So it is the day of an amazing battle.
First thing when I wake up… Hello everybody. This is Jaja. You might know me from America’s Best Dance Crew, So You Think You Can Dance, or as the robot girl from Step Up, and STEEZY. and I’m here to help you on a body recovery and health journey So I started my health journey firstly for environmental reasons, but also I started because of health reasons in 2017 I was diagnosed with Cancer in Situ and I wanted to take a healthy approach and a different approach Than the usual surgery and treatments so I decided to do a whole plant-based diet and completely change everything from cosmetics, to how I take care of my body, to what I eat Personal health and taking care of your body relates to dance because we are athletes and I really do believe that we should be treating our mind, mental health, and our body’s physical health as high level athletes as well. So I am combining, eating lifestyle, meditation, and body recovery to be the best version of myself that I could be for dance Mental health is really important, especially for dancers because a lot of our injuries, or illnesses, or when our body is tired comes from mental state what I also see a lot in dancers is that they are not able to concentrate or focus or even be creative in different kind of ways.
If you are combining the healthy eating and meditation together it is really going to build up your mental state to where you will be able to concentrate in learning choreography or freestyling So the basic understanding of meditation is basically focusing and being able to focus on just your breath So when you are inhaling you focus on your breath when you are exhaling you still focus on your breath You don’t let any other thoughts come into your head This is really just helping you in dance to focus on the present moment on your body Another kind of meditation is where you are meditating focusing on the breath but also you are visualizing a Certain thing in dance that you want to improve.
For example, you are visualizing yourself learning choreography in the dance studio your goal right here is to Really visualize yourself, the teacher, and the dance steps. Just by practicing this visualization Your physical body will be improving as well to learn the choreography better So I use nature as my personal de-stresser because in nature I can really relax, focus and connect with the nature and really disconnect from the everyday stresses: dance, responsibilities… and sometimes we just need to unplug and this is my way of how I relax Everybody’s body is ultimately very different So I think it’s really important to tailor yourself your own workouts for your body and what suits with you so what I do a lot is I focus on Functional Range Conditioning, Neuro- Somatic massages, breathing techniques, and Cryotherapy This is something right now that works with my body the best So functional range conditioning is basically a strength kind of workout So getting your joints to the point where they have the maximum range of motion I’m going to demonstrate some of these exercises for you. So this is the cat-cow workout. You’re going from here, first chin, then chest, slowly Making your spine into a half circle and then going back starting with your hips and again, slowly stretching your spine back up, finishing with your chin up So in this one, I’m moving my leg in a half circle Imagining I have a glass of water on my bag that I do not want to spill by pushing my hips to the ground While pushing my leg up I focus on static stretching a lot as well Which means you are basically holding a pose in a stretch for about 45 seconds And then you switch to a different pose where you hold it for another 30 to 45 seconds again In a static stretch you take a pose where you feel stretched out and you stay in the pose for about 30 to 45 seconds while really deeply breathing So I also developed a lot of body control exercises because especially as a female, I really wanted to have the best body control possible So what I do is I take regular workouts and I add weights on my body and I do the exercises With my arms and the weights in my hands It actually really levels up your control Also make sure that your weights are no more than 3-5 pounds because you don’t want it to be a regular workout you really want it to be a workout for the control only. Stay safe! With this vest I’m going to be doing stops. one, two, three, four, and one, two, three, four. I’m tensing my core and my legs and trying to make this stop as clean as possible This weight vest helps me to make it really sharp and nice and levels up your control for my arm control exercise I’m going to raise my arms and again tense my muscles in my arms and go Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop and drill this exercise over and over again Cryotherapy is basically cold therapy for your whole body where you go into a freezer that has negative 150 degrees Fahrenheit And you are there for three and a half minutes. What it does with your body, it helps you to recover faster and better from soreness. It also helps your skin glow And it also helps your mental health as well Personal diet as I would love to say, lifestyle, is really important for dancers and people in general to really fuel your body with the best food that you can to build up the best version of your body that you can lifestyle for me is to really make a conscious choice to change your eating habits completely to build a body that is going to serve you the best version for your dance Whole foods are foods that are not processed.
So if you go to a store you can get yourself Fruits, veggies, nuts, and grains, or if you eat meat also meat. it’s basically food, that we were eating back in a day when we were still hunting and picking berries when you eat whole foods you basically are cleaning your body from all the chemicals from the processed foods What happens is when you eat a lot of processed foods, the chemicals are staying in your body and your body is not able to process the nutrition from the actual food Processed foods make your body more sluggish, tired… You can have a brain fog or a fatigue and it doesn’t help your stamina. It doesn’t help your focus So this is how whole foods are going to help you so much in dance So when you are buying foods that are packaged I would definitely recommend to focus on the words that you cannot even pronounce that are in the ingredients That’s my number one thing. Then one I would also focus on not buying foods that have too long of a list of ingredients Because that’s for sure a no-no. If you take this almond butter, the only thing that you will see in the ingredients is almonds! that’s what you are paying for So alkaline and acidic foods. First I will explain what alkaline and acidic means. So when we are born as a baby our body is born alkaline Which means that our body has pH more than six and a half Our body has on average pH 7.3, but when we grow up and we start to eat foods Such as potatoes, rice, meat, and processed foods, it’s all very acidic foods These acidic foods are taking the pH of our body down diseases cannot really grow in alkaline environments and that’s why our bodies actually have the natural ability to heal itself if our body is alkaline The minute our pH is acidic diseases love to live in acidic environment, so that’s how normal diseases such as cold, flu, inflammation, joint pain, headaches, come in and also more serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and such So it is the day of an amazing battle First thing when I wake up, I would have a really huge glass of water, it’s about 1 litre of water that I would be drinking in the morning after that I would be drinking some celery juice after that I might have some ginger shots because ginger shots are really great for your gut health, lunch, I don’t have until like 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. I would make some bowl that would have: kale, chickpeas mushrooms fermented cabbage avocado, peppers, tomatoes Cucumbers, sesame seeds, and I would make a nice dressing from tahini and miso later that evening I would maybe eat half a watermelon or some cherimoya or some fruits such as mangos and Papaya, and that would be my typical eating day This dance health journey definitely helped me out in the long-term Completely transported my mental state and my physical body to help me in my dance Especially with a lot of traveling with a lot of training It helps me to recover faster. It helps me to focus and it also helps me to feel better and more happy That way I can connect with people better and I would recommend this transformation for everyone. One of the most important things that I think is always to stay curious and always to seek for education. These conscious choices that I’m making in my health go back to my body and to My mental health and physical health to make me a better person, better dancer, and better athlete. So I know this transformation might not happen overnight but stay open minded, stay curious, always educate yourself I’m Jaja, thank you for listening to my TedTalk I hope that this video was helpful for you guys. Thank you guys so much for watching You can find me on Instagram @JajaVankova or my website