Being in the States for Christmas and New Years for the first time in a while meant being able to visit family, friends, teachers and studios I know and love along the Pacific Northwest.
After a very relaxing time in Los Angeles, it was time for an adventure to discover something new. This meant travelling (and dancing) for at least one week along the Pacific Northwest coastline from San Francisco all the way to Vancouver by train or bus. Consider this to be your Mini Dance and Fitness Guide to these prominent and inspiring cities. Enjoy!
Home to San Francisco Ballet, LINES Ballet, Smuin Ballet, ODC Theater, AXIS Dance Company, Tiny Pistol, and many other beautiful dance companies. The Bay Area also contributes heavily to the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® scene.
As my former stomping ground, this visit included a class at Alonzo King LINES Dance Center with ever evolving Erik Wagner and a catch up with my former Gyrotonic Master Trainer, Debra Rose from SF GYROTONIC®.
Before leaving the Bay Area, I was able to squeeze in a Gyrotonic group class with Trainer Mike Luque from The Working Body in Oakland (whom I wrote an article for his blog but never met). Luque’s new space offers a lot of other types of classes too such as boxing, pilates, yoga and personal training.
What Else to Check Out
Gyrotonic & Gyrokinesis Studios
Home to the infinitely cool Northwest Dance Project and BodyVox studios. Unfortunately during my January visit, this city was literally iced over, which made it difficult to get around in a short amount of time.
However the beauty of the Coast Starlight sleeper train from Jack London Square, Oakland satisfied my travel appetite with its stunning views and spacious cabins.
I did, however, briefly speak to Emma Kingston, the Gyrotonic Master Trainer and owner of Center Gyrotonic, to discuss the happenings of a future interview with her about the Gyrotonic Method, dance, fitness, and all of that good stuff.
What Else to Check Out
Dance Teacher and Choreographer
Gyrotonic / Gyrokinesis / Reformer Pilates
This is the quaint (and very rainy) hometown of Pacific Northwest Ballet, Velocity Dance Center, and Cornish College of the Arts. Here, I took a Masterclass with Lavinia Vago from Montreal’s renowned RUBBERBANDance Group.
We moved, danced, and increased our heartbeats continuously for nearly 1.5 hours (in the style of Gaga‘s movement language), then learned some the company’s repertoire. IT WAS AMAZING. Keep an eye on Velocity Dance Centre for future workshops and masterclasses.
What Else to Check Out
Crossed the border for the last stop and lucked out with a sunny day. However, I had an even shorter time to explore the city, so spend the only full day to explore Vancouver by biking the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path, the Seawall at Stanley Park.
28km later, this waterfront-only pathway was very fulfilling. I also got to practice photographing this city’s stunning scenery with my new camera. For skiing enthusiasts, this is your city. Vancouver’s known for their local ski resorts, just 20 mins away, also includes night skiing.
What Else to Check Out
Exercise & Nature
Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain, Mount Seymour
Local Day and Nighttime Ski Slopes
Larger Ski Resort with Hiking Trails
This jam packed trip opened my eyes to the Dance, Fitness and Gyrotonic world. Taking class and understanding the style and vibe of the city was definitely the highlight of the trip. Looking forward to the next adventure.
As a huge advocate of cross-training and challenging myself to never be comfortable with only practicing one dance technique or exercise method, I’ve always loved the many benefits of doing so. Although difficult at times, it doesn’t take long to see and feel the results. This became especially apparent when I began using the Pilates equipment with Classical Pilates instructor, Maria Baez (who is also my client).
1) No one method is the answer to all types of problems.
Kinespirit, based in New York, succinctly explains the differences and similarities between Pilates and Gyrotonic and how both methods can be a part of anyone’s training. Trainers are often aware that individuals have different needs for their bodies, therefore it’s necessary to educate the client about both methods to help in corporate Pilates or Gyrotonic or both into their routine. This goes for therapies such as Physical Therapy and Osteopathy.
2) Cross-refer clients.
