It’s been awhile since my first spotlight, so it seemed about time for another. So, let’s talk about BodyFlow™. Fun fact: It’s only called BodyFlow in the United States. If you go anywhere else in the world, or are visiting this blog from anywhere else in the world (hi! welcome!), you’ll see BodyBalance™. So, Flow/Balance – same thing, different names (if memory serves, it’s because there’s another company with a very similar name in the U.S.).
What is BodyFlow™? From Les Mills directly:
Ideal for anyone and everyone, BODYFLOW® is the yoga-based class that will improve your mind, your body and your life.
During BODYFLOW an inspired soundtrack plays as you bend and stretch through a series of simple yoga moves and embrace elements of Tai Chi and Pilates. Breathing control is a part of all the exercises, and instructors will always provide options for those just getting started. You’ll strengthen your entire body and leave the class feeling calm and centered. Happy.
BODYFLOW is available as a either a 55, 45 or 30-minute workout.
I’ve only ever taught the 55-minute format, but the 30-minute format is available On Demand and you can choose a flexibility-focused workout or a strength-focused workout.
I love this workout. I went through Initial Training in BodyFlow just over three years ago. I talked a little bit about that journey a long time ago. Since then, I have fallen more and more with this format. I’ve found strength, courage, and confidence. It can be an intense, sweaty workout or a beautiful, relaxing recovery.
I love the way the mind quiets as soon as tai chi begins. It’s all breath and movement. I love how I begin to warm and wake up during sun salutations (the beauty of teaching regularly at 7am). I know that standing strength will challenge my limits every time and it’s a conscious decision to move myself deeper into warrior. Balance feels like coming home. Every day, every hour is different and sometimes my balance is AWFUL. But it reminds me of years spent at a barre and the challenge that always came when we moved to the center. Plus, when I move straight from balance into hip openers, my inner dancer sings. It’s like coming home to get into those deep stretches.
As we move into the second half of class, we ramp of the energy with some Pilates core work. I love that I can see progress in core. I first encountered bird (crow) in a back track. “How on earth will I ever teach this if I can’t do it?!” How did I? Practice, persistence, and accepting where my body was at the time. And then, patience and slowly leading my class through the set up and options for the longest time. It took time and it was the most awesome feeling to finally get it. I’ve had that experience with so many poses and that’s the beauty of sticking with something, TRYING, TRYING, TRYING AGAIN, and the confidence that comes from knowing you put in the work and it paid off.
We wind down the movement of the class with twists and forward bends & hamstrings. Again, that dancer in me loves the stretching. Hamstring stretches are like candy. I can’t get enough of them. They just feel SO good. And finally, relaxation and meditation. I teach far more often than I take, so I rarely get to give in to the relaxation. I love leading the meditation though. It’s still such a beautiful moment and I enjoy the reminders of how our breath and mindfulness matter, how we must train our minds and thoughts the same way that we train our bodies.
Obviously, all of these elements are excellent cross training for running. The strength built in my legs and core, the release in down dogs, hip openers, hamstrings. The mental focus that will keep me running and moving mile after mile after mile. It’s all good. It’s all necessary. Plus, I have the added benefit of using my slower Flow music to keep my pace down on easy run days and choreography to learn to distract me. 😉
Speaking of, it’s that time of year where choreography overload kicks in for relaunches. 🙂 For those of you out there that haven’t taken BodyFlow/BodyBalance before, now is a GREAT time to start. Sure, you can do it On Demand at home and that’s a good option. But, you could also find a gym that has it and most gyms will have just rolled out or be rolling out the new choreography and music in the next few weeks. It’s way better with people. 🙂 Plus, during relaunches, you get the same music and choreography from every instructor for 2-4 weeks. It gives you time to learn and master the moves.
Alright, wrapping up, a few more words from one of the Co-Program Directors: