Attending a Les Mills BODYFLOW class is like doing your body and mind a favor.
This yoga-based workout, which combines the best of yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi, is a mind-body one-hour experience, suitable for all fitness levels.
Brought to you by the New Zealand-based creator of many popular international group fitness programs, like BODYPUMP and BODYCOMBAT, BODYFLOW is the perfect active recovery day activity. While the class offers the option to perform challenging balance poses, strength poses and some core work, it’s less of a sweaty workout and more of a moment to thank your body for all that it does for you.
It’s a one-hour yoga-based class done on a mat in a group fitness studio with an instructor in the front of the class, modeling and demonstrating moves choreographed to sync directly with a soothing soundtrack.
What beginners need to know
In BODYFLOW, you’ll move slowly, be asked to focus on your breathing and spend a lot of time stretching. When you show up for your first class, you’ll want to position yourself so that you can see the instructor, as he/she will demonstrate each move throughout class. While the moves do have specific names, you can expect your instructor to talk you through how your body should be positioned and how it should feel. Don’t worry about being flexible, because that will come with time. You can always choose to move into the easiest option for each pose and even take a break in child’s pose if you ever need it. And don’t miss out on the final resting pose at the end of the class – that’s the best part.
What a typical class is like
Each class is about one hour in length consisting of 45 minutes of work, followed by 10 minutes of meditation. There are 13 songs in each BODYFLOW class, and the music takes you along a ride with the movements. Class begins standing with Tai Chi to get you centered, moving on to traditional yoga sun salutations to warm up your body. That’s followed up by some standing poses like warrior two and triangle, standing balance work, exercises to open up the hips on the ground, Pilates core work, leg flexibility and topped off with a final resting savasana pose, in which you lay on your back and close your eyes and reflect on the work you just did.
Here’s the lowdown on the class …
- Standing Tai Chi warm-up
- Yoga sun salutations, standing and in plank
- Yoga standing strength
- Hip openers
- Abdominals and back
- Twists and forward bends
- Savasana (lying meditation for 10 minutes)
Easy squats, shoulder rolls, downward dogs, upward dogs, planks, standing tree pose, one-legged balanced poses, mountain climbers, crunches, standing warrior poses, one-legged balance poses, seated stretching poses, pigeon pose, bridge pose and laying on the back.
In a class like BODYFLOW, you’ll find people of all shapes and sizes. While there is usually a majority of females, there are also men. And most people have different degrees of experience with yoga and flexibility. It’s truly a class for everyone of any fitness level, who can all benefit from the piece of body and piece of mind that can be achieved. Even the most advanced athlete can work on their flexibility and breathing, while a novice exerciser can work on their mobility – all doing variations of the same sequence of moves.
BODYFLOW classes feature a soundtrack that drives the work, and the music is both soulful and inspiring. You’ll often hear popular music remixed to a more mellow tone as well as unique beats that provide a great backdrop for the work.
- Intensity – 4, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being super hard.
- Sweat factor – 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being drenched.
- Impact – None.
- Cardio – No.
- Strength – Yes: a little bit of core, leg and balance training.
- Flexibility – Yes: quite a bit.
- Pace – Nice and slow.
- Equipment – A yoga mat.
- Music – Mellow background tunes, which are inspiring and set the scene.
- Length – 55 minutes.
- Suggested attire – Tight yoga-style clothing that won’t ride up or roll around. Bare feet.
Benefits of BODYFLOW
If you’re wondering if BODYFLOW is right for you. Here’s what you could get out of it:
- Increased core strength
- Stress relief
- Improved posture
- Improved balance
- Relaxed mental state and clarity
- Chance to breathe deeply and unwind
Try these BODYFLOW moves at home
Crescent Lunge with a Twist – an excellent move to open the hips and back
- Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Bring your palms to touch in front of your chest, with elbows out to the sides, parallel to the ground. Breathe deeply, relaxing your shoulders and allowing space to enter your body.
- Take a long step back with your right leg and keep your spine tall, landing lightly on the ball of your back foot and your back knee slightly bent, distributing your bodyweight evenly between your front knee and back leg.
- Keep your torso tall and core engaged as you lower your center of gravity and sink into your hips. Then bend your front knee so that it forms a 90-degree angle and it stays aligned right above your front ankle and heel. Lower your back knee until it hovers above the ground.
- While keeping your hips square to the front and shoulders back and down, gently twist your body to rotate over your front-bended knee. Hold this pose for 20 to 25 seconds breathing deeply, then slowly twist back to center and repeat on the other side.
As an option, you can also do this move with your back knee grounded – in order to get a deeper spinal twist and reduce the balancing challenge. Complete the same move with directions above by keeping your hips square and shoulders down as you gently twist over the front knee.
Swan pose – a beautiful hip-opening and quad stretch
- From a downward-dog position, bring your right knee up and forward, bend it and place it on the ground in a 90-degree angle on its side. With your right knee directly in front of your right hip.
- Keep your front right foot flexed and try to get your shin parallel to the front.
- While keeping your bodyweight centered over your hips and hips square to the front, stretch your left leg back out behind you on the ground, with the top of your foot down on the ground.
- Lift your chest up do your best to maintain a strong core and squaring your shoulders over your hips. Breathe deeply to enjoy the stretch.
- If you want more of a challenge and a stretch for your quadriceps, gently twist your spine to the left, look over your back shoulder and grab your left foot with the left hand. Bend the back knee toward your body and create an active tension between your hand and your foot by kicking your foot into your hand as you guide the foot toward you.
- Hold this post for 20 to 25 seconds, then slowly twist back to the center and release the leg down. Repeat on the other side.