Learning how to Trapeze in NYC

While I spent the last weekend in NYC cramming 12 back-to-back fitness classes in 3 days, I decided to stay an extra day to actually enjoy the city. Which means, planning MORE things to do, because that’s what I do 🙂

I’ve been wanting to try a trapeze class for the past year or so, but unfortunately, there isn’t anything in Ohio that is remotely close to it. I googled “New York City Trapeze Class,” and I found the most amazing place to learn how to trapeze. Outside. Along the Hudson River. On a rooftop. What could possibly be more cooler than that?!

NYC trapeze nina elise

So, I convinced my friend to go with me, and we spent 2 hours on a Monday morning/afternoon learning how to fly. Since I have an irrational fear of heights, I thought this would be a lot scarier than it was. However, as I clipped myself into the rigging & walked up the ladder to jump off the Trapeze platform, I told myself nothing could be more scarier than bungee jumping. Besides, you are strapped in, and if your hands slip while swinging, you fall into a bouncy net. Pretty impossible to get hurt or die!

New york trapeze

Ready to Trapeze!

To start off, we signed in, and the instructor strapped a belt around us with 2 hooks on each side. There was someone on the ground instructing us when to jump, hook our legs, swing, etc… and was also holding onto a chord that would slow us down/catch us from even hitting the net if we did fall! I’m telling you, this was a really great, super safe to practice. The staff was so energizing & so helpful, and I highly recommend going to this location specifically to learn from them! (Mario, Annie, and Travis)

nyc trapeze lessons

After explaining to the group (there was about 10 of us) what to do, we went up for 2 rounds to get the hang of it.

For the 3rd & 4th round, we could add a backflip as a dismount (see the video below!). This as a lot of fun, just like dismounting off bars in gymnastics 🙂

The 5th & 6th round, we were instructed on how to catch someone swinging on another trapeze! This looks WAY more complicated than it was… The timing had to be perfect, but it was so easy because you were queued exactly when to jump and let go! Almost everyone did it right the first time they tried.

Overall, it was a ton of fun, and I recommend everyone to try it! Only $60 for 2 hours, and you get to go up & swing 6 times. (also, don’t forget sunscreen – I got a little burnt that afternoon!) The more you go, the more skills you can learn. There is also an indoor facility in the case that you don’t want to be outside. However, I recommend the rooftop, as the views are amazing!

Have you ever taken a trapeze lesson? What other fun things are there to do in NYC that i missed?

Studio Review: The Class in NYC

After teaching at Lululemon a few weeks ago, the manager there told me to check out “The Class” while I was in NYC. Since I was traveling with 3 other women this time around, it was a little harder to create a schedule to accommodate everyone. However, I managed to squeeze the class in right after our flight landed – 9:30 am.

While I looked up details about what to expect beforehand, the class ended up being something completely different than what I thought (in a good way!).

We arrived at the 5th ave location around 9 am & was greeted by a doorman at the front of the Bandier clothing store. We walked through the store & went upstairs to the studio, where someone was just starting to set up all of the mats.

The class nyc

We dropped our things in a locker & grabbed some water, waiting for the class to start. Then… people started to pour in. By the time class was ready to start, there were well over 60 people squeezed in close to each other.

the class nyc nina elise

The owner/creator of The Class was teaching that day – Taryn Toomey – and I was able to chat with her before & after the workout. She is seriously such an amazing soul!

Again, I just want to mention that I had no idea what to expect. I watched videos online beforehand, but I was thinking this would be more low-key. Nope. This. was. intense. By the end of class, I looked like I had jumped in a lake, and there was a huge pool of sweat on my mat. I am not sure I can articulate in words exactly how the class went, or exactly everything we did – but I can tell you how it made me feel. Free. Open. Loose. Emotional. Fearless. Intense.

There was a mix of yoga, pilates, plyometrics, dancing, shaking, shouting, screaming (yes, some people were screaming), meditation… the perfect mix to let loose & feel empowered.

Class began with Taryn walking around the room, waving sage around to clear energy & set the tone of the class. We were told to close our eyes the entire class… which, I was initially confused, but as class went on, I understood why. This wasn’t just a physical workout – it was a process of going within, forgetting everything around you, facing that heavy shit inside of you, and releasing it in any way that felt right to YOU. We moved our bodies until our muscles gave out on us, then kept moving some more, allowing ourselves to push past what we thought were our limits. We shook our arms, our hands, our bodies, shaking out any energy we were holding onto. All the while, our eyes were closed, and Taryn spoke beautiful, powerful words to push us through the workout and go within.

Class ended with core work, stretching, and meditation. I felt lighter, stronger, and ready for the rest of the day.

the class nyc bandier

Yes, this is my sweat. Yes, this is just from the last 15 minutes of class.

Overall, this was an amazing mind-body experience that allowed me to release any thought of looking dumb and move my body in a way that felt GOOD. Different, but so, so good. It’s like free therapy rolled into an intense, physical workout. The women (and men!) at the class all had something in common – yes, they were all pretty fit, but all came to release something – stress, work, brain chatter, the past… whatever. And that is why this class is so amazing – it provides an environment for people to be themselves, with no judgement. So thank you, Taryn, for creating such an amazing, empowering method for all <3

Tatum toomey the class Nina yoga

Post-workout sweaty selfie w/Taryn Toomey

Summary: Can this pleaaaseee be taught in Ohio?! It’s like therapy & and an intense workout, all in one. I would go to The Class a few times a month just to let loose & let off stress. It’s now one of my all-time favorite workouts ever! Go try this – it might be a little out there, but trust me – no one is even looking at you the entire class. Basically, a free pass to get weird, and who doesn’t want that?!

Pros: carries Smart water (my fave). Free towels + free mat. Water-refilling station (however, was broken at the 5th ave location when I went). Decent-sized lockers (bring a lock!). Toiletries + hair ties available in bathroom. Post-class, you just rolled your mat up & left it in a pile – everything was cleaned & taken care of for you.

Cons: Only 1 bathroom. Locker area was a bit tight to change/grab your things after class.

Cost: $30 for a 75-minute single class pass

Studio Review: Cyc Fitness Astor in NYC

Even though I only teach yoga, I like to venture out & take other fitness classes. I do a lot of my own cross-training in addition to yoga & running, including HIIT, circuits, & BBG. Any type of intense workout that involved pushing physical limits = my cup of tea.

While scrolling through instagram, I found  Cyc Fitness – a cycling studio in NYC. They feature a lot of their instructors, and lets just say they are all FIT. And I am willing to try any type of workout where the instructor is in shape – because if the instructor/owner is in shape, then they obviously know a thing or 2 about exercise (hence, why I’ve stuck with Melt Hot Yoga & Fitness for the past 2 years!). Also, I’m a sucker for well-curated instagram posts… So, I decided to take a Sunday morning class with Jordan at the Astor location. I was able to sign up on their website ahead of time very easily, and could choose which bike I wanted to ride + the size of weights for your arm workout.

Unfortunately for me, I stayed out a bit too late on Saturday night & only got 1 hour of sleep (It was my birthday! Totally called for :)).(Also – hence the lack of personal pics taken)  Fortunately, the instructor had enough energy to power an entire cruise ship, so I felt absolutely amazing the entire time!

To start off: I got lost. It was pouring rain, and I walked in circles for a solid 10 minutes before realizing I had already walked past the location. (1 hour of sleep will do that to you) So upon arriving, I was soaking wet – which, I didn’t care at that point, because I was going to get sweaty from class anyways. So if you are going to take a Cyc class, just know that the classrooms are located in an actual fitness facility – it’s not like a free-standing studio.

cyc fitness astor

The staff at the front greeted me & pointed me downstairs to the actual Cyc studio – where I checked in with the staff, who were super nice. They gave me a pair of cycling shoes, and I hurried to throw my things in a locker in the locker room. When walking into the room, I was a little confused, as 1) I RARELY take cycling classes, 2) it was dark and I had to ask someone to help me find my bike, and 3) class was already starting and I had no idea what I was doing as a first timer. So, I found my bike, tried to adjust my bike to a height I THINK was correct, then attempt to clip in my shoes. I’m am seriously the biggest blonde when it comes to this stuff – I was worried my shoes were going to come flying loose the entire class because I never heard the “click” that is supposed to sound when you are secured in properly.

