Get Fit With Yoga, Pilates, Ballet
By Han Sang-hee
Working out is not only good for physical health but also mental. But for those who want to burn fat and still have fun, here are some ideas to keep running with a smile.
Serenity and Health in a Steaming Hot Room
Yoga, which originated in India as a traditional mental and physical discipline, has caught on here with people more aware of the benefits of physical and mental well-being. A diverse range of yoga is offered and Bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga, is one of them.
Hot yoga is basically a series of yoga positions carried out in a heated room, usually maintained at 38 to 40 degrees Celsius, or 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
Designed with 24 to 26 regular positions and two types of breathing exercises, hot yoga affects the whole body, from the heart, lungs and blood circulation, to muscles and even brain activities.
The reason hot yoga is practiced in a steamy hot room is because the heat prevents injuries, facilitates more intense stretching and detoxifies the body with sweat.
Because the workout is carried out in such a special environment, there are a few key bits of advice to keep in mind.
1. The room should be maintained at the
right temperature. If too hot, it will wear you out, while if it is too chilly, students will not be able to feel the full effect of the yoga routines.
2. The positions must be carried out under the proper instruction and supervision. It is important to follow your own pace, not the instructor's or others. Never overdo the positions or you will get injured.
3. It is safer and more effective to do hot yoga with an empty stomach. The breathing techniques and positions may disturb concentration if practiced after eating.
4. Water is essential, as students sweat a lot in the high temperature. Always have a bottle of water nearby and try to drink slowly to prevent filling the stomach.
There are several academies and facilities that offer hot yoga classes including Hot Yoga Korea and W Yoga. For more information, visit www.hotyogakorea.com or www.wyoga.co.kr.
Feel the Power with the Pilates of Celebrities
Pilates is a popular workout among those who want to go to the next level in exercising. Power Pilates will be a challenging yet effective attempt.
Developed by celebrity trainer Sebastian Lagree, Power Pilates is now here in Korea, the first in Asia, with Proformer, unique fitness equipment designed by Lagree himself.
The Korea Times went to check out the newly introduced workout and agreed with Lagree's statement, ``if you don't want to have a tighter body, don't take this class!'' The famous trainer worked with numerous Hollywood stars including Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Aniston, Ben Stiller and even Britney Spears.
The class is 40-50 minutes long, and with the help of instructors who have been trained on the strict guidelines made by Lagree, the session started with simple stretching.
The Proformer allows the user to carry out various workouts and positions on the spot with no need for any other equipment. The Proformer did seem a little intimidating at first, with dumbbells, thick seven wired springs that control the intensity and types of the work out and the black solid seats and foot bars, and the trainers who showed no mercy.
The session continued with different positions, including crunches, the catfish and spoon positions, the torso twist, lunges and various stretches.
One of the key features of the program is pushing the body to ``muscle failure.'' Indeed, the session was a bit painful with arms and legs wobbling between different positions, but it was clear that the workout would indeed help in getting a tighter body over the shortest time.
In order to maximize the results, the program is tightly fitted into a short yet arduous 40 minutes and as soon as the session ends, you can feel your muscles tensed and tingly from the workout.
There are plenty of classes that will fit anybody who wants to experience Power Pilates, from private sessions, group classes to even lunch special classes. For more information, visit www.powerpilates.co.kr or call (02) 3789-8871.
Dance Your Way to the Perfect Body
Many think ballet is a beautiful art form, but few may know that ballet is a great way to set your back straight and tighten your muscles, as well as learn a few dance moves.
``When you look at the bodies of celebrities, you can find that they have a very straight posture. They don't crouch, but stand tall and this makes them look healthy and tense in a good way. Ballet can help you get a tighter body,'' Jung Jin-a, a former ballerina and now ballet instructor at the Korea National Ballet Academy told The Korea Times.
For those who think ballet is just too difficult, Jung replies otherwise.
``There are many people who are afraid of ballet, but there is actually nothing to be afraid of,'' she said.
The class starts with basic stretching, like any other exercise. Then come basic ballet positions using the arms, legs and feet.
``There is a certain routine that we go by, so it's not only easy to learn, but also a great way to understand the art of ballet,'' Jung added.
Ballet is good for the body is because it requires the use of muscles in a certain way. Instead of simply stretching the arms and legs in various positions, it is important to do it slowly, imagining you are extending the muscles outward, which even may result in growing a few millimeters.
``Take the classes for about two months and you will find yourself standing taller than before, with a straightened posture and neck, tight muscles in the arms and thighs and also a more slender body line,'' she said.
The academy offers classes for adults and children, twice a week and also on weekends. The classes are held at the ballet rehearsal rooms located in the Opera House, Seoul Arts Center and cost 110,000 won for a month. For more information, visit www.kballet.org or call (02) 587-6199.