Books on DVDs on exercise as body-exploration?
July 2, 2008 4:12 PM   Subscribe

Are there any good DVDs or books that teach you exercise as a way of understanding and having fun with your body? I'm looking for a system whose focus is not primarily on losing weight or being healthy but on learning about your body and being able to do cool things with it you couldn't do before (gain better balance, stand on your head, improve your ability to drag furniture even), but that would also incidentally give you an excellent workout. Ideas?
posted by shivohum to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
i don't know where you are, but some major cities now offer circus arts classes where you learn to fly on the trapeze, juggle, etc.
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:32 PM on July 2, 2008

I don't have an answer, but if you are considering making one and doing this as market research, please do! Sounds great.
posted by msalt at 4:35 PM on July 2, 2008

The Stuntwoman's Workout: Get Your Body Ready for Anything purports that one can learn to ¨Increase focus, flexibility, and coordination with exercises that promote total body awareness and overall wellness¨. I have a copy of it, and while having the book on my shelf has not done a lot for my overall fitness, it looks like a good program that would deliver on this. More specifically, there are balance exercises in the book.

You could also get a book or dvd on some sort of activity like rollerblading, kiteboarding, skiing, surfing, or something like that.
posted by yohko at 5:40 PM on July 2, 2008

The circus thing was my first thought. However, you may also want to observe or even try out a few different styles of dance. While it's possible to participate in most kinds of social dance without getting a workout, it's certainly possible to go the other way, too.
posted by rkent at 6:16 PM on July 2, 2008

The intense folks over at Crossfit might be a good place to look. Here's their manifesto, of sorts.
posted by ahhgrr at 6:41 PM on July 2, 2008

Nothing has increased my appreciation and acceptance of my body more than the Mattes stuff at There's a big learning curve though.
posted by zeek321 at 6:51 PM on July 2, 2008

What about Capoeira?
posted by Memo at 7:31 PM on July 2, 2008

Its not exactly "body" related.. but I found Mind Hacks to be an entertaining read.
posted by jmnugent at 12:01 AM on July 3, 2008

The Feldenkrais Method is an educational system designed to teach self-awareness though movement. It is often used by dancers to improve their movement repertoire (I first encountered it during dance training) and though not aerobically focused its certainly exercise the way a lot of dance is. It sounds like it would be a good match for you. Most often its learnt through Feldenkrais teachers, but also has an online store with books, CD's, DVD's and a section devoted to Introductory Materials.
posted by tallus at 3:46 AM on July 3, 2008

I have found rock climbing (indoor) to be an excellent way of getting fit without it necessarily feeling like doing exercise for the sake of exercise.

The pleasures I get from climbing are largely unrelated to fitness:

Problem solving - it's not all about brute strength - one of the best climbers I personally know can barely do a chin-up - knowing where to put your feet and how to twist your body in the right way is key. (obviously there are occassions where brute strengths does help!).

Measureable progression - most climbing walls have graded routes whcih allow you to see your progress - as your skills advance a route that was seemingly impossible becomes possible.

Largely self-taught - I hate being told what to do, and I've found that the best way to learn techniques is to work them out yourself - one technique might suite one person, but be totally innappropriate for another.

Social aspect - it's pretty much a necessity to climb with a partner - having a commitment to do something regularly with someone else makes it easier to keep going.

not sure if this helps at all...
posted by mairuzu at 4:44 AM on July 3, 2008

gain better balance, stand on your head

posted by at 5:12 AM on July 3, 2008

Parkour & free running -- here's one training DVD
posted by LordSludge at 7:21 AM on July 3, 2008

Also, Jiu Jitsu is pretty cool. Not sure if you're looking for a martial art, per se, but it's pretty cool to understand all the weak points of the human body and how to manipulate your own body to attack and/or defend them. Lotsa training DVDs on Amazon.
posted by LordSludge at 7:26 AM on July 3, 2008

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