Whilst there are some awe inspiring women who can go from deadlift to downward dog without breaking a sweat in their lululemons, for most of us I would say that we are either a ‘sweat’ or a ‘stretch’. I am your typical ‘sweat’. I can lift with the best of them at Body Pump and I don’t really dawdle when I run, but my favourite yoga position is without a doubt corpse. That being said, I also quite like savasana – the lying down bit at the end of a yoga class. I will occasionally try my hand at a yoga or pilates class in the desperate hope that I have somehow become Gwyneth Paltrow since my last failed attempt at shoulder bridge, but these attempts are normally futile. I’m not a natural yogini, but the real reason for my failure is I just don’t try hard enough. Instead of trying again next week and really giving it my all, I throw in the towel in favour of something I can be good at with less effort.
However, despite my lack of effort I still love the idea of a yoga bum and sense of balance. Not to mention that after a yoga class the girls look nothing short of totally bitching, whilst after a six mile run the only thing close to bitching about my appearance is that I probably do look a bit of a dog. This is why I took a lot of interest when a poster for Nova appeared in my gym. Touted as a dynamic fusion of Yoga and Pilates for “anybody who’s ever fancied Yoga or Pilates, but has been put off by the perceived mysterious or spiritual aspects of them”. The fact that they had a pug on the poster sealed the deal. I had to give this a try.
Nova is a 45 minute class done roughly half on mats and half standing. There’s a faster pace than the average yoga or pilates class and an upbeat soundtrack that is in tune with the modern take on the practice. The elements of yoga and pilates are made more dynamic by greater strength work and higher reps than a normal class would focus on. I wouldn’t necessarily make it my main form of working out as there is a touch of aerobics for OAPs about it, but there are definitely some challenging sequences and it’s a great way to break yourself into the movements of yoga and pilates without giving in (collapsing in tree pose). I’d happily include this in my workout schedule as it’s a great change from more strenuous workouts without pushing me out of my comfort zone.
Where: Virgin Active gyms.
Why: A good halfway house for those who don’t have the time or commitment to jump into yoga or pilates at the deep end.
What to wear: Low impact means you don’t have to be strapped in to the point of being flat chested. A top that allows a free range of movement and inbuilt support is ideal and I love this one from the GapFit range.