Fit club: An­i­mal Flow

Sheila Cheah looks be­yond yoga and finds her­self in a stu­dio, im­i­tat­ing an ape

ELLE (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS -

Even if I have to bat­tle crazy af­ter-work traf­fic for it, yoga is non-ne­go­tiable me time. Every Tues­day and Thurs­day evening I’m there, on my mat, breath­ing deep. It’s be­come so em­bed­ded in my rou­tine that I no longer even think of it as part of a fit­ness reg­i­men, so in the last few months I’ve been look­ing into ex­pand­ing my ex­er­cise op­tions and sup­ple­ment­ing yoga with some­thing new.

An­i­mal Flow sounded like the per­fect next step – a form of prac­tice de­vel­oped by Amer­i­can coach Mike Fitch that com­bines yoga-like poses and dy­namic move­ments as you switch be­tween them. Like a cross be­tween yoga and Capoeira, with a ma­jor fo­cus on body­weight train­ing. Most new yoga prac­tices don’t faze me, so I was pretty con­fi­dent when I rocked up at my first An­i­mal Flow ses­sion. Ten min­utes later, when I was crouched on the floor, im­i­tat­ing an ape and feel­ing my shoul­ders trem­ble from the ex­er­tion, I was a lit­tle less sure.

At a be­gin­ner level in An­i­mal Flow you start with the ABCs: Ape, Beast and Crab. With Ape you’re squat­ting with all fours on the ground, mov­ing from side to side. In Beast, you start with your hands, knees and feet on the ground, be­fore lift­ing your knees ever so slightly off the ground. Then there’s Crab, where it looks like you’re just sit­ting on the floor – ex­cept ac­tu­ally you’re lift­ing your butt about an inch off the ground. “Just enough to place a piece of pa­per un­der­neath,” elab­o­rates in­struc­tor Sean help­fully.

Hold each pose for a count of 10 – and then stitch all the moves to­gether to form a flow, which takes an in­cred­i­ble amount of mo­bil­ity and strength. I found this the most chal­leng­ing part; ev­ery­thing is done low on the ground, lift­ing just one limb at a time. As with tra­di­tional yoga, you need to re­ally fo­cus on the dif­fer­ent mus­cles and un­der­stand your own body strength, which makes An­i­mal Flow a great sup­ple­ment to lots of dif­fer­ent work­outs, whether you’re into weightlift­ing, car­dio or stu­dio work. The next day my mus­cles were aching from the un­ac­cus­tomed moves, and I found my­self go­ing over the flows in my head, work­ing out how to make them smoother. I’ll be back, but I’m not look­ing for­ward to the Crab.

An­i­mal Flow. RM30 for one class, RM120 for four classes. Yo­gaby­cat Stu­dio, 8C Jalan PS9, Ta­man Prima Se­layang, Se­lan­gor. 011 1122 6866

Get­ting into the Ape po­si­tion

Mov­ing from Ape into Beast

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