New York and LA-based fitness class SoulCycle claims to work out the soul as well as the heart by incorporating visualisation and mindfulness into classic spin routines on stationary bikes.
SoulCycle already takes place from 14 locations within the U.S., with a London studio set to open in 2014. Now Independent journalist Kaite Welsh asks - will the Brits buy it?
The class consists of normal high-intensity aerobic exercise combined with visualisations, motivational talking and deep breathing exercises.
"We always ride with intention," explains instructor Nicholas Pratley. "Ride for something, a wish, a dream. Ride without intention, you have no power. Ride with intention, everything changes."
The class has developed a large cult following, including U.S. A-listers like Lady Gaga and Chelsea Clinton. Much like its hugely popular Latin predecessor Zumba (Join The Party etc.), SoulCycle branding has proven a massive hit. Kaite says people even buy bright lemon yellow SoulCycle nail polish to showcase their dedication.
One fanatic says she thinks about SoulCycle even when she's not doing it. She encouraged all her friends to sign up too and describes it as a 'way of life' with the sense of community, in-jokes and branded sportswear emblazoned with: 'Athlete. Legend. Warrior. Renegade. Rockstar."
The 'you can be anything' spiel has worked in America for years but will it catch on here in Britain?
After trying a class out for herself, Kaite concludes that if cynical New Yorkers can fall for SoulCycle's promises of spiritual and physical enlightenment, London's trendy crowd won't stand a chance.
Forgetting for a moment the obvious corporate side of most patented fitness classes, the core principals of SoulCycle are nothing to scoff at. High intensity exercise is hugely beneficial for long-term health, while the community side of the class opens up social opportunities and the spiritual emphasis encourages people to think about their movements and focus their minds.
If taking care of body and mind in equal measures appeals to you, head over to our Therapy Topics page and browse alternative therapy options.
View the original Independent article by Kaite Welsh.
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