Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fitness Class Review: Pilates at Kinespirit

I was going to wait until after the marathon to start this feature, but I have the perfect opportunity now, so why wait?

Here it goes: the first Fitness Class Review.

Studio/Gym: Kinespirit ( 40 E 23rd St. NY, NY
Class: Pilates (and Gyrokinesis)
Date: 10/24/09
Teacher: Chantal (and Jen)

Class Description (from the Kinespirit website): Pilates is a training system that uses specially designed spring resistance-based equipment (pictured at right) or specialized mat exercises to develop core and full body strength. The first emphasis is on building a strong, supported, yet supple spine. Gradually the entire body is challenged to connect into this strength, and the whole body becomes more integrated and stronger as a result.

Review: First off when you enter the space, you leave your shoes at the door and can place your belongings in a locker. The space is one large room that runs the length of the building, separated with two cloth hangings that separate the space into three sections. The back is for Pilates and mat classes with the restroom, dressing room and lockers, the middle space is the reception area, and the front space contains the Gyrotonic® towers. Looking at the class schedule, it seems Kinespirit focuses on Gyrotonic® classes as there are several more of them than Pilates classes. However, they do offer one on one classes. The equipment appears to be in good condition and they have several towers, exercise bands, mats, and other complimentary pieces. Chantal and Jen, the co-owners, were inviting, friendly, and answered all our questions. They seem extremely knowledgeable and have a good deal of experience. Kinespirit opened about three years ago and they have a second studio uptown that is solely for the practice of Gyrotonic®.

For full disclosure, I took this class through Step Up Women’s Network. We offered it to our members as a Passport to Health event and Chantal and Jen volunteered their time and talent. We had two classes available – Pilates and Gyrokinesis (the mat based version of Gyrotonic).

Class began promptly as we all took a seat on our mats. Throughout the class we engaged our core, using our ab muscles to slowly raise or lower our upper body or to hold positions. Chantal would direct us to use our exercise band to help with resistance and allow us to lengthen our legs further for a variety of exercises, then she would have us do the same exercise without the band in order to engage more muscles and work harder. Her directions were clear and she demonstrated almost every move. She was conscious of the fact that we were all at different levels of proficiency with Pilates and often provided us with variations of specific moves in order to fit each person. I do so much running and other cardio for my usual workouts, so relate sweating and shortness of breath with a hard workout. This was definitely a change of pace for me. After class my core and legs felt like they had been through a workout but I didn’t quite feel as stretched as I thought I would. Perhaps that comes with classes using the Pilates reformer? I’ll see how I feel tomorrow, but I’m still not sure the workout was as fantastic as I thought it would be. I did learn a few new moves that I will integrate into my regular stretching routine though, and I’m definitely thankful for that. They will strengthen my back, which is an area I want to work on.

I didn’t take the Gyrokinesis class, but I did take a few pictures of it to share with you! I took the class last year to try it out before our first event with Kinespirit. I do remember that my lower back felt more loose and I felt a bit more limber than normal. Again though, this is not a sweat inducing class, so if you’re looking for a good sweat, you’ll need to hit a sauna or steam room after. Two things to note about Gyrotonic® - the movements are flowing and similar to swimming, it includes 360’ movement while Pilates is front and back, and the creator of the practice, Juliu Horvath, is still active and teaching. Unlike yoga and Pilates, Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis is still evolving and expanding as its creator continues to develop the practice.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time at Kinespirit today and the other class members seemed to as well.

On another note, Penn State just beat U of M in the Big House 35 - 10. It's a good day. Now I just have to keep looking for updates on the MSU score! Neither team has put any points on the board yet.

Tomorrow is the start of Marathon week with the Poland Spring Marathon Kick-Off 5 Mile Race! I went to the NYRR office last night after work to pick up my number and t-shirt. The place is buzzing with excitement and overflowing with banners, posters, merchandise. It was great and definitely pumped me up!

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