Meet Yeukai Zinyoro who lovingly goes by Miss Yo. She’s the founder of Little Arrows Dance a program specifically designed for the unique learning needs of children aged two and a half to seven years.
Tell us a little about Little Arrows Dance (what is the inspiration behind it)
- Little Arrows is an educational dance programme that designed to engage the mind, body, emotions and intellect of preschoolers in active learning.
How did you get into fitness?
- First and foremost I am a dancer and have worked in the local, regional and now international dance industry since September 2006. So dance itself keeps me fit. I however, along with my other exploits over my eleven year dance journey, have ventured into various dance fitness my favorite being ZUMBA Fitness. I went into ZUMBA looking to create a second income stream but in training to be a trainer and now teaching classes, I have found ZUMBA to be a great cardio option for me. Definitely better than running. ZUMBA has also been great in training my endurance, as we dance for a full hour only stopping as one song transitions to the next. Thanks to ZUMBA I am able to dance for long periods of time without breaking a sweat!
What are your day to day routines like?
- Depends on the day…on a jogging day, my husband and I get up at 5 am and do a 5 km jog. Other days I’m up between 6:00 and 6:30 am. I have quiet time and start preparing for the day. While I prepare I drink between 800 mls and 1 ltr of water (I drink water first thing in the morning everyday). I teach for Little Arrows from 8:30 am-12 noon and then for Afrikera Dance Theatre Hub 2-3:30 pm. After this I teach a ZUMBA class from 5:30-6:30 pm. I take the time between these classes to either rest or take care of Little Arrows Administration. Depending on the season I would then head off to a rehearsal (for different productions, festivals like H.I.F.A etc.). Rehearsals last between 1 and 3 hours. After this, I head home and crash.
What fitness apps do you use to track your progress?
- I’ve only used one so far which my husband introduced to me…Runtastic. It’s pretty good not only keeping track of overall fitness but during the actual jog it acts as a companion telling you how far you’ve run and in how long. It’s great for setting goals and beating your own time.
What is your favorite book and how has it changed your life.
- Outside of the Bible I don’t do much reading, but he few books I’ve read, I like one called Captivated. It’s a book that talks about the make of a woman, how it is we are wired in our emotions and why we are beautiful and useful the way we are.
What challenges have you faced in your efforts at becoming healthier?
- Keeping up with the boys and comparison. I was pretty big when I started dancing and as such did not fit the vision of what people thought was hip-hop. It wasn’t a thing that hindered at all and I won a number of competitions with the weight so I didn’t really mind, but it was hard being compared to other girls…made me feel ‘less than’. That comparison soon stopped the more competitions I won and it was though the moment I stopped caring, I dropped the weight! Perhaps it was also because we were now more active as a crew as well so I danced the weight off. I suspect that this is why ZUMBA works for me.
What tips would you give to someone wanting to their kids get healthier
- Get them active…and to make it more fun, get active WITH them. With children it’s not about the way they look but really about the health and functionality of their bodies. Dance is an easy and entertaining way to exercise and learn. It’s an all-involving, complete work out for the body, mind and soul and many MANY benefits to a child’s development especially in the early years of life where they are still developing a vocabulary. I can list a couple of direct benefits our kiddies dance programme, Little Arrows offers for children especially preschoolers 18 months – 5 yrs of age:
Direct Benefits of the program for Children
- Counting and Vocabulary Development: As their choreographies are taught in counts (e.g. 4-count or 8-count).
- Movement Opposites: Up and Down, Fast and Slow, Hard and Soft, Sharp and Smooth etc.
- Learning about their bodies, its different parts and what each part can do.
- Memory Recall: grows their ability to capture and retain information (muscle and mind memory)
- Learn to see and pay attention to details
- Learn about the many cultures in the world- by learning the dances that define them.
Social Personal Benefits (Life Skills)
- Self-awareness – Improved awareness of oneself, personal space etc.
- Improved Self Confidence and expression
- Creative perception– students have the opportunity to use what they have to create something new
- Peer Interaction and Team Work
- Discipline – in learning to maintain their assigned positions as they dance and again, the concept of ‘practice makes perfect’ in regular rehearsing
- Reflex sharpening
Technical Benefits (The Art)
- Creative approach to learning
- Knowledge of various dance genres
- Movement skill development and refinement
- Originality in movement
- Appreciation of cultural/social heritage
- Critical and creative, ‘out of the box’ thinking
- Self-discipline and direction
Like what you see? Want to see more? You can follow Miss Yo here: