I’ve been taking a new workout class at my neighborhood gym that focuses on dynamic stretching and fits one of the five categories of fitness, which is flexibility. It’s an excellent class, taught by two different instructors who take distinctive approaches to how they lead the class.
The first, who we’ll call Susan, focuses on the mind-body connection of the movement. She might say:
“Feel your shoulders stretching and notice how far they
can move upwards, now move them downwards and
feel how your core is engaged.”
The other instructor, who we’ll call Michelle, has more of a cardio focus on the movements, and her instructions will be:
“Keep the movement going as you are raising and lowering your shoulders.
Don’t slow down and make it a continuous movement;
you want to get your heart going and feel your whole body involved.
Susan likes the workout to be about how our bodies work, our range of movement, and how we can incrementally expand it. Michelle wants to make the class full-body, and enjoys pushing us to move for most of the hour.
After class, I sometimes hear people say that they like Michelle’s style more or Susan’s approach better for the reasons I mentioned above, although they may not always recognize the differences. One who didn’t like Susan’s more body-focused approach shared that “she was never going to come back to that class because she always has to say we should pay attention to our body.”
I’m trying to stay out of this controversy. Heaven knows I have enough real things to be upset about in our world. Part of my focus these days is to find fewer ways to aggravate myself and embracing different perspectives and seeing the benefits of all of them seems like an easier path.
What do you think? Easy or Hard?
Most importantly, both instructors finish the class with stretching on the floor, which I turn into a bit of a meditation giving me a chance to add the third area of fitness…relaxation.
© Richard Citrin 2022