I Tried Acupuncture for the First Time — And I Can’t Wait to Go Back

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Photo via Facebook.

Growing up, I always had a book in my hand. In middle school, I read “A Mango Shaped Space,” by Wendy Mass, and it quickly became one of my all-time favorites. It was about a girl named Mia who saw shapes and colors for every word and sound she heard. Her senses were basically a jumbled mess. I found it weirdly fascinating! She frequently went to get acupuncture therapy and, although I read it so long ago, I’ll never forget how much she loved it and always looked forward to her next appointment. There are tons of other books and articles about acupuncture out there, but something about this one stuck me.

Since about seventh grade I’ve wanted to try acupuncture myself. But despite rave reviews, the fear of getting needles stabbed into my flesh always held me back from giving it a go. When I heard that Open City Healing Arts was having an Acupuncture Wellness Hour last Tuesday night, I decided what the heck? It’s time to stop being a chicken and try this. For real. Read more »

I Tried It: The Awesome (and Insane) Hot Barre Class at City Fitness

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When I tell you that there was not a minute — not a single minute — during the new hourlong hot barre class at City Fitness’ recently opened Old City location that I was not wishing I would have a full-blown asthma attack just so I would have a legitimate reason to dash out the door (because so hot! And so hard!), I am not exaggerating. That said, after the class, I felt like a warrior princess who’d gone to battle (somewhere very, very warm) and made it out alive. In other words, I felt like a beast. And, in my book, that’s a pretty great review of a fitness class.

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I Tried It: Stiletto Fit Pole Dancing, A Workout in Six-Inch Heels

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I don’t know what I was expecting when I stepped off the trolley in West Philly onto a deserted stretch of Lancaster Avenue on Monday morning, gym bag in hand. But a fuchsia pole dance studio barely a stone’s throw away from a liquor store definitely wasn’t it. I was headed to Stiletto Fit at A Sensual You, a class all about toning your butt, legs and abs, done entirely in sky-high heels. To say I was unprepared is a gross understatement.

From the second I walked in, it was clear that I was completely out of place. In fact, the first words out of my mouth were, “Don’t worry, you can totally laugh at me.” And believe me, these ladies should have. The uniform of choice was booty shorts and strappy platform stilettos that would impress stilt walkers and strippers alike. I had on leggings and heels I bought on sale in high school. To make matters worse, there was only one other student in the class, so there was no hiding in the back. I felt like a walking—no, a stumbling, disaster, and the class hadn’t even begun. Read more »

I Tried It: Aerial Yoga Foundations at Kaya Aerial Yoga

That's me, hanging with Research Editor Malcolm Burnley. Pun completely intended.

That’s me, hanging with Research Editor Malcolm Burnley. Pun completely intended.

Let me just start off by saying that I am petrified of heights. Like, “why-did-you-pick-me-up-two-inches-off-the-ground-put-me-back-right-now” kind of petrified. It’s not that I don’t like being in the air — I was a gymnast as a child and a dancer for most of my life. It’s just that I’ve had a few very jarring experiences while trusting other people to keep me from falling. From my spot allowing me to completely wipe out during my first-ever back handspring, to getting dropped in every trust exercise I’ve ever done, to falling flat on my face in my very brief experience with partner ballet dancing, I’m more than a little traumatized.

Gravity hurts, people. