Friday, May 28, 2010

It's Just The Truth- Confessions of a Girl Who Wants to ROCK

This morning I did the Ah Meditation with a recording by Wayne Dyer's guru Siva Baba (it's a powerful and amazing meditation for manifesting your desires- try it!), and at the end of the recording Siva Baba says "Embrace Your Manifestation."    So I decided to go all out today and embrace one of my greatest desires:  I WANNA ROCK.

Last week I had yet another round of auditions for ROCK OF AGES on Broadway.  I had so much fun (how can you NOT have fun dancing to "Pour Some Sugar on me"?!  I have wanted to be a video vamp in a Whitesnake video since I was old enough to crimp my own hair).  And I felt so empowered as a woman- I was in my body, my voice sounded great, and I felt totally solid about what I did.  

I think in musical theatre, we are very cautious about admitting when we really want something, because - let's face it- more often than not we end up not booking the job.  And it's the ultimate adrenaline spike, which makes it harder.  We get all gussied up, we prepare, warm up, dance our faces off, sweat, get out of breath, get a callback, sing, get another callback, read, dance again, and then... nothing.  And this process happens over and over again.  So we develop this protective armor, and we suit up under our fishnets and half tops and La Ducas, and put our stoic, yet best foot forward.

But every once in a while, a show comes along that is just the perfect show.  It melts the armor.  You see it and think "oh man, that is my show."  Well, ROCK OF AGES is my show.  I know it, my agent knows it, and I'm fairly sure the creative team knows it, as they keep calling me in.  I have been through four rounds of auditions so far.  ROCK OF AGES is my show because I grew up in the '80s. The summer between 6th and 7th grade, Michelle Bruno and I would go to Whitehall pool every day, and listen to our tape recorded mixes from B94 FM while we worked on our tans... "Be With You," "I Wanna Know What Love Is," "Welcome to the Jungle"... On the way home, we would sit in the back seat of her mom's burgundy Cadillac, sun-drenched and sucking on candy cigarettes.  We would pretend we were on our way to a big sold out arena show, where we were the stars.  We'd get home and cut up our t-shirts (sometimes even fringe-ing them ourselves) while we waited for "Pour Some Sugar On Me" to come onto the MTV rotation.  We'd walk to the drugstore and buy frosty shades of Wet 'n' Wild lipstick for $.99 as "Dead or Alive" piped through the store's speakers.  

You see, I'm from Pittsburgh, the place where 80's hair band music never dies.  I am flying home today, and I can guarantee I will hear one of the aforementioned songs on WDVE on my way home from the airport.  My peeps are hard workin', beer drinkin', sports lovin', mullet headed balls of love.  I want to represent, for my hometown.  For my childhood, for my passion for thrashing around while scantily clad.

Yes, ROCK OF AGES is my show.  And I want it.  In my class I encourage my students to leave it on the floor, to play full out and take risks, and if they fall, not to worry, it's just the gym.  Well, I'm going to leave it all on the floor right now.  It's just the truth.  I want this.  I want it bad.  Siva Baba does not say "guard the manifestation" or "protect the manifestation" or "doubt the manifestation."  I embrace it.  I like the image of hugging it.  Nurturing it.  and rocking it.  With horns and fist-pumping.  

So this one goes out to all of my musical theatre girls and guys who go home and silently pray that they get the job they just told their friends they are ambivalent about.  I'm turning up the volume on my prayer.  And just like at the gym, if I fall, if I don't get it, I am willing to publicly admit that I fell.  But I want this, and here goes.  I REALLY REALLY WANT TO DO ROCK OF AGES ON BROADWAY.  NOW.  I WANT THIS JOB WITH MY WHOLE HEART.  I EMBRACE MY MANIFESTATION.  THIS OR SOMETHING BETTER.  AND SO IT IS.  

Whew!  That feels good.  I hope you will embrace your manifestations.  We are not meant to hold our greatest dreams inside.  We are human.  We are emotion.  Even in musical theatre :)

Today I am heading back to Pittsburgh for some family, fun, friends, and Primanti's.  I won't be teaching until Tuesday of next week, UNLESS you are in the burgh and come to Dance Workshop by Shari tomorrow, Sat 5/29 at 11:30am for intenSati!  $10 gets you in the door and I have DVDs!

