Living in the Land of Cinema and Soul Cycle

Los Angeles is a beautiful place filled with beautiful people. With Los Angeles being the epicenter of entertainment for film and TV, I could throw a quarter in the air around here and it’s pretty likely that an actor will catch it on its way down. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I’m all for people pursuing their dreams. However, in the pursuit of that dream, there is an unspoken rule (although a bit outdated) that you have to stay camera ready.

I don’t think we’ll ever outgrow the idea that the camera adds 10 pounds so inherently, Los Angeles is a bit health crazy. It’s like it’s in the air the competitive streak to look better than your neighbor. Every day there seems to be a new fitness trend or class presented in the hopes of spicing up a workout routine. I mean first we had yoga, then we had hot yoga. Now there is something called goat yoga, which is exactly what you think it is.

There can be intense pressure to keep up with the trends. It causes a lot of room for doubt because you can’t help but wonder, is the routine I have enough? Should I jump on these bandwagon classes and health crazes?

I tried it.

If I’m honest, I have to tell you, I loved it. I didn’t try soul cycle, because that seems just a bit too intense for my taste, but I took Gyrotonic sessions with an instructor 3x a week for 6 months.

Gyrotonics is a training method based on principles of yoga, dance, tai chi, and swimming. There’s an emphasis on rotation and spiraling movement that doesn’t have an endpoint. You use handles and pulleys to enable sweeping, arcing movements, and there’s a fluidity to it. Regular Gyrotonic practice also builds core strength, balance, coordination, and agility. I loved the mind/body aspect that you get from something like yoga but its rooted in natural body movement. Most other training programs strengthen on an axis while Gyro strengthens all planes of the body for natural movement.

I was skeptical in the first session because by the end of it I felt like I hadn’t really done much “work”. I had gotten so used to the idea that I had to feel overworked to feel like I was making any progress. By session three, I was dead wrong.

A big key to success in any training program is that there has to be a mind/body connection. If I know how my body should move objectively, but I’m not training my brain to reconcile the objective idea with real-life practice, I’ll be fighting a losing battle. The pulleys and weights made that transition way easier than I thought possible. I could use the pulleys to assist in sit-ups until my body felt comfortable and strong enough to do the work without the help. The emphasis on rolling movement was a godsend on my joints and stiff muscles. I was getting so healthy, yet I wasn’t killing myself trying. I felt better than I ever had, and my body felt like it belonged to me again. I wouldn’t change that for the world.

I do sometimes wish that people were a bit kinder to themselves as a whole. It is such a slippery slope to fall down when you’re chasing an ideal beauty standard. We have to throw what is considered “standard” out the window. Health and fitness are such subjective topics that the goals and epitome of beauty rest on the individual. Bodies are ever changing; expanding and shrinking with any little change. We must find comfort in our shifting form.

In truth, try what makes you curious and integrate what works for you. For all my criticisms of the health craze here in LA, sometimes the hype is definitely worth it. I still don’t trust goat yoga though so there’s that.

Until next time readers…

- Bianca A.

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