Revolution in Motion: Balancing Barefoot with Bosu

One Yelp reviewer describes this place as “weird and amazing!” I’d have to agree. Good weird, but definitely different than anything I’ve ever done. For instance, I’ve never played hot potato/catch-it-fast using two soft weighted balls (like these) while balancing on one bare foot atop a slant board. That is until I found myself on the 10th floor of an office building in the Garment District at Revolution in Motion.

slantboard

It was kind of genius. I was thinking fast, using my core, improving my balance, and laughing all at once. We also did all kinds of other challenging and unique movements using physioballs (those giant, inflated, bouncy ones), and Bosu balls (think half of one of those giant inflated balls).

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In the picture above, it looks easy, but that was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. Thankfully, my instructor, Alex, helped me get stable and guided me toward using my core to balance and gain control. Alex was a bastion of calm and strength and smiling encouragement.

Founded by Dr. Edyth Heus, Revolution in Motion (Rev In Mo) is a program of carefully sequenced movements designed to enhance how the nervous and musculoskeletal systems work together. Another cool health and fitness blog describes Rev In Mo as a program that, “empowers you to reach your highest level faster, safer, longer than any method available.” Maybe that’s why the cast of Superman and several Yankees players have trained there.

I definitely felt sharper, more limber and graceful after leaving. I was really surprised by my state of mental clarity actually. It helped me realize the level of scatter-brained fog that I’m usually walking around in. I think it would also be a great alternative to Yoga once or twice a week or a complementary workout for those super-yogis out there if you didn’t want to commit to the system in its entirety.

I did the Power Play class, but next time I head back I’m gonna try the Slip and Slide which looks like a blast. And maybe I’ll be brave enough to try their soon-to-come 5-class Sexual Fitness series.

slipslide

Day 2: Gyrotonics at Living Room SoHo

No, that’s not a medieval4991518713_23f0272b20_z torture bed you see. Nor is it a Steampunk contraption. It’s specialized equipment designed by Juliu Horvath, the founder of the Gyrotonic Method.

I had never heard of this until, on a whim, I signed up for a class called First Time Movers in Gyrotonics at Living Room SoHo through ClassPass. I picked it because it was a convenient time, and it claimed to help lengthen and strengthen, and was good for those who move in other modalities. I figured it might be a nice compliment to all the cycling I’ve been doing lately.

The studio itself was lovely, mostly white and soft with vases of fresh flowers and complimentary chocolate truffles on theliving room coffee table. The teacher was equally warm and graceful, walking us through the basics of the Gyrotonic Method. She adjusted dials, strapped our feet to the contraption of pulleys and weights, and had us move our spines into various C curves in all directions. It felt nice, but I’m not sure what the point was. Granted she had a lot of technical and breath work to talk us through, but she never once explained what the real purpose of each movement was. She did say at one point that we were working our hamstrings or our arms, but I wasn’t sure if I was or not. I’m assuming at a regular rather than intro class, I might get a workout that’s similar to Pilates on the Reformer.

In fact the two methods, Gyrotonics and Pilates were both founded by men who were in search of ways to work the body through either illness or injury. Both, (Gyrotonics more so), feel dance-inspired with fluid movements and particular attention to alignment and posture. For more on the similarities and differences of the two methods, click here. Personally, I’m more partial to Pilates. I took many classes both mat and Reformer when I lived in Argentina, and the Reformer is much less complicated than the Gyrotonics equipment seemed. I also didn’t like that so much of the Gyrotonics class was done in a seated position on the bench. For instance, we started with curving our spines back and forth in the same way you do with Cat and Cow in Yoga, but we were sitting on our bottoms, which I think we all do enough of these days.

It was a beautiful studio though with cubbies and coatracks just outside the door, one bathroom (that had a shower, but I don’t think it’s really ever used), complimentary water and snacks, and a cozy couch to rest on. And just because of those yummy truffles, I may go back to try it out one more time.

living room 2

More than a stretch: Upper West Side Yoga and Wellness

5423423505_6c0504a96a_zAfter my EVF class soreness and then another workout with my cousins at their traditional gym here in my hometown of Tallahassee, FL, I’m longing for a good stretch. I’m hoping to find a yoga studio down here that might match a couple of my experiences at Upper West Side Yoga and Wellness.

I’ve never thought of myself as a yogi. In fact, some of my loved ones claim, “I’ve got ants in my pants.” I’m one of those people who thought yoga was for lightweights. How could I possibly burn enough calories posing like a dog or a cow? In more recent years I’ve taken quite a few yoga classes that have convinced me otherwise, and while I don’t maintain a regular yoga practice, I’m a convert. I’ve been challenged physically and mentally by some of the classes I’ve taken, and if the class is especially good I come out feeling stronger, walking lighter, and perhaps even taller. (I have a good friend who claims she grew two centimeters since she started a regular yoga practice.)

Like anything, not all classes are worth the time, and so much depends on the teacher. Shortly after I had my son I took classes at Yogamaya and loved them. I also took a few classes of Bikram or hot yoga at Bikram Yoga NYC. Warning: do not attempt hot yoga with a hang-over. It’s hard core, and you supposedly burn about 700 calories in a 90 minute session.

But more recently, I tried some classes at Upper West Side Yoga and Wellness. After the first class, I wasn’t super impressed. It was a Level I class, and while the teacher was kind and knowledgable, the class didn’t seem to flow. We got out chairs, moved to the wall and back, and I felt a little confused at times.

yoga-and-wellnessMy friend, who’s a regular there though, convinced me to go back for a class with Stephan, the studio’s co-owner, and now I believe that she might actually have grown those two centimeters. I will definitely be using my 3 alotted ClassPass classes per month here.  My second class was a 75-minute Open Level class, and I even managed to break a sweat. I got what I call the yoga-buzz, that balance of peace and energy that children seem to have, that most adults lost somewhere along the way. My back felt aligned and my hips open, and that’s what I’m looking for right about now in the after-math of burpees and box jumps. I’ll shout out to my Southern peeps and let you know what I find down here. In the meantime, if you need to lighten your mind and body after carrying packages and party-hopping in New York, I’d recommend a class with Stephan or his wife, Ingrid. Here’s what you can expect:

UPPER WEST SIDE YOGA AND WELLNESS

LOCATION: at 75 West 85th Street (just east of Columbus),

Enter a cozy lobby where you can hang your coat, cubby your shoes, and browse the bookshelf. Get there about 5-10 minutes before your scheduled class so you have time to set up your mat (rental for $2), blankets, and blocks, and to stake out your preferred spot. The studio is spacious, but fills up so you have to stagger to stretch your arms. Most classes are 75 minutes and teachers vary the classes to focus on different body areas or intentions. There was the traditional Ohm chanting in each class, but otherwise not much in the way of chanting or readings. There’s an optimal balance of concentration on body, breath, and mind. 5423423515_ca55935d4c_z

PROS

Clean inviting space; warm, professional staff; ideal balance of challenge and safety; teachers walk around to gently to correct poses; attention is paid to body, mind, and breath; focus on strength, flexibility, and endurance.

CONS

Bathrooms are in the studio so you can’t use them if you get there early and the previous class is in session; very small lobby for storing coats and shoes that can get cramped in the winter between classes.

WHAT TO WEAR

Loose, comfy clothes with a good sports bra (for the ladies) underneath. Too loose and baggy could trip you up though (literally). Yoga pants (duh!) and a tank or tee are ideal. PopSugar has some good yoga wadrobe advice here.

MY GOAL

To be able to do headstand!

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