um, according to the notes on my download card of Office 2013 (Home and Student), not so.  They’ve seemingly got gobs of features for the price.  [How else would students be able to take notes in class or elsewhere without fumbling with Notepad-type apps?  How would they post live links?  How would they post mixed media?  How would they have secure(-ish) cloud backup?  I believe I’ve cloud-enabled my OneNote by now, though I cannot easily check.  I have no other “smart” devices (to be “across devices” with) and the internet café near me does not have Windows 8.1

Anyway, I am not a student at CUNY.

And above all, good on Microsoft!

This does not bode for the threat of too much competition from the CUNY students who may be graduating between now and 4 years from now (do not know the time frame for the Microsoft offer) … I am in the same market for the minor-functionary-type, possibly 25 hour a week (who knows if any more in an environment in which people’s hours are cut left and right?) jobs they too may fill—though not entry-level per se

If that software could have macro-enabled features; they could really go to town!

Because maybe they need some of that anger nonsense too, to want to use the software for more than just term papers and a swap-out for static, bullet-point manually drawn slides.  To use Excel (my first love, btw) as more than just glorified, green-eyeshades-type accounting paper or charting for science labs …

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Celebrities don’t BOSU!


Quasi-Inclusive Gym … [the one with that “Stop” emoticon + a Hand Logo – its real identity co-incidental to this blog post] … and, like, it too is full of young people (and it is, actually, super-upscale–we are no longer talking about the mid-market–which, in my world of job instability and expensive rent, is still upscale and expensive to ME … BUT at a price point actually somewhat above the one that’s around that of the IHRSA bunch …] and I guested at it.   I had been a member of, at the age of 52, for about 13 months.  When I’d told the guy who gave me a tour, he REALLY liked THAT news; even though he mostly tries to get in those people who’ll spring for personal training.  I did – twice – but I’d felt under duress the second time; never at a gym.  At a yoga studio; wherein it was called “private session”.  Long story.  Suffice to say, I do NOT take yoga at that studio anymore.  I know there is a yoga teacher there, who’d seen me.  I’d returned to take cardio dance there for a while.  I know that she gives a kirtan.  She’d wanted me to try her yoga class (All Levels).  There was a more Iyengar-oriented yoga teacher who’d wanted me to take her class.  I do not have FOMO about any of those classes.  Absolutely NO Yoga there.

Short-duration guest pass, this is why I’m free to blog.  Even at the illustrious WordPress, that gets exposure … sosueme … I was already threatened to be sued by the yoga studio.  What bluffers!

So, nature must abhor a vacuum. Not too frequently is a guest gymster (who looks like he/she knows what they’re doing) approached by a personal trainer trolling for new clients in this slow, uncrowded; everybody-who-is-anybody-is out-of-town or over at The Open, period.   Or working too damn hard.

This time, I think the reasons I was NOT approached are more obvious. For one, I look intimidatingly gaunt/so not-young/so not well-heeled. I am now quite hollow-cheeked, with a wasted-away look that does not fit my medium frame. For another, seeming cardio queen (however feebly motivated at any one time)–is not usually approached by a personal trainer.

You see, my feet are in such uncorrectable shape (due to surgery being non-indicated because I was 43 at the time of poddo diagnosis) that I now do BOSU aerobics where Step Aerobics used to reside … Even on a very highy inflated BOttomSideUp ball (on the dome side, of course). The personal trainers milling around use BOSU balls with their clients … a LOT, but with the flat side up. They did not look particularly inspired in their offerings… not like the military-style drill sergeant personal trainers I vaguely remember from …

But remember, this super-upscale gym guns for the more aesthetically driven repeat business and not the burnout, killer, 6 weeks-to-the-wedding bunch. Their charges are obviously frequent-fliers and are seemingly quite motivated (and young, physically attractive, ideal BMI/body composition)… I learned from my experience as a yoga studio fairly regular attendee, that you treat the high-value customers with kid gloves (I had not been one of them and I had felt bullied.  Yup, panned then on Yelp at first; and on everybody’s yoga blog and on my former blogsite – identity until near the very end, thoroughly disguised – and will never return there for a yoga class. I will never experience a kirtan there. I will never know yoga from those  teacher who’d wanted me in their respective class. It hurts even them, in the long run but not for reasons one might think …It hurt me plenty.  I’d fought back until I decided life’s a little too short for that.).

Anyway, a digression. Back to the main topic at hand.  Overall, the vibe at Quasi-Inclusive was different. The music was loads better. (I own no iPods).   Not hipster or hip-hop. Nearly perfect for my workout. If the BPM got too fast, I trained flexibility and worked in some intervals before doing arabesques, chassees, or kicks while one foot was on the dome’s top.

I saw some gal doing YogaBoxing in the vacated studio where a boxing of some sort class usually was … She shortly got dressed thereafter (while I was gearing up for another short round in locker room) and practically sailed out of that gym. Looking like the celebrity reporter whose workout she probably just imitated, such as Koga as in

But me? I was nobody to be messed with.

I had not been approached by any personal trainer, per se; but by a licensed nutrition specialist, trolling for clients.

Can’t win. Had a lengthy discussion with him.  You know, my diabetes, my other concerns, my carbophobia eating disorder (right now), that a contemporary now struggling with diabetes himself, mistook for  … “You’ve gotta tell me your DIET!”

I was not seen doing the workout that celebrities don’t do, by this nutrition guy.   My fancy stepping on a BOSU would have not made me seem such the easy mark he may have sensed me to be.