Aida MollaeiWhen I started doing Zumba in high school no one had heard of this workout in my country. I remember going into my gym one day and hearing a bunch of people shouting and woo-hooing in the class next door. My coach told me that it was something called Zumba and it is for crazy people who can’t do real exercise! The very next day, she saw me in the front row of that class for crazy people. I have enjoyed doing this workout ever since and I deeply believe in its power on my physical and mental health. The mix of music, dance, exercise and non-stop woo-hooing is a great food for your body and soul. I cannot remember leaving a Zumba class with anything but a huge smile on my face.

I moved to Canada in 2018 to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Waterloo. Let me tell you something: as ready you might think you are to live in a new country, migration difficulties are on another level. I remember feeling extremely depressed during the first six months of my immigration. Step by step, I started to take better care of myself and I began going to Waterloo’s shoe tag classes. Guess what? the first class I took was a Zumba class. When I saw one of my classmate’s names on the board of instructors, I realized that students could take that role. That is when my journey as a Waterloo fitness instructor started. I applied to be an instructor, and after two months I was the one standing at the top of the class teaching my favourite workout to my fellow warriors.

The mix of music, dance, exercise and non-stop woo-hooing is a great food for your body and soul.

AIDA MOLLAEI, Zumba instructor

For me personally, the most exciting moment as an instructor is when I turn around after a song and see everyone’s sweaty, smiley and satisfied faces. That is the moment where I feel like I have done my part! Even though I cannot see anyone’s face anymore in my online classes, I take the thumbs up emoji they send after the class as a good sign.

This year has brought some difficult months. There is nothing much we can do other than staying positive, supporting each other, respect social distancing protocols, and washing our hands till the skin comes off. All my Zumba classes have been transferred to online platforms and I am really surprised to see the amount of interest I get for these classes. For me, this is a sign of how we as humans need to stay connected no matter what.