Not your average kind of yoga

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Check out all the tribal paint
Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to a blogger yoga class at GymBox Stratford. The class was Buti Yoga and all I knew what that it involved latex body paint that glowed under blacklights.  The official description is 'A movement practice that fuses power yoga, tribal dance and plyometrics into a high-intensity workout that transforms the body, training the core using the Spiral Structure technique.' Sounded good to me! I arrived a few minutes before the class to find a bunch of my blogging friends (Jen, Charlie, Becs, Charlotte, Charlie, Georgina, and Bethan) already painted up and ready to go.  I love these girls because they are always up for new things.

Sara, our instructor, explained 'Buti' meant spirit and the class involved some plyometrics, flow, core work and tribal movements. She was full of energy and had us start warming up on half lotus position.  We were soon doing hip circles, swirling our torsos, and completing plank after plank. There were some deep stretches in downward dog and warrior, followed by core work and then some tribal drumming.

Getting warmed up in lotus position
The soundtrack was superb. I didn't know any of the songs but they fit perfectly to the program design. Some of the movements required a bit of rhythm or at least the boldness to try anything. It was a little strange to be bouncing in and out in a downward dog b fun nonetheless.

The brighter evening wouldn't allow us to fully appreciate the day-glow paint and disco lights until the end of the class.  However the view over the shopping area and Olympic Park was still a treat. I think in the winter time when the nights grow dark early, Buti Yoga would be a fantastic way to workout and get rid of the winter blues.  It was still enjoyable in the twilight though as you could tell by all our smiling faces and sweating bodies at the end of class.

Thanks to GymBox for the invite.  Your Startford location is super close to my new digs, so I am sure I will be back again soon.

Research* says Brits are twice as likely to exercise than go to pub

Friday, June 19, 2015

On the first of every month, I remind my Twitter followers to do a breast self-exam.  In the USA, every time you go to your gynecologist, they do a breast exam for you while here in the UK, I have yet to experience this.  Of course, it is important to check your own boobs too (Not sure what to do? Click here).  On all the other days of the month, I tweet info and tips on how to stay healthy and happy.  It seems only fitting then that I am taking part in the Breast Cancer Care Pink Ribbon Walk on 4th July in London.

There are 5, 10 and 20 mile distances and London is an evening event.  One of my favorite things to do in London is run along the Thames at night as the buildings twinkle in the darkness.  There is a certain calmness too as all the hustle and bustle has gone away, leaving you with the simple joy of this great city.

As I am marathon training, I think I will use the 10 mile route as a training session.  I have no idea how crowded it will be or how long it will take me, but I am sure the sightseeing will be fantastic.  Plus, it is a very worthy cause!

More details of the 10 mile route:

The 10 mile route has the same start and finish as the 5 mile, except where the 5 mile walkers head over Millennium Bridge, the 10 mile walkers remain on the south side of the Thames passing HMS Belfast and City Hall. We’ll cross the river at Tower Bridge and take a tour of the historic and contemporary highlights of the City of London – from the Tower of London, to The Gherkin, and on to the majestic St Paul’s Cathedral. We merge briefly with the 5 mile walkers along the Embankment before breaking away to make our way to Buckingham Palace via Nelson’s Column and The Mall. At Buckingham Palace we merge with the 20 mile walkers and take in Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament before crossing Westminster Bridge and returning to our event village by the Imperial War Museum.

With walking being the most popular forms of exercise in the UK, won't you join me on 4th July in London. If 10 miles doesn't sound right, sign up for the 5 or 20 miles.  Gran your mates and register today so you don't miss out!  Hope to see you there.  Don’t forget to tweet me @PTMollie and @BCCare and use the hashtag #Ribbonwalk to join in with the online conversation.

*The research, which was conducted by ICM Unlimited to mark the launch of Breast Cancer Care’s London at Night Pink Ribbonwalk, surveyed 2,005 British adults and found that two-thirds (65%) of Brits are now exercising on a weekly basis, compared to just a third (34%) who head to the pub.

Simple morning stretches with The Guardian

Monday, June 15, 2015

Photo courtesy of Guardian
I am thrilled to say my fitness knowledge was shared in the Guardian's Do Something magazine over the weekend and is now available online.

Go on and have a read of Simple morning stretches for tight muscles.


Morning dip before work in the center of London

Friday, June 12, 2015

My new office will be in central London.  A few times a month, I have to go in for meetings to make sure plans are correct and we have ordered the correct equipment.  My friend Elle posted about a new pop up swim pond near Kings Cross and I thought I would give it a go.  So Tuesday morning before heading to work, I braved the cool London air for a 20 minute outdoor swim session.

Photo from kingcross.co.uk
Kings Cross Pond Club is run by Fusion. Only 160 people are allowed to swim each day because of the natural filtration of the pond (yes, there are plants growing and a dirt bottom on the shallow end and no, there isn't any chlorine). Each slot lasts 2 hours and depending on the time of day, the price will vary (mine was £3.50).  The website says there are showers and changing rooms but no hair straighteners. You also need to bring a lock or you can buy one for £5.

It was a bit of a trek to get to the pond. There is a huge arrow outside Kings Cross station saying 'pond this way', but that is it. It isn't listed on any of the local attraction maps and the construction meant I had to walk around a park rather than cut through it. There weren't any big signs to the entrance but the viewing platform you couldn't miss. I got there about 7.30am and the staff were really nice. A bunch of swimmers were just leaving which made me feel like I wasn't the only crazy one. I had my swimsuit on under my clothes which worked out well as there are about 8 changing rooms (like you would find at a shop) and the lockers were outside.  I had too much stuff for 1 locker but I was allowed to bring a bag to the pond at my own risk.  

Before entering the pond, you have to shower. And the water isn't warm. I wouldn't say it was ice cold but I wasn't warmed up at all by it.  The pond was no warmer. It took me a few minutes to build up the courage to get in all the way. I think I just waited until my feet lost feeling and then jumped in. The next two people to come in were women in wet suits.  They moaned about the cold too as it slowly seeped in.

There aren't any lanes at the pond and it is a kidney shape.  It is about 25m long but I had trouble going in a relatively straight line. In the end, I tried to stay near the wall as a guide. It is really good open water practice as you need to be aware of who is around you and the shallow end doesn't have a high wall to push off of.  
Natural filtration from www.domusweb.it

A few more ladies turned up.  Some were chatting with each other and others were enjoying a leisurely swim. This early morning time slot was peaceful as there were only 5 people there when I was.  I am sure the cool weather helped this too.

I finished my 1.5 miles and headed out of the pond to shower. The sun was peeking out a bit now but it was by no means as warm as it had been he last few days. I washed my hair outside in my swimsuit, completely aware of all the construction workers and flat windows that could see me.  I then headed into a changing room.  They almost locked me in but I made it out just in time with my wet hair in the end.  My toes were still frozen so I found a bus to take me to work.  It was nice not to have a lingering smell of chlorine on my for the day.

Overall, I really enjoyed my swim. Next time, I think I would choose a warmer day.  It would be a great place for a refreshing dip after work on a warm day.  If you are able to stay for the full 2 hours, it would be worth the higher tariff too.

As an Aquarius, I find being in the water extremely relaxing. I can't wait to make the pond a part of my monthly routine.

Where do you swim? Do you prefer a pool or open water?