Friday, January 9, 2009

What is BEAM™?

Happy New Year and I hope yours is off to a great start! This is a perfect time of year to look at the Balance within your life. We have a new class at ProRobics that is a wonderful opportunity to help put your body and mind “in line”. It’s impossible to participate in this workout without being totally aware of what is going on with your body since your feet, or supporting body part, is working on limited space. Reaction to the BEAM™ workout has been spectacular because it brings physical responses that you can’t always anticipate…you have to react immediately.

It is not a gymnastics workout, not a choreographed or complicated routine, not a fast-paced cardio workout.... it is simple, effective, quality movement and exercise at it’s best. Many of us have unknowingly allowed our feet to become lazy and atrophied in many cases from the advancement and technology of athletic shoes and effectiveness of orthodics. How many of the 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles in the foot are you actually challenging in your existing exercise routine? With the BEAM™ barefoot workout you will discover the weaknesses of your feet and ankles, the instability or imbalances in your hips, or your lack of constant core integration and balanced spine. We will challenge your central nervous system, your inner ear, and all your proprioceptive abilities that allow you to know where your body is in space.

The class is typically a combination of standing movement using the length of the beam, along with static balance challenges both of which may incorporate taking your eyes off of your forward focus. Although we are only elevated 2 inches it is most challenging to imagine you are several feet off the floor. This way you make all efforts not to “fall” off. Your brain sends the message to a large army of muscles to keep you upright. You’ll notice it immediately in your feet, ankles and legs especially. This work is followed by creative use of the cushioned beam for body strengthening, toning, and flexibility in all positions. The beauty is as instructors we can incorporate many of the best training techniques we already use in other class formats including methods of pilates, yoga and sports training.

You will see how incorporating a BEAM™ workout into your routine will affect every aspect of your daily life, including your other workouts and sports. Your posture will improve, your reaction to off-balance situations will be more effective; you’ll see you have a more centered approach while doing the sports you love. For me, skiing and tennis were obvious recipients of these benefits. If I suddenly end up on one ski going downhill it’s not as big of a problem as it once was. I can typically get back on center with fast reaction, quick assessment of both body and ground… and continue on both skiis with only a racing heart. In tennis, strokes and serving all come from a deeper place with more awareness as to where my feet are, how I’m using them, and where my body and center of gravity is for the most power and control. Both sports are a constant source of challenge, learning and growth for me.

There isn’t an area of your life that won’t benefit from taking the time to slow down and appreciate the beautiful connection of your entire body from the ground up. Look at the BEAM™ workout as a way to get you focused on yourself on a deeper level. Allow your mind to embrace the successes and rise to the challenges. Notice the things you can do rather than the things you feel you can’t. Who knew a simple Beam could do so much?

B.E.A.M. Balance Engage Align Move

Classes on now, with more to come…
Laurelhurst: Wednesdays 10:45am with Kari and Thursdays Noon with Martha
Queen Anne: Wednesdays 7:45pm with Jana