No Lights No Lycra: Dance like nobody’s watching
No Lights No Lycra is a 'dance community' that focuses on giving its members a safe space for self-expression without the pressure of being observed.
“It is an alternative workout for multiple use-cases: people who don't like or cannot perform traditional workouts, or people who want to dance but are too self-conscious, a meditative environment where the dancer can become one with the music and themselves.
Safety is always a challenge considering the nature of the activity, but we take adequate measures to ensure the safety of the participants,” says Yooti Bhansali of No Lights No Lycra Bombay. “Whether we have two people in the room or 20, everyone leaves with a smile on their face,” says Bhansali, who has been holding NLNL classes in Mumbai at the Cuckoo Club.
Watsu: Go with the flow to heal
A passive form of aquatic therapy that supports and gently moves a person through warm water in graceful movements works wonderfully, for water lovers, and hydrophobic, swimmers and non-swimmers alike, helping them unlock, unclog and unwind on many levels – mental, physical and emotional.
A Watsu session is performed one-on-one in a pool of chest-deep warm water, 35 degrees Centigrade, and can be anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, and its duration can be reduced or extended depending on the receiver's requirement. Watsu is used by physiotherapists to aid healing and repairing of bones and muscles, and also by psychologists to overcome fear and phobias.
“On the ground, we are all the time fighting against gravity. When you are floating in warm water, you are not fighting gravity; it gives you an opportunity to release all that is bottled up, and emerge lighter and happier.
There are a lot of movements that help your spine and muscles relax. It is much like meditation that calms your mind and body, and stillness has a soothing impact,” says Pooja Gautam, Mumbai-based Watsu practitioner provider, and takes classes at many places across the city.
Pole fitness: Taking pole position
There are different branches of pole workouts: pole dance (uses high heels, props, dance moves and is a more sensual aspect of the pole), pole fitness (pole is used as a fitness tool to achieve strength and skill) and pole art (acrobatics, inversions and combination movements on the pole).
Pole fitness utilises completely different muscle groups as compared to the regular forms of fitness. It is a challenging form of workout for the body as the gravitational pull is different when one is upside down or leaning sideways.
“Pole Fitness helps you build your core strength. It makes you strong and also helps you fight mental inhibitions and depression by developing a much-focused state of mind and emotional stability. There are people from diverse backgrounds who come to my school, Pole Star.
There are cancer survivors, the women who are heavy on weight, transgender and even men who come to learn pole fitness. It helps you bring out the feminine in you,” says Mumbai-based Smilie Suri on pole fitness.
Water Yoga (Woga): Let water do its magic
Based on Hatha Yoga asanas and stretches in warm water, asanas are done in standing position, on the wall, in a floating position, and underwater. Pranayama and meditation are also a big part of Woga.
As there is a decrease in gravity when one is in water, it allows you greater ease of movement, unblocks and lengthens muscles, and helps deeper relaxation. It helps in preventing stress, insomnia and anxiety. You do not need to know how to swim.
No previous experience of Yoga is needed either. As Pooja Gautam, certified Water Yoga instructor, says, “There’s little to no impact on joints, especially knees, hips and ankles, Woga improves balance, allows for joint access, muscle lengthening and organ toning, increases the range of motion.
There’s greater awareness of how to improve breathing and correct erroneous breathing patterns, quietens the mind and soothes the nervous system, releases tension and stress and is a fabulous medium for therapeutic or meditative practice.” She takes classes at Malad, Kandivali, Andheri East and Borivali.
AcroYoga: The right blend of three practises
AcroYoga blends the wisdom of yoga, the dynamic power of acrobatics, and the loving kindness of healing arts. It’s a partnership practice that involves one person acting as a base, who keeps in contact with the ground to support the flyer, who is lifted into various poses that stretch and strengthen the entire body.
Usually, the base lies on the ground and uses his or her legs to support the flyer. More advanced positions require the base to stand up and support the flyer using the arms.
“The practice of AcroYoga can mould the overall personality of the participant by improving mental, physical and spiritual aspects. Its athleticism, discipline, and concentration improve one’s personality, confidence, trust, and kindness. It also helps to lose weight, and the Thai massage makes the skin glow.
Overall, AcroYoga promotes mental and physical health and a positive attitude towards life,” says Mumbai-based only certified AcroYoga teacher and practitioner Pradeep Mehta, who takes classes in Girgaon.