Green Lake Gym Rats: Luft Pilates
Continuing our Gym Rat Series, I was recently invited to try Luft, the new Pilates studio in Northeast Green Lake.
Walking into Luft is like experiencing a page out of Dwell magazine. The studio is white and sleek with clean lines. Everything is spotless (which is GREAT for a gym which sometimes can give me the heebie jeebies.)
As soon as you walk in the door, you are greeted by the owner, Viviane who has a iron trap memory of names, faces and what is going on in everyone’s lives (health wise). “How was your hike?” she asks another Pilates student. (More on her here.)
The gym is made up of several different types of machines that, to my untrained Pilates eyes, looked like a mix between a rowing machine and a yoga mat. Turns out those machines are actually pretty slick – popular in other parts of the country, Luft is the only Pilates studio to carry them in the state. The machines use different tensions that can be controlled by varying colored springs. Don’t worry, Vivane will talk you through the whole thing. And while each class is different, here’s five things you should know before you go.
1. Focus on your core. Just about every exercise you do is meant to help your core, and boy will you feel it the next day! But making sure you are focusing on your core will make a huge difference.
2. Resistance is your friend. The beginning of my class my lower back was not my friend. At the end, I stood up and actually felt taller, longer and more stretched out. And while I took some of the moves a bit too fast, making sure to take each movement in a slower, controlled manner will help you get better results.
3. Take it slow and breathe! As a newbie I didn’t know that the pilates “tables” are actually sliding chairs that do just that – slide horizontally. Luft actually means air in German. So moving through each of the motions with your breathe in mind (much like yoga) is the name of the game here.
4. Don’t be intimidated. These classes are geared towards all ages. The class I took (Tone + Stretch) was designed for all levels, but is great for beginners and is designed to improve flexibility and balance. But there are several other classes like Power that is designed to increase overall strength and endurance, Cardio + Core, that elevates the heart rate and challenges endurance and a HIIT class designed to sculpt and strengthens the entire body.
5. Bring/wear non-slip socks. Or buy the fancy ones there. Luft is a socks-required studio, which means socks are warn during all exercises. A quick note about that. After doing yoga for several years and being in multiple other types of foot-friendly gyms/environments I can tell you that having those tootsies hidden in socks makes a huge difference to the olfactory environs. No smell – except for the light fragrance spray that Viviane sprayed right before class. It makes a huge difference in the way you enjoy your workout. The non-slip socks make it a bit easier when you are working on the equipment so your feet don’t slide all over the place.
Luft was a great workout that was new and challenging for me. Highly recommended, especially for people looking to rehab injuries. Plus the other Pilates students help to make this studio a great environment to learn and grow your techniques.
Price ranges between classes and whether the class is private or in a group. Luft offers several buy two, get three deals on classes (group and private).
412 NE 70th St.
For more information, go to: www.theluftmethod.com