Please, for your own sake, ROCK OUT.  Thanks for reading, be well, and see you soon.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Playing the Sexy Name Game Pays Off!

Hello bloggity friends!

This month only, I am teaching a class called "The Shape Bikini Body Workout."  I am doing this because the club has a partnership with Shape Magazine for the month of May, and one sculpt class per club has changed its name (and ONLY its name) for the month to celebrate.  I volunteered my PureStrength class for the name makeover because I thought it might pull in some people who have never taken my class.  I must note that I did not change the content of my class at all.  I do the same exercises in Tuesday's Bikini Body class as I do in Sunday's PureStrength class.  In fact, when I walked in to teach my first class at the top of the month, I had completely forgotten about the name change...

until I saw the huge crowd of women on the floor, jockeying for space and the last few 5 and 8-pound weights in the bin.  Now, I always have good numbers, but this was incredible.  What the... *DING!  LIGHT BULB MOMENT!

These women were new to my class, eager as hell, with a look in their eyes that implored me... "Please, please give us the answer!  The perfect bikini body!  Can I get it in the next 45 minutes?"  And the men in the room, who are used to my PureStrength format and hadn't thought to check the new schedule, were looking around, bewildered and pleased at the same time!

So I changed my script, fast.  I started talking about how all of the exercises we do with our own body weight are SO, like, totally doable in the Hamps by the pool!  How instead of the dumbbells you can fill last night's vodka bottle with water and improvise at the Jersey Shore!  I laughed at myself, they laughed at me, and my classes have been at capacity ever since.  No weights or mats to spare.  And guess what?  I'm never changing those classes back.  Would you?  Below are my before and after class descriptions:

My regular PureStrength description:
"A complete body conditioning class.  All muscle groups are explored in this constant functional movement class with cardio components."  (This is a respectable description.  Honest, no frills, straight to the point.  Masculine, even, which would explain why I have a steady stream of dudes and serious fearless women in that class).

The Shape Bikini Body Workout description:
"Get bikini ready with the best exercises dedicated to flatten your abs, tone your legs, and sculpt your hips and butt.  This is the perfect integrated strength, cardio, and power sculpting workout designed to melt away fat- just in time for bikini season!"  (This is a brilliant description.  Women don't even have a choice in the matter.  Basically says the same thing as the PureStrength description, except the great phrase "melt away" and the key words "tone," "flatten," "perfect" and "bikini" grab the female eye, not to mention the exclamation point at the end!  Yeah!  Work it, sisters!!)

I am in love with this revelation.  Not only has it gotten my creative juices flowing and helped me step up my teaching game, but my students are actually working harder.  They have a specific goal, and they WANT it bad.  And I am so happy to help them!  Now of course i must mention that the secret to a bikini body or dream body of any kind is persistence, and a regular, consistent workout schedule combined with a balanced diet.  This schedule may or may not include classes that have the word "bikini" in them.  Friends, the bottom line is, get your ass to the gym 4-5 times a week, work your butt off, go home and eat right, and you will have the bikini body.  But for now, I'm totally fine managing the throngs of thong-hungry cuties at 44th and Lex.  I should partner with a spa so everyone can do my workout and then get a bikini wax.  Any takers???

As for me?  I want to be the Bikini Body Spokeswoman.  I'm getting cute for class, wearing little matching outfits that show my bod and maintaining glossy lips, enjoying being a girly girl in fitness, making new connections with my peeps, making my managers happy, feeling great.  I love when people come to me for help.  I admit it!  I think my next class will be called "The Double Your Income in 2010 Workout."  I will teach it at Wall Street.  With the PureStrength format.  Or how about " The Find the Love Of Your Life In The Next Two Weeks Workout..."  I will charge extra for that one!

All joking aside, here's the secret formula.  Take care of your body.  Take care of your mind.  Get plenty of rest.  Find a spiritual practice.  Live in gratitude.  Laugh and have fun.  Add lots of water, enjoy!

Join me for the Shape Bikini Body Workout:
Tuesdays 7:15-8pm at Equinox Tribeca
Wednesdays 6:15-7pm at Equinox 44th and Lexington
For this month only!  (or is it????)

