“How am I supposed to live here? Should we move?” I asked Shaun more than once over the weekend. He reminded me that it was only for a couple of days, but that didn’t help to cure the sadness I felt so deeply in my heart.
I’m known for my dramatic mood swings. I have some pretty high highs followed sometimes by the dreaded low lows. Having never been clinically diagnosed with a psychological illness, I’ve always just fought through the lows.
The recent (planned and expected) closing of the beautiful studio where I teach on St. John just about sent me over the edge, even though it was very temporary. I knew I loved that place, but perhaps I underestimated its full power. The space is everything you could wish for on an island or elsewhere for that matter.
I had the foresight to know that living on St. John and not working would be a really bad idea… been there, done that, and never again. So when the studio renovations were scheduled, I immediately booked myself a trip to Miami to reconnect with my best friend who moved away in February.
The four days we were together were unbelievable. There were so many amazing parts of our trip that I would basically need to turn myself into a Miami blogger to recap them all.
For me, one of the highlights was taking a DanceBody class at a beautiful studio in South Beach called Anatomy at 1220.
I’ve been following Katia Pryce and her DanceBody trainers on Instagram for a while, amazed at how they have attracted a large following of people who share the belief that to be our healthiest, we have to #KeepMoving, and their classes are full of people who want a dancer’s body. I’ve always believed dance was the answer to many of life’s problems, and they are kindred spirits. It’s so motivating to meet and learn from like-minded people.
Tiff and I got to meet Laura-Ann, the Miami DanceBody trainer, and Julia, another trainer visiting from NYC. Not only are both of these women in the most incredible shape, they also are perfect examples of women empowering women.
This was wonderful for me to experience after having someone in the fitness industry wrongfully question my using their method “without [their] permission” just after I began Twerk and Tone. It was shocking to have something like this happen so early on, but I’m so happy I didn’t let it deter me from reaching out and connecting with other CEOs and innovators in the fitness world.
It is totally different with the trainers at DanceBody who genuinely seem to want to see other women do amazing things in the fitness arena. I am dying for them to come guest teach on St. John. Please Katia, Laura-Ann and Julia!!!! You will love it here, and the Twerk and Tone community will love you! #BusinessTrip!!!
I returned from Miami with renewed inspiration and motivation. It had been so long since I’d taken someone else’s class! Not able to immediately resume my classes was harder than expected… I love being busy being active!
I became fixated on everything I couldn’t control- the cracking of the tiles in my apartment, the weather forecast- and big things I can control but couldn’t seem to find the focus to move forward with- my business plans, life goals… overwhelming stuff.
Monday rolled around. There are typically four Twerk and Tone classes on Monday morning, more than any other day. I woke up to rain. Having modified the schedule and planned for two of the classes to be held outside in a ball field, I was frantic. I drove over to the ball field and dreaded to see what I’d find.
I have to give a big shout out to Tish, Krista, and Sharon who showed up at 7 AM with smiles on their faces thanking me for having a workout despite the challenges. About 12 seconds into the workout, I felt all the sadness start to lift out of my heart.
The 9 AM class was triple the size and I saw more smiles and sweat and laughter, and life felt right again. Knowing that it wasn’t an option to cancel any more classes, I immediately started to reach out to anyone and everyone looking for alternate locations.
I literally just got word that the studio is reopen, and I feel like my heart is going to explode. My must heartfelt appreciation goes out to Kim and Jenna, who dealt with my craziness instead of just telling me to get a life while the studio underwent improvements!
What a roller coaster ride of emotions. I’ve realized Twerk and Tone is more than my job- it’s the most overwhelming source of joy in my life. It’s a large part of my social life and, of course, it is responsible for my health- both physical and mental.
The opportunity to take that one fitness class in Miami and the opportunity to lead fitness classes every week on St. John inspires me to continue to share my passion with you and encourage you to find the something healthy that makes you feel good. Life is too short to not be the best possible version of yourself.
As I was walking down South Beach, I happened to glance over and see these words almost jumping out at me from a random hotel wall: “Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.”
It’s my greatest dream that I may inspire more people to let that rhythm inside them come alive. Moving together is a powerful thing that can’t be explained, only experienced. Now I know exactly how I am supposed to live here… I don’t have to move, but I must keep moving!
Ashley Cates, St. John USVI Blogger and Twerk and Tone Creator