With all of the above being said, it wasn’t the best first-timer experience… However, the staff was really nice, and the workout itself was so, so, awesome.. and I’m pretty laid back, so I wasn’t upset about the lack of instruction.

cyc-hells-kitchen

Bikes were lined up in rows, surrounding the instructors bike, which sat on a platform in the front/middle of the room. Lights were dimmed, and there were different colored lights on.The instructor began the workout, and it.was.amazing. As I said before, the instructor had a ton of energy, and the class (including myself) was very loud & responsive! The playlist was awesome, and Jordan did a GREAT job of creating the perfect atmosphere – controlling the playlists, the different lights, and he never.stopped. moving. 

About halfway through class, we did an arm workout with weights that were put on the bike ahead of time. Let’s just say that I’m glad I chose the lower weight… Not sure if it was lack of sleep or the fact that I had fit in 6 workouts in the past 48 hours & my arms were dead, but it.was.hard. Or maybe everyone else there was super strong? Regardless, it was definitely a step up from the arm workout Soul Cycle does – I felt like I was actually building strength (and sweating buckets of water).

At the end, we did sprints, and the lights were dimmed completely, so it was just cycling & pushing yourself as hard as possible in the dark… music blaring… perfect way to end the class. Afterwards, we cooled down with some stretching to finish the workout.

cyc

I returned my shoes in a big bucket near the front desk, and grabbed a towel before heading to the locker rooms. Since the studio is located in the gym, you have full access to showers & all amenities… super bonus!

Summary: If I lived in NYC, or Cyc Fitness opened in Ohio, I would definitely buy a monthly pass. Coming from me, this is unheard of – I’ve never bought a monthly pass anywhere in my life, let alone a cycling studio. The instructor was great, and I felt like I got in a great workout! The price might seem a little high, but with all of the amenities included, it’s not too bad. Also, there are deals for packages/monthly passes, so it ends up being cheaper than you think! So go take a class here – you won’t be disappointed! I’ll be back in NYC in  August, and will definitely head back to Cyc for round 2.

Pros: Nice Staff. Cyc is located within a David Barton Gym – which means, full access to bathroom/showers/lockers/towels/amenities. Filtered water refilling station. Can choose bike you want to ride when signing up for class. Free towel is set on top of bike when you walk in. Lockers for personal items (don’t forget to bring a lock!). Shoe rental included in class cost. Every mile you ride = $ donated to the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation.

Cons: Location a little confusing. No instruction or help to get in/out of bike + location of bike from staff as a first-timer.

Cost: $28 for a 45 minute single class pass (There are better deals when buying multiple classes at a time)

*All pics taken from cycfitness.com/

1/2 Marathon PR in NYC + Thailand & Ibiza

A few things:

St Jude is awesome
Running through Times Square when it’s shutdown is amazing
I PR’ed my half marathon time by 1.5 minutes
I’m pretty sure I’ll be living in NYC in the next year or 2 because I love it so much
Vacations are never vacations for me
I need to learn to wear sun block & not fall asleep on the beach
I’m going to Thailand AND Ibiza in October

This past week has been an absolute whirlwind – so much, in fact, that I barely took any pictures. The race weekend was jam-packed full of running, meeting up with friends, celebrating, and spending time with family. By the time my (delayed) flight got in after midnight on Wednesday, the last thing I wanted to do was work a 12-hour day on Thursday… but, like all my travels, no regrets 🙂

stages-of-sleepiness-20634-1302142060-2

How I felt by the time I got back home

I flew into NYC Friday morning, checked into my hotel, and picked up my packet. I got a good look at the race course – and I’m so glad I did! I had never run in Central Park, but apparently there are a decent amount of hills. I got the rundown on what to expect from others who have run this course before, and it was extremely helpful!

Grey Dog Cafe NYC

Brunch before the Expo: Grey Dog Cafe in Chelsea!

