April 27, 2009

Letting the Kinespirit Move Me

Tonight, I used another of the free gym passes that Melissa gave us at the NYC Blogger Meet-Up. This time, I got to sample the Cardio Gyrokinesis class at Kinespirit.

I walked into the studio near Madison Square Park not really knowing what to expect, aside from what I'd read on their website and on Melissa's blog. I was a little nervous, actually, because if you look on the Kinespirit website, you're confronted with photos of all manner of towers and equipment with pulleys and benches...I'm sure I'm not the first to think that all of it rather resembled a torture chamber.

I need not have feared because I was immediately at ease when Christine, who would be my instructor for the evening, greeted me with a handshake. Turned out no one else had signed up for the class, so I was to have a private session with her! SCORE. And in real life, the studio looked much more like a physical therapy clinic rather than a torture chamber. It was very quiet; no music or any noise except for the voices of the various instructors with their private clients scattered across the studio.

We began seated on stools, doing a series of arches and contractions through the spine, which actually feels great after eight hours of working at a desk. We did some twists as well as movements through the arms, swinging back and forth and pulling from the upper back. Christine used her breath to keep me with her, and that served a dual purpose of reminding me to synchronize my breaths with the movements. I often forget to be mindful of that, so I appreciated that element of the instruction.

Eventually, these same moves brought us to our feet, and we moved the stools out of the way for a lunge series, which was definitely the cardio part of the class. It's all so fluid that you don't feel the stress on your body, though you know you're working hard from the profuse sweat. :)

Finally, we did some mat work on the floor. All the while I was really conscious of my spine and my core, because Christine would tell me to initiate movements from the heart, as opposed to the chest or shoulders or back. That bit of instruction really worked because it brought the correct movements from my body without over-arching or straining my back. I felt really lifted from the base of my spine clear through the top of my head.

Before I knew it, the hour was up! I felt very floaty and light on my feet, yet very centered and strong. It was a great sensation, and the perfect way to end the day. I had to ask Christine whether what we had just done would be considered pilates, or based on pilates (I know precious little about pilates!), and the answer was no - this was gyrokinesis, which had us moving a lot more through our upper bodies and making swinging movements than pilates might have, with its emphasis on the body's "powerhouse." In my limited experience with pilates, I found it far more grounded than gyrokinesis.

That said, both forms of exercise emphasize long, lean muscles and employ the graceful, fluid movements characteristic of ballet. Quite the contrast from my experience at Physique 57! That's not to imply that I liked one so much better than the other; I simply put these two classes in very different categories. Both "gyms" would get you a toned body, though the intensity of the classes at Physique 57 might produce dramatic changes quicker.

I'm really glad I got to try Kinespirit because I loved the intimate atmosphere. I've never been a gym rat, so to be in an environment where I could count the number of people in the room on one hand (including instructors!) suited me just fine. And of course, I'm not going to complain about a free private session.

Will I be sore after this class? Good question - ask me again in about two days. :)


Anonymous said...

Great review! Now I can't wait to try Kinespirit. Maybe in a couple weeks... I am excited!

Dori said...

No that was me, I am, not anonymous!

Missy said...

Sounds great! So cool that you got a private session. I think I lost my pass :(

Michelle @ Find Your Balance said...

Oh neat! I want to join a gym that has different classes like that. Love my yoga but always good to try something new.

Anonymous said...

i felt the same way about kinespirit -- such a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere! and a gentle style of exercise that made my body happy :-)