What’s it like to attend Body balance classes

Body balance is one of Les Mills classes adopted by many gyms around the world including the one I attend: Nuffield Health. They release a new flow (for all their classes: Body pump, Body attack, Body balance, RPM etc) every 2 months (I think) and this new release for Body balance was launched close to end of December 2017.
What’s it like to attend Body balance classes
Photo Credit: Photo: https://www.lesmills.com/

WHAT IS BODY BALANCE

I absolutely love Body Balance – release number 79 is perfect. Not too difficult nor too easy, just about right!

It’s a 45 minutes or 1 hour choreographed flow which includes a combination of 3 arts, all performed on music:

Tai chi as the warm-up

Yoga exercises 85% of flow — for strength, balance, hips, hamstrings

Pilates exercises in the middle for core abs and back

The 1 hour class includes 10 minutes meditation and relaxation at the end.


What is it good for?

You might wonder what is this class flow good for. You would be surprised to find out that it:

Tones your muscles

Improves your flexibility and balance in general

Focuses your mind in relation to your body

and reduces stress


HOW IS IT LIKE

I have been attending since beginning of 2018, 3 classes so far, one class per week and I am thinking of extending it to 2 classes per week.

I see this class as being quite similar to contemporary dancing: you perform the 3 arts on music and you don’t feel like you are doing exercises really, you just relax your mind, focus on the movements and go with the flow. I don’t even know when time flies.

The Tai Chi warm up is quite new to me as I haven’t done Tai Chi and I can say it’s a weird combination of relaxing your muscles and following the music (contemporary dancing as I was saying).

And the song we perform the warm-up on is so good. It’s called Line of Sight by ODESZA. Give it a search on Spotify or YouTube. You’ll love it.

I find Body Balance classes motivating, relaxing, focused and a way to release stress and focus on my mind and body only, without any other random thoughts going through my head. And not only I feel more stress-free and focused but I also find it good for muscle toning and flexibility improvements.

The Pilates in the middle (2-3 songs) are the only ones more, let’s say…exercise-focused because Pilates focuses on exercises for your core abs, back and legs. Other than that, its pure Yoga and balance challenge.


Eagle posture

Somewhere in the middle of the flow, you have to challenge yourself in doing the Eagle posture known as Garudasana in Yoga: Garuda = eagle and sana = posture/seat.

Photo: Kennguru – Own work, CC BY 3.0 (straight spine, original Eagle Posture)

I want to talk about this posture a little bit because I find it quite interesting. At first I wasn’t doing it properly at all and I was finding it easy, that’s when I said to myself: “Hang on a sec, something’s not right, it shouldn’t be easy for a person who’s doing it for the first time!”

So the key here is to stay still in one leg (your left leg should cross over your right thigh) and move your upper body slowly towards your knees without falling (although the original position is with a straight spine — see image above) until you reach your knees (as close as possible – see the other image, below).

The real challenge is to keep balance on the one leg, breathing in and out and acknowledging the pose as a dynamic one especially since you need to keep your supporting leg still while your upper body moves slowly.

Photo: popsugar.com (reaching your knees pose)

This pose improves your stability overall while strengthening your legs, ankles and stretching your upper back.

When I do this pose I feel how my back stretches and how my supporting leg is trying to cope with my weight. It really is a balance challenge!


The meditation sequence

The 10 minutes meditation and relaxation is what you need before you get on with the rest of your day OR for closing your day! You relax EVERY muscles in your body and what I love the most is that in those 10 minutes I succeed in emptying my mind, it’s all blank, I am not thinking of what I have to do once the class is over, not worrying about anything, I am switching off!

If you want to try it yourself, the 2 songs to perform the 10 minutes meditation and relaxation are:

Relaxing Nature Sounds (Birds Chirping) – Meditation Music 

and Spirit Of Grace – Stanton Lanier


SOME TIPS AND TRICKS

If you are thinking to attend  Body balance classes here are some tips to bear in mind:

*Listen to your body (that’s what our Body balance teacher always says): if you feel that the move/exercise is too hard, do the simple version of it (the teacher will explain how), don’t force yourself, the aim here is to stay within the comfort zone while, of course, you don’t get too comfortable and not feel a thing (not feeling the stretch etc).

*Do it right! Much more important than doing the exercise faster / quicker is doing it correctly. Even if you’re a bit behind than the rest of the people, as long as you are doing it right, then don’t worry about the others. If you end up going faster but doing the exercise incorrectly it might work against you.

*Relax and go with the flow. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, Body balance is a flow performed on music. If you go with the music (flow), you will have the right pace and movement dynamic. And as important as the body movements is the relaxation: relax your muscles when necessary (when exercises require it) and even more important, relax your mind. Close your eyes when doing some of the exercises – if you feel comfortable with the flow (music and exercise movement) and if you don’t feel the need to watch your teacher all the time.

*Be patient. With these types of exercises and with Body balance class in general, improvements will be seen in a longer period of time. It’s important that you keep consistency.

 


IMPROVEMENTS I FEEL

Real results will come slowly and surely, as I have only been doing 3 classes I can only say that I feel a difference in stress level reduction and clearing my mind, acknowledging my posture and correcting it (will get to an improved posture in time) and enhanced strength  I see no downside to Body balance.

You must acknowledge that it’s not a cardio focused class, nor a calories burner. And in the past few months I realised it’s not always about the calories you burn, it’s more about how you improve your flexibility, fitness (get fit or fitter!), relax your mind.

Here’s a spoiler for you if you haven’t done the Body balance class. Worth watching (and even doing it in your home):


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