Afterwards, I took a nap before heading out to Sadelle’s – one of my new favorite places for drinks & awesome bread (with truffle honey & Icelandic sea salt – amazing!). I caught up with a friend from my Belize yoga teacher training over dinner and drinks… It never ceases to amaze me the people I stay in touch with from all of my travels!

NYC_Nina Elise

Saturday consisted of sleeping in, then finally meeting the coordinators of the St Jude Charity & the other runners! Everyone was So nice, and I spent about 2 hours chatting with everyone. As a total group, all runners raised ~ $50,000 for St Jude!! That’s 50 Chemo treatments for children with cancer! Just absolutely amazing.

Afterwards, I went on a coffee date with a new friend, then headed over to Jivamukti Yoga to take a class with another friend I met at the Cuchira Yogance workshop I took back in December. She convinced me to go to Thailand in September with her… I mean, why not??

Most trips I take aren’t personal – I always take yoga classes or workshops at other studios everywhere I go in order to learn more as a teacher and grow my own practice. I always take a ton of learnings back, and I think Jivamukti is my favorite yoga class I have taken to date! I am planning my next trip to NYC in the next month or so to check out a few other studios – next time I might not come back 😉

united airlines half marathon 2016

Afterwards, I made it back to my hotel and prepped for the race, laying everything out so I could sleep in a little longer in the morning. Fast forward a very sleepless night (who doesn’t get nervous the night before a race??), I hopped on a train and headed to Central Park. Since there were over 20K runners, it was a bit hectic… meaning, I was sprinting to my corral at 7:30 before they closed it…. I ended up being fine, but looked like a crazy person. My hands were full of water, gu, my gloves, an extra shirt… I think next time I am going to bring a friend to run this race with me!

The race has been my favorite to-date – central park was a bit hilly, but I ended up running a negative split & PR’ing by 1.5 minutes. It wasn’t my goal time, but considering I missed 2 months of training due to tendinitis & no speed work… I’ll take it!

nina elise nike half marathon

The last half of the course is pretty much downhill/flat once you get out of Central Park, and running through Times Square was unreal! It’s the only other time it’s closed off besides New Years, so it’s a treat to run through the streets. I wanted to take pictures/run with my go pro, but also didn’t want to slow myself down any more… hence the lack of pictures.

Nina Elise Run

Once I finished the race, I couldn’t believe how organized NYRR was… I immediately had a blanket & my medal handed to me, and was then directed to go pick up a bag full of post-race hydration & snacks. I was on the train back to my hotel within 20 minutes of crossing the finish line!

united-airlines-half-2016

My body was hurting, so I took a shower and headed to a water spa for the day. I ended up spending the most time in the nap room after sitting in the saunas… much needed! Afterwards, I stopped to grab some food before my massage:

Le Pain

Avocado Toast + Lemon, Ginger & Honey Tea

Yep, I’ll probably move to the city just for the food.

After my massage, I showered & went out with a friend for dinner & drinks. I’ve been wanting to go to Black Tap – I follow their instagram, and the milkshakes look Unreal. The burger was really good, but my stomach was not ready for that milkshake (the amount of gu’s consumed during my race always makes me not want to eat for a week straight). It was sooo sweet & peanut-buttery! But look at it. It looks so.so.good.

Black Tap NYC

Following dinner with more drinks, we ended up not crashing until 2 or 3…or maybe later… drinking celebratory drinks after finishing a half marathon is totally necessary, so no regrets.

4:30 am rolls around, and my airport shuttle was waiting to take me to JFK… family was waiting for me in Florida! 4 hours later, and I’m hanging out with my cousins… ok, I was napping off a hangover, but AFTER I hung out with my cousins!! It was actually too cold & windy to go to the beach, so we stayed in, and my cousin’s fiance cooked us smoked wings on the grill. So.So.Good.

Candy Cigarettes

On the 2nd & 3rd day, we were burnt to a crisp (blisters on my ear :(), but it was so relaxing and nice to not have to worry about work!

