Elle UK deemed the mind-body connection the biggest workout trend this year. What types of classes are then trending in Johannesburg, Tel Aviv, and online? Some research showed us that, while even the mind-body exercises, such as yoga and pilates, are becoming more workout-based all over the world, the mindful aspects of workout remain as essential. These new workout trends provide some much-needed opportunities to find calm, unwind, and connect in a meaningful way. There is now a suitable yoga class for everyone – from kundalini for the meditation lovers, to SUP Yoga for the paddlers. Also Barre, different types of fun and meditative dance classes, and bouncing are now some of the workout trends people love.
Words: Meri Frig
South-Africans do have plenty of opportunities to practice yoga in the most beautiful environments, such as at a park or on a paddle board surrounded by water and nature. Steven from the Joburg-based Yogaworks told us what is on trend in the yoga world:
“In the yoga world, we currently see a big increase of different styles of yoga, which cater to a growing number of participants in yoga sessions. Where yoga used to be considered more of an eccentric activity, it is now becoming much more mainstream. Many yoga sessions nowadays tend to be shorter (sometimes only 45 or 60 minutes long), and the focus lies much more on the physical postures (asana), than on the other aspects of a complete yoga practice (like breathing techniques or meditation, for example). This is understandable; as recently as just 50 years ago, people used to get much more physical activity in a normal day without computers, smartphones and modern ways of transport. Many people nowadays are sitting for long periods and turn to practices, like yoga, to get their daily movement, and to get back some mobility in their joints after a long day at the office or in the car.
What is even more remarkable and important, however, is that a lot of the ancient principles and techniques in the yoga tradition are still very relevant today and that they can still help us to solve modern problems, like dealing with stress, cultivating focus and awareness, connecting with ourselves and others in a meaningful way. And, in general, discovering what it is like to operate at a greater capacity, both physically and mentally. And even if you go to a yoga session for 'just a good stretch', over time and with regular practice you will still notice big mental benefits besides any physical changes. With today’s greater availability of yoga classes and teachers all over the world, anyone can find a yoga style and teacher that will appeal to them and will challenge them to grow and feel better than they could have ever imagined!”
Trampolining is also credited to have plenty of health benefits for the body and mind: The South African Bounce Inc informs us that bouncing is not only stated as one of the best and most effective exercise according to NASA, but is also a great way to combat depression, anxiety, and stress, and improve mental performance.
Also in Johannesburg, Nia draws from the disciplines of the martial arts, dance arts and healing arts, to educate and empower people to live happier, healthier lives: to embrace and celebrate creativity and diversity in a supportive joyful community.
In Tel Aviv, we turned to Studio Naim, the center for yoga, pilates and dance in the city, to enquire about local workout trends. The studio informed us that “ballet classes are making a comeback, Gaga classes are a great Tel Avivian experience, 5rhythms for people who just want to dance freestyle… Mindfulness meditations and Kundalini Yoga for spiritual seeking. Of course, we follow the US trends with Aerial Yoga\Pilates, boot camp and Barre classes.”
Developed by the Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin – one of the most important choreographers in the world according to New York Times – Gaga is called a movement language. It originated from a belief in the healing and dynamic power of movement. Improving instinctive movement and connecting conscious and unconscious movement, Gaga allows for an experience of freedom and pleasure in a simple way. The movie Mr. Gaga tells the story of the renowned choreographer, who is said to have redefined the language of modern dance.
5rhythms, a movement meditation practice, has found its lovers in all corners of the world: it liberates the inner dancer within anyone. 5rhythms is meditative dance, a soul journey, and is suitable for all ages, fitness levels, and genders. Including five different stages from ‘flowing’ to ‘stillness’, the five rhythms are called states of being, markers on the way back to real self.
Yogaia + Manduka offers yoga, pilates, fitness, and meditation classes online. Robyn from Yogaia told us:
“This time of year, it's all about starting back into our routine after the summer, so trends tend to be a lot more workout based. We have an upcoming challenge starting on the 26th September which is a Brazilian Fitness 21-day challenge to get you feeling great. The challenge incorporates healthy recipes and fitness classes aimed at toning up and embracing your body.
We also have a new lecture series on Yogaia with Pete Cherry every Tuesday evening, which is great for getting a little more depth of knowledge around aspects of the yoga practice and yoga philosophy. We have seen increased interest in Barre classes, as well as abs and toning up for the last of summer!”
Barre, typically combining postures from ballet, yoga, and pilates, is perfect for us wannabe-ballerinas. A line of top models and actresses serving as barre ambassadors, Shape called the ballet-inspired workout ‘the celebrity workout for a killer body’.