I am a person who absolutely loves to try to new things. I am always up for the excitement of a fresh adventure. That’s why I immediately said yes when my friend Jaime asked me to join her at a new class. Thinking I would be attending a different kind of spin class, I quickly grabbed my spin shoes and headed out. Well…perhaps I should have given some thought to the name of the place I was going! “Chaise 23” is definitely not a new place to spin. Rather, think Pilates chair (aka “chaise”) meets aerobics on 23rd Street in New York City. Well, needless to say, I am totally hooked. I’ve taken four of their classes…and just purchased a ten pack! Three of the four classes incorporate the Pilates chair plus bungees. Honestly, working my arms with bungees is the very best part. I must admit that my arms are not my most favorite part of my body! And I can’t stand working them because I always end up clenching my neck. And then I go home suffering with a stiff, painful neck. The bungees have provided me with an exactly opposite outcome. We work with bungee cords throughout the entire class—and they help me to painlessly access and exercise many more muscles under my arms.
The most humorous and challenging of the classes is “ballet bungee.” There is no chair; you just move like a ballet dancer with bungees. Nonstop! Um…I thought I was quite fit until I participated in this class. Thank goodness I arrived late to class; I honestly don’t know if I could have made it through the entire session. The cardio workout was positively incredible. I plan to wear my heart rate monitor (a recent birthday gift from friends) next time! These classes are such great fun—very different and much cheaper than regular Pilates classes.
The following weekend we headed out to Eastern Long Island to spend some time with friends. Previously, I had introduced my friends to Soul Cycle; this time they asked me if I was up for something new. So… I joined them at their favorite spin place—Fly Wheel. If you are competitive, need to be pushed or just want to be accountable, spin at Fly Wheel. Men and women are ranked individually by torque (speed and resistance) on a monitor for all to see! This class was definitely not about losing yourself in the movement; rather, it was a breath-stealing race from beginning to end. It definitely made me work harder than I usually do. I earned a 230 torque though I don’t think my performance served as a stress reliever. This class is a totally competitive race to the finish line. And it really gets your heart pumping. I promise that I will be back, but I’ll save it for East End weekends rather than making it part of my weekly movement routine.
Last but not least is my absolute new favorite—paddleboard yoga. Talk about core work, stress relief and chirping birds! Let me explain. For Fathers’ Day Weekend, we headed out to the Tides Inn in Irvington, VA. When my husband said he had signed us up for paddleboard yoga, I was downright excited. I have wanted to try this type of yoga for the past two years. We enthusiastically arrived at the marina—promptly at 10 o’clock Saturday morning—and went looking for our instructor. As I sat by the water watching a father and son come in off their boards, I started to get nervous. I knew swimming was not my strong suit, but even more important, I wondered how I could do yoga in a life jacket? And then I thought: It’s so extremely hot, perhaps falling into the water may be a refreshing outcome! Well, I started off on my board kneeling and practicing my paddling. The paddling was quite easy for me because I can paddle a canoe. After a few minutes, the instructor joined us and told me I could stand. And yes, I could stand up… very easily. My husband, the instructor and I paddled over to a part of the bay that was a bit calmer, set anchor (literally) and then our yoga movements began.
Our instructor was phenomenal; neither one of us fell in. We were both able to end our practice with the wheel pose and then finally rest in shavasana—the corpse pose. While quietly lying there, I just listened to the birds chirping and felt more at ease than I ever have…even after any yoga class. Something about being on the water—just you and your board—getting little splashes of water while the sun beats down on you is absolutely beautiful. My yoga practice was 100% about the practice.
My mind never wandered; I was intent on focusing in my core for balance and, of course, not falling in the water. But it wasn’t fear-based; rather, it made me work from the inside out. If I was sloppy or tried to move without intention, I would fall in. Looking within yourself to find the movement was awe-inspiring and humbling…and very easy to do on this board. After we’d finished and paddled back to the marina, I just let myself enjoy a sheer sense of happiness. I had finally gotten to perform paddleboard yoga and I can’t wait to do it again. I highly recommend that you try it too. By the way, this extraordinary activity was free to overnight guests at the inn.
What are your new favorite moves? Any classes I should try? Where is your favorite place to do yoga?