Florida Nina Elisa

Pre-Sunburn

Alas, all good things must come to an end. Wednesday night, I boarded my (delayed) flight back to Ohio , arriving home around 12:30 am. Note: The entire right side of my body was completely red & sun burnt – I looked like 2-face from batman. Seriously, not a comfortable flight back.

So what’s next for running? Resting up the next few weeks, then training for another half… I am determined to get under 1:50! Any suggestions on great courses? I will definitely be running this half again next year – and seriously recommend anyone who likes to run to do it! It actually went by really quickly, but it was so well organized, and the actual course basically sets you up to PR/negative split.

Upcoming travels: NYC in a month. San Francisco in June (TBD-my bank account kind of hates me right now). Thailand & Ibiza in September/October.

Yep, Thailand AND Ibiza! Flights are booked to Thailand and from Ibiza… All I need to do is buy my connecting flight from Thailand to Ibiza! So Yoga retreat with a friend, taught by 2 famous yogi’s for 1 week in Thailand, then jetting off to Ibiza the week after with a few of my favorite people! More yoga, relaxing, and dancing. I’ll be gone for almost a month! More to come on this…. 🙂

So what’s everyone else up to? Travel plans? Has anyone ever been to Thailand or Ibiza? Tips on running a sub- 1:50 half marathon? Best half marathons to run?

Yoga Teacher Training Recap: Pranayama & Chakras + Handstands & NYC!

Time. It seems that there is never enough of it nowadays – between traveling, adjusting to a new job schedule, yoga teacher training, workshops.. I am struggling to find time to get my runs in, create my yoga classes, practice guitar, see friends/family, volunteer, get in my own yoga practice, etc…

BUT – I love it all! And this past weekend, I completed class 5 of 6 for my 200 hour Yoga teacher training… which means there is only1 more class until I have my 200 hour certification in my hands! All of this studying, hours of reading, weekend workshops – all adding up to my end goal! Another item to check off the bucket list for this year 🙂

Below is a recap of the 5th weekend of training!

Module 5: Take Students to their Edge and Help them Find Their Greatness (10 hours)

  • 8-9:20 am: heated yoga class
  • learned about Pranayama & different types of yogic breathing (lions breath, ujjayi, baya/antara kumbhaka)
  • learned about bandhas
  • learned about Ayurveda & the Doshas
  • paired up & taught half a class, getting feedback from another other teacher trainee
  • Coloring/meditation exercise & learned about the different chakras
  • Taught first 15-20 minutes of yoga class at end of day

So, we basically learned a lot of stuff to integrate into our classes, inspire students + practiced teaching. 10 hours of learning is a LOT to take in at once, even when it is interesting. I loved learning about pranayama, as breath is the one thing I need to learn to be more comfortable with when teaching my classes. I don’t really consider myself super yogi-ey…. meaning, I am not sure if I buy into all the chakra/medicine stuff – which is totally fine. My classes are more of a workout, with a focus on body awareness and prepping for advanced poses like inversions. However, I am still learning, and whatever I find interesting I will always add to my classes. I always want my students to have the best experience – they do all of the work, I cannot even take any credit for their greatness – but, I want to teach in a way that people understand & get them to think a little deeper. So always evolving, growing, and having fun at the same time 🙂

yoga

And a few quick updates –

  • Putting on a workshop as part of my training – basically the “rough draft”, where I will be getting evaluated. It is this Friday – called “Journey to Handstand” – and I will be teaching the basics and foundation to work up to handstands! I have an outline and have practiced on a few friends, so I think I am ready.. still nervous, but ready!

Nina Elise Yoga HAndstand

  • Next trip: NYC!!! I found out Tamara Levinson-Campos was coming to NY for a workshop in December, and I have been dying to take a class from her! She is amazingly crazy and awesome and fun – check her out here! I’ll be visiting a few friends while there (yoga class + Sunday brunch = best combination ever) and exploring the city a bit for 3 days.

So with that all being said… what are your thoughts on what makes a yoga class so special or great? Would you take a workshop on how to handstand? And for everyone in NYC – any recommendations on where to go, what to do? Or even better – I’d love to meet up while I am in town! 

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