Thursday, September 2, 2010

Downward Dog Days in NYC: Putting a new Spin on Yoga

Is my face red ... SPINNING instructor Anthony Musemici says you don't need a long and winding road to get a pretty decent hill, interval, sprint, and endurance training  on a bike.

... now add a bit of yoga to the mix and what do you get? SpinYoga! A perfectly Peaceful Warrior pose at the free  Chelsea Piers "Yoga On the Pier" classes, Aug 2010.
I just completed a 9 hour Spinning Instructor Orientation at New York Sports Clubs.

Now, what is a seasoned cyclist like the Galfromdownunder doing riding a bike that doesn't go anywhere? As one participant confessed in the pre-course stairwell speeches ('cos you get fitter riding the stairs than the elevator): "I was a bit cynical about it all until I tried it."

Ah yes, one winter in NYC where biking through a bunch of snow isn't appealing, and I discovered, thanks to a two-month intro membership at the Equinox gym down the road and some guest passes from the stunning Chelsea Piers across the road, what a really decent workout this genre of indoor fitness gives you. You can raise your heart rate remarkably quickly just by, uh, turning a red knob. Want a 5% hill? Reach down and turn the knob. Want to careen down the other side? Turn it the other way. If the mountain doesn't come to Mohammed ...

Why, you can even DRAFT on a stationary bike. Take a look at SPINNING instructor Anthony Musemici showing you how it's done ...

I enrolled in this course because I hope to teach what one could loosely term "SpinYoga".  I had originally approached the friendly John Boyd, Head of Fitness at Chelsea Piers, to offer the Yoga for Cyclists class I formulated and taught at PACTOUR Arizona Desert Camp. After all, the most used bike highway in the country, the Hudson Guild Bike Path, zips right past the massive Chelsea Piers complex, right?

 He instead mentioned something about "yoga spin" and a lightbulb went on. Much encouraged by him to just "go for it" - because it's wonderful to have the chance to learn new things - I enrolled in the very heavily booked class.

My idea is to teach a 30 mins spinning workout on the bike, then 30 min yoga session. A compact, 1-hour, all-in-one aerobic, flexibility and strength interlude for the stressed out, time-compressed, ADHD city slicker. Perfect for the time ... of which there isn't a lot (You can make more money, you can't make more time).

But what about the third leg in the trinity of fitness - weight and resistance training? I personally believe that yoga poses involving lifting your body weight are ample for the average person just wanting to maintain a kind of functional, all-round fitness - "using it, not losing it." Like Chaturanga (plank/pushup pose) in all its variations, Peacock pose and other arm balances and so forth. And of course, let's not forget shoulder shrugs using a couple of shopping bags with cans of tomatoes, and other exercises I captured in this video of orthopedic surgeon Dr Chris Dangles on Route 66:

Speaking of Route 66, that expedition was of course led by Race Across America legend and PACTOUR founder Lon Haldeman, who I worked with for many years in my capacity as the Bike Friday Customer Evangelist.

And get this ... it turns out the SPINNING empire was founded by a Johnny G, who invented the training regime so he could bone up for ... Race Across America! Read this pretty decent bio of Johnny G here.

Just like a wheel, so many spokes radiating from a common center, all connected in the same circle!

I popped up to investigate the handful of bikes in the Chelsea Rec center where I volunteer teach yoga, where I'll hatch my class ...

John my Galfromdownunder Yoga Facebook page to stay in touch.

Galfromdownunder Yoga Page

This is how you'll feel after: but you can't! You gotta get up and go back to work!