Non-fluffy flexibility-promoting exercise classes in Philadelphia?
August 23, 2012 4:16 PM   Subscribe

Where can I get the body workout without the soul workout - in Philadelphia? I'd like to find an exercise class that focuses on flexibility and reducing tension - without the spiritual stuff usually abundant in yoga classes.

Yes, this is basically the same question as this post, just a different city.

I recently moved to Philly for a somewhat (and increasingly) stressful desk job that I nonetheless really like. The stress is taking a toll on my shoulders and neck especially. I fully recognize that yoga is the answer - but the spiritual aspect of yoga classes is completely unappealing and distracting to me. (I'm glad it works for so many people, but I'm just not one of them.)

Can anyone recommend a non-spiritual exercise class that will focus on reducing tension and increasing flexibility?

Snowflake details: Bonus points if it's in West Philly, but I'll consider going anywhere within the city accessible by public transit. I've heard that bikram yoga might be a good option, but I'm a complete wuss about hot weather...anything above 75 degrees and I'm already uncomfortable.
posted by brackish.line to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Some dance studios have stretching classes. Best way of finding one is probably to just call around, sometimes more specialized things like that tend to go on and off the schedule, so they won't be on their websites necessarily.
posted by yohko at 4:29 PM on August 23, 2012

Best answer: Try pilates -- I found it much more helpful for shoulder & neck pain than yoga and (for the most part, though there are some individual instructors who are more spiritual) much less woo-y than Yoga.
posted by brainmouse at 4:33 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding Pilates, which was specifically designed to help office and factory workers address issues around posture, poor workplace ergonomics, too much sitting and standing still, and all those hazards of modern life. Inspired by yoga and gymnastics.

I hear good things about gyrotonics classes, but haven't done it myself.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:57 PM on August 23, 2012

Best answer: At our gym those classes were advertised as stretching classes. A lot of the stretches were straight from yoga, but NO woo.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:16 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You need to check out Studio 34! It's in the heart of West Philly (45th and Baltimore) and is a lovely community arts and wellness space in addition to being a yoga studio. They have Pilates classes if you want to take that suggestion, but I also think you should give their Forrest yoga classes a chance. Stephen's in particular are excellent (often lots of shoulder work!) and I don't recall him ever saying anything spiritual. Forrest yoga does include some breathing exercises and meditation, but not generally of a woo variety. Mostly it's just a challenging but balanced flexibility workout. The main downside of Forrest for you may be that it's somewhat heated -- nothing like as hot as Bikram, but above normal room temperature.

An extra bonus is that while the classes are very high quality, Studio 34 is as affordable as it gets. Their normal class price is $10, which is already a steal for 90 minute classes. Some classes, though, are $6 or even pay-what-you-can (they just put out a basket at the front desk for people to toss cash into). An awesome option for you right now would be their new student pass: $45 for a month of unlimited classes. If you got that pass, you could try out both Pilates and Forrest and try different teachers to find something that works for you.

I swear I don't work for this studio! I just really think it's one of the best things West Philly has to offer.
posted by ootandaboot at 8:47 PM on August 23, 2012

This is an extremely late answer to your question, but I'd also look at some of the conditioning/stretching classes at the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts. Their class descriptions are here.
The Deep Stretch for Aerialists Class or the Conditioning for Acrobatics & Aerials Straps look promising.
(I have not taken those classes, but I have taken aerial classes there. Hardcore stretching is a requirement in aerial work if you want to avoid injury. Just ask my tweaky right shoulder.)
posted by 8dot3 at 12:14 PM on November 26, 2012

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