Cross-referring clients has proven to be successful in the fitness industry around the world. Kona Pilates, based in Hawaii, found that 80% of their clientele train in both Pilates and Gyrotonic. Reform Pilates, based in Oregon, highly support the practice and benefits of both methods and deems Gyrotonic and ‘the perfect companion’ for their clients.
Lisa Maria Goodwin-Rice, one of the 16 Authorised Specialised Gyrotonic Master Trainers wrote great article on ‘How to Introduce the Gyrotonic Method to Pilates Instructors’. These explanations emphasize that both methods require different teaching methods, both of which are just as important. This is another important asset in giving necessary information along to our clients. It’s also useful for trainers and therapists to swap notes and conversations about their clients so we can help each other deal with their problem areas more efficiently.
4) Offer cross-training deals.
In an interview with Gyrotonic Master trainer / Pilates Instructor, Angela, and Personal Trainer / Gyrotonic Trainer, Mike Luque, they spoke about the ‘Gyrotonic and Pilates cross-over’. Angela mentions that it’s best to try Gyrotonic without a ‘Pilates brain’ and vice versa. It might be best to not even compare the two.
The only way a client can experience something fully is to practice different methods that are being offered within a studio, says Angela. For example, studios, like Kona Pilates, also offer a ‘cross-over’ program where their clients can utilize training in both Pilates and Gyrotonic as both methods heavily compliment each other. This way we can not only improve business but the client’s well-being.
Keep (cross) training!
Here are my absolute favorite fitness and well-being spots here in London (Eastside).
If you’re not seeing their website right now, you won’t understand how it’s killing me with its goodness (and class offers!). This studio has many styles of Yoga and Pilates along with Kettlebell Cardio, GYROKINESIS®, Massage, Teas, Coffees– what more could you ask for?
Be sure to check out: A.) Esther for an amazingly thorough coconut-oiled Deep Tissue Massage and B.) Allison for enriched movement and strengthening with a GYROKINESIS® and/or Pilates class. This studio even has a Disco Ball on the premises and it’s own App.
This York Hall location houses a Thermal Spa for only £25 a pop (£18 for Tower of Hamlets card holder residents). Keep in mind, that the price is inclusive of a good 3 hour time slot. Alongside the commonly known sauna, steam rooms, plunge pool and chilled lounge areas, they offer a three room Turkish Baths (or Hot Rooms). The rooms range from warm, hot to very hot.
In the Turkish Baths you sit or lay on heated marble. This is beneficial for reducing Rheumatism (problems in the muscles, joints and connective tissue). After that, it’s best to follow up with somesteam room action to cleanse the pores and calm the nervous system.
Quaint, simple, and does the trick (in the best possible way). With acquiring only two yoga rooms, this studio really builds a sense of community. It also provides an open kitchen and loads of books to dive into before or after a class and/or a therapy session.
I mainly go here for my Ashtanga practice but there’s a large variety of classes where you can come in for whichever one as you please (no booking required). For the serious yogi? There’s a load of courses and workshops available too.
Fine, I’ve only been once, but perhaps let’s take a moment to realize its epic nature and the benefits of swimming (by clicking on those links). This Aquatics Centre is equipped with gym, swimming, and diving facilities (thanks, Tom Daley!). It’s practically a swimmer’s indoor paradise.
With it’s opening hours from 6AM to 1030PM there’s plenty of time to get a few laps in no matter what your schedule. Swimming lessons and courses are also offered at a very decent rate. So book now (that’s you and me both).
OK, I cheated, but I didn’t want to leave this one out. Located only 15 minutes from Hackney on the Ginger Line, this multi-faceted Yoga, Pilates, GYROTONIC®, Barre and Therapy studio features one of my all-time favorite things in life: the Far Infrared Sauna. This means right after any of your classes, you can hop in for a lovely post-workout treat.
There’s, of course, loads of other wonderful studios, spas, and pools to check out. So, if I were you, I would start by using the Dojo App and clicking on their ‘Get Fit’ category. Fitness on the go? Check.