OR:  PureStrength!
Sundays 10am at Equinox 19th and Broadway
Fridays 12:30-1:15pm at Equinox Columbus Circle

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Catalyst Cleanse... How I got my groove back from making ONE decision

A few weeks ago, I was not feeling awesome.  I was down, bloated, lethargic, uninspired, and my usual Erika Shannon Mojo was nowhere to be found (see photo on left, from Easter Sunday.  Blech.  Don't let the kale salad on my plate fool you).  I was injured, I had started giving into ridiculous cravings (Tasti D-Lite?  Really?  I don't even LIKE it!), and I was feeling TERRIBLE about myself.  I knew I had to do something, and fast.  

I chose to commit to the Isagenix Nine-Day cleanse because I know several people with active lifestyles like mine who have highly recommended it.  It was easy to follow, the meal replacement shakes are DELICIOUS, I got to eat a "real" meal every day (crucial for me- I love to eat!), and it didn't leave me hungry (as many juice fast cleanses do- don't even ASK about the time I did the Master Cleanse and tried to rehearse for Broadway Bares and teach a full schedule while surviving on water with lemon and maple syrup).  Within the first three days I noticed a HUGE difference in my attitude and energy levels.  With no caffeine, heavy food, sugar, or starch, I felt CLEAR.  Sparkly!  I started buzzing with creative ideas for choreography and class ideas.  I picked up weights in PureStrength for the first time in four weeks.  I began seeing a chiropractor and practicing the Alexander Technique.  I got my tax return check and went shopping for new spring clothes.  I scheduled a session with my life coach.

As I started to feel better with each day, I became increasingly aware of a simple (ugly? surface?) truth:  Am I really that vain that getting a little skinnier makes this big of a difference?  It reminded me of a particular saying that I have heard ad nauseam in my life:  "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels."  Something about that statement makes me feel icky, even cheap.  Is that really how I feel?  What if it is?  Is that wrong?  But then I looked at the nature of my life- how my body gets me jobs.  How I stand at the front of the room as an example and (hopefully) an inspiration to my students.  Of course it should feel good to love my body!  My "money maker" IS my money maker!  And even if it weren't, what is so wrong about looking and feeling fabulous?  In fact, if we don't feel fabulous, why the hell not?  We should all be walking around, strutting like peacocks and flaunting our trim tummies like luscious plumage!  

I am so glad I did that cleanse.  I am so happy to have found my power again.  This week alone, people have offered me coffee cake, biscotti, soda, pasta, and steak.  And I have, without hesitation, politely declined.  I am now even more aware of my body.  What it REALLY wants as opposed to what my mind thinks it wants.  And I am going to continue this way.  I am back to eating regularly (no caffeine, Tasti-D or soda, yay!), and I'm also maintaining a regime with the Isagenix Cleanse for Life drink and the shakes for breakfast (which I LOVE), and daily vitamins and antioxidants!  Feels so good.  I love waking up every day and looking in the mirror!  The picture below is from my birthday, a few days after I finished the cleanse.  Revived!  Woo hoo!

Looking back on that nine-day transformation, it is most remarkable to me that this ONE THING, the action of doing the cleanse, had a snowball effect on the rest of my life.  I fixed my shoulder.  I am developing a practice for my everyday health.  I created the May intenSati series in RECORD time.  I started taking major responsibility for getting my finances in order and feeling powerful and abundant with my money.  I have regained confidence, agility, sparkle, sass, and my MOJO is back!  It feels great to be back in my own skin.  As my friend Cherie Lily would say, 'WERK!" is my question for you:  Is something dragging you down energetically?  Do you need a change?  Is your mojo intact?  If not, pick one thing you can do to generate a change in attitude.  It could be simply committing to drinking 8 glasses of water per day (with lemon to increase cleansing), working out 4 days this week instead of two, meditating 5 minutes per day, etc.  The key is not necessarily in the action.  It's in making the commitment and sticking to it, and feeling the PRIDE in accomplishing your goal.  Trust me, it will snowball into utter fabulousness!  Now THAT really feels yummy!

So do it UP peeps!  Let me know how I can support you.  And if you want to give Isagenix a try, email me!  I loved it so much I became a distributor, so just say the word and we'll get you hooked up!