Unless it’s one of those very enjoyable (but few and far between) Zen days, folks who don’t consider themselves yogis can only cycle through so many chaturangas before their minds start to wander.
For those whose yoga practice is more a quest for defined triceps than enlightenment, a different type of studio that recently opened in YYC might be the answer.
Studio Revolution (313 17th Ave. S.W.) is the first and, so far, the only fitness facility in Calgary to offer SurfSet classes. Made famous on the NBC reality series, The Shark Tank, SurfSet are surfboard simulators designed specifically for indoor exercise. And though at first glance you may wonder how much of a workout you can get without the resistance of the ocean, these workouts are no joke.
A surf enthusiast most of her adult life, Mallory Chapman, Studio Revolution’s owner, was overjoyed when a friend introduced her to the new fitness concept. She wanted to leave her justice system career behind to focus more on her personal training business, and offer the city something unique, rather than competing with the saturated spin, barre and traditional yoga studios.
Even though Calgary doesn’t offer the opportunity to hang 10 in the water, thanks to Chapman’s immediate fondness for the SurfSet style, Calgarians can now work toward the ripped surfer physiques without the cost of getting to a coast.
While Studio Revolution offers six different styles of classes involving the boards, all of various intensities, it’s the Surf Salutations format that has captured my interest the most. After attending a few of the High Intensity Interval Training classes earlier in the week, I thought to myself, “all right, a little board-based yoga will be no sweat.”
In reality, there was quite a lot of sweat. Much more than any standard yoga class I have attended – enough to leave my board a slippery mess. Even more enjoyable than the caloric and muscle burn, though, was that I was so busy trying my hardest to stay afloat, so to speak, that I never found myself wondering how much longer I was going to have to keep it up.
Before I knew it, we were laying back for our final shavasana (also known as corpse pose where you lie on your back and thank your favourite deity that class is over).
In the surf class, it feels like you are floating on a sea of softly rippling waves.
“A lot of newcomers will use surf salutations as their first class, as it’s slower paced, but still very challenging. This allows people to adjust to the wobbliness of the boards, yet still get a killer workout,” Chapman says.
“You are working your (mindbody connection), it’s low-impact on the joints, great core conditioning, excellent balance and flexibility training and lastly, and one of the most important factors, is actually allowing yourself to slow the mind down and take time to meditate.”
Surf Salutation classes are offered eight times a week at Studio Revolution. Chapman says they see quite a cross-section of people, from first time yogis to experts in the discipline.
Chapman herself is not a certified yoga instructor, but comes from a personal training background. “I come from the approach of giving an amazing surfinspired practice with a lot of core work and yoga poses infused throughout,” she says.
Her classes are in contrast to those led by the studio’s resident yogis, Marianne Elliott and Kyla Butchko, who teach more of a vinyasa, hatha or power flow yoga with surf-inspired movements mixed in.
Regardless of who’s leading the salutations, there’s no chance of boredom when practising your postures on a SurfSet board.