Friday, May 20, 2016

Week 2 Overview : 30 Day Tahitian Dance Challenge

Week 2

Week 2 is here, with a bit of a delay, but none the less here. The mini goal for the week is a bigger, faster fa'arapu.

Each day will be split into 4 parts: stretching, warm up/basics, drills, and cool down.

Since it's fa'arapu week, I will include more fa'arapu drills, but I will also focus each day's drills on areas I want to target, and also include some basic workouts in the drills.
For example, for core day (yesterday) I focused on slow, controlled movements like amis and varus by really using my core. For leg day, I will do some tipenes, do some basics, but very low, and fa'arapus with penes, etc. A more detailed account will of course be coming up tomorrow.

Some non-dance related drills I did for core day were planks, mountain climbers, and supermans (I HATE sit-ups).

I also picked a target song, Lua Afe by Te Vaka, for my Fa'arapu goal. That means that I want to be able to fa'arapu the whole of the song by the end of this (it's 3:02 minutes), and I either use the reloaded version to start with slow amis, then fa'arapus in different speeds and rhythms until I can build my endurance.

I'm pretty happy with the results so far. Especially food wise, I haven't even thought about snacking much of late. I automatically reach for water when I'm thirsty, and I've been pretty good about sticking to the low carb thing!

Hope you guys are having a lovely week, and I'll be back with more details about my week 2!

Day 7 : 30 Day Tahitian Dance Challenge

Last day of the week! I am finishing off with some posture correcting workouts, a mini exercise I can do everyday, and also some arm movements to practice dancing!

I have horrible posture... so depending on your situation, you may want to skip this, or only do one of the below. This exercise is a very fast and easy one to do anywhere just as long as there's a wall. I can definitely implement this into my dance challenge and do it everyday, all it takes is a couple of minutes.

Week 1 Day 6: 30 Day Tahitian Dance Challenge

Eat Healthy - 1st Place

Week 1, Day 5 : 30 Days Tahitian Dance Challenge


Cardio by nia-maki featuring Brita

No dancing today to start, but I think cardio equally important. I get out of breath so fast these days, I'm honestly just WAAAY out of shape. My plan is to have a 30 minute cardio session twice a week, maybe after 30 minutes of dancing from next week.

Days 1-4 : 30 Days Tahitian Dance Challenge

I am officially in day 4 of the 30 Day Tahitian challenge, explained here. Here's what I've done so far.

Tahitian Dance

Beach cover up

Crystal jewelry

Jacquard beach towel

Blomus water carafe

Day 1 Just Dance

For the first day, I eased into the challenge by just making sure I did it. I took out my old parau and top, and put on some music and did a few of each movements and tried to remember some old routines. I did't push myself to be honest, but I was still sweating and out of breath by the end of my session because as easy as it seems, Tahitian dance is WORK! 

If you're a total beginner, fear not! Terms for basic Tahitian Dance moves can be found here.

Also watch this video from youtube for how each move looks like (done by my favorite Tahitian dancer, Moena).

Day 2 Record Your Baseline

Before you can start making your routines, I think it's important to know where you are starting from. Not only will it help you see how much you've come along, but it will be good for you to see your weak points and what needs work. 

Since this is as much a fitness journey as it is a dancing one, I measured my body for my starting point. The places I am most concerned with are my waist and arms, but I also included my hips.

Next I took a mental note (and a digital recording) of how big and fast my fa'arapus are, how long I can do the fa'arapus, how far my hips go up when I do tamos, and several other movements. 

Fa'arapu: I could go longer than 30 seconds full speed but honestly becomes too sloppy.

I also did a few stretches before and after, and it all took about 30 minutes. 

My before pictures and video can be seen on my instagram @Nia_Maki

Day 3 Creating Structure

This day came after the weekend, but is a day I dedicated to working on my routine and planning the rest of the challenge out. After reviewing the videos from day 2, I was able to see what really needed work and helped me to make goals for the challenge. 


A fuller fa'arapu. It looked as though I did bring it up in the back, but I do not tilt my pelvis in enough when I bring it in the front. I need to do some hip opening stretches and include drills on folding my hips in and pushing it out. Once I can do fuller fa'arapus if I still have time I hope to work on the speed and hopefully be able to do a fa'arapu for 2 minutes straight. 

Better posture. I need to work on good posture in general, but I really must get used to how my body should be positioned when dancing so I won't hurt myself and also make it look much better. My arm movements need to be more graceful as well, but the major issues are my knees and shoulders. Keeping my upper body still and shoulders in place especially with varus is my priority. 
I used to have lots of problems with knee pain when I was in class, and part of it is because my calf area isn't flexible, my hamstrings aren't as strong, and my posture was bad so I must have been placing my weight in the wrong places and not using the right parts of my body to dance. 

Size. I say size and not weight because as you tone up I understand you might hit a point where you stop losing weight but still get "smaller". Two people can have the same weight but still look different depending on where the weight settles or how much of it is fat vs muscle. Look at this picture of Kara  at 130 lbs, but is not the same shape/size in the picture or just google what 5 lbs of fat vs muscle looks like. I would like to not have to buy a whole new set of clothes now that I'm in the U.S. and I'm serious when I say my jeans already feel tighter. 


I decided to take 30 minutes to an hour each day, depending on how I feel and what I have to get done. I won't be dancing everyday, but I'll be focusing on different things each day so it will work out. 

Week 1: Foundation, Routine, Basics (Stretching, Arms)

Week 2: Special Focus on Faarapu (Core, Hips, Legs)

Week 3: Special Focus on Tipene (Legs)

Week 4: Special Focus on Duck Walk -Still Debating on this one-

Each week will get it's own post, and I'll post daily or every other day on daily tasks. 

My basic practice session:

10-15 minutes           Stretching
15 minutes                Basic moves
15 minutes                Drills targeting a specific are/technique
10 minutes                Cool Down

Day 4 Loosen Up

As I mentioned before, I have trouble bending my knees and getting low when dancing. For this I needed to work on my hip flexors and my calf area.

This site goes more in depth of why it's important, and shows you (with video) 12 great stretches to loosen up your hip flexors. 

Here is another site for ankle and calf stretches.

After doing all of those, I will be doing the stretches from the video below, since it has hip opening exercises as well as other basic stretches.

After dancing, I also want to have a cool down stretch, and this video seems good for it.
If you don't have the 13 minutes for the cool down, here's a 5 minute alternative.

Even though I won't be dancing everyday, I will be stretching everyday from here for the remainder of the challenge.

This became a rather long and condensed post, because it combines all four days in one, but I'll try and get better about posting everyday/every other day.

Please let me know if there are any suggestions/tips =)

"Life is like dancing. If we have a big floor, many people will dance. Some will get angry when the rhythm changes. But life is changing all the time."
-Miguel Angel Ruiz

Week 1 Overview : 30 Tahitian Dance Challenge

The lovely lady dancing in this video is Moena, my favorite Tahitian Dancer! Not to say that at the end of the 30 days I will be able to move like her, but I most certainly would love you get closer to that by doing this challenge. (Click here for more of why I'm doing this challenge)

I think the most important part of the 30 day challenge is to take things slow, and break them down into smaller steps. As much as we all want immediate results, it's often overwhelming and discouraging if we try to do everything at once.

I broke down the challenge into 4 weeks, focusing on one main target each week, and each day into specific parts of the target to build upon as the days go by.

Week was was about getting into the routine of things, and giving myself enough room to make adjustments before I do the real hard work coming the next few weeks focus on one move each week. You can substitute each one for your own goals, but here's mine so far.

Week 1: Foundation, Routine, Basics (Stretching, Arms)

Week 2: Special Focus on Faarapu (Core, Hips, Legs)

Week 3: Special Focus on Tipene (Legs)

Week 4: Special Focus on Duck Walk -Still Debating on this one-

Each week will get it's own post, and I'll post daily or every other day (or so..) on daily tasks. 

Are you guys currently on a fitness journey or trying out any challenges?

"The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs."

-Charles Baudelaire

30 Tahitian Dance Challenge

About a year ago, I saw this book at the local book store and decided to buy it. It had lots of ideas to make your life more interesting, and as simple as the pages are, they moved me to start taking more risks. Start paying attention to the little things. Be in the moment.

Before I even bought it, I saw this page and I even had to snap a picture just in case I was going to put it back in the shelf. Luckily my mother loved it too and bought it for me, because she knows sometimes I need to learn to get out of my shell and just live my life.

So with this page, I finally do something about stage fright. I think at this point I already started Tahitian Dance, because I loved dancing but also to help me get out of my comfort zone, but I never performed with them. After the hour of class was over, that was it.

I'm very clumsy and unlucky. I'm also VERY pessimistic. I'd always run the worst case scenarios in my head before doing anything because I've been embarrassed and failed so hard many times in the past before. I grew to become a prisoner of my doubts and fears, and oddly enough this page sparked something deep inside that said, "So what if my coconut bra falls off on stage during the routine? Yes! I'm going to expose myself (pun intended) to embarrassment. To risk." And yes, it was fun. I'm glad I trusted the person that wrote this book.

 Check out my instagram too for more pictures =)

Fast forward three performances and a year later, I'm sitting in this chair in the US... pareo's untouched for months since I left Japan, and along with it, my dance classes... Looking for tahitian dance classes in the tristate area was much harder than I expected, not to mention I have no car or license since driving was unnecessary in Tokyo (Can I also mention that driving is one of the other ideas I have?).

SO, my solution was I was just going to do it. Even by myself. No teacher? That's fine, I have the internet and many people on the other end of the computer that can give me pointers! That's one great thing about the youtube community and internet in general that I love. Even with the trolls and haters, there are still other good hearted people willing to offer tips and help each other out. You share what you know and learn things from different perspectives you would have never thought of on your own.

Another motivator was the tummy rolls and cellulite I started noticing the past few weeks... America!!! Curse you and your delicious food in large sizes that are cheap and easy to get in bulk... I guess milkshakes, fries and cookies everyday (or every other day) is going to catch up to you eventually... So it's time to get active, time to move and get those fa'arapus going!

I started my first practice on my own, and aside from getting out of breath every two seconds...I can't say I did much of anything haha! I couldn't remember all the dance routines much, and the drills were not very well structured, and I took lots of breaks... haha...

So let me know what what drill you think I should add, and what goals I should have for at the end of the 30 days. Some things I'm thinking about are holding a fa'arapu for x amounts of time, or mastering the duck walk. Any ideas and tips are very much appreciated, and my youtube videos with the intro an progress will be coming shortly. Also, you can follow me on instagram @NIA_MAKI , I'll be posting pictures and mini videos of the drills, progress, etc. so hit me up there too with motivation and help. Cause I need it ya'll lol!

"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance."
-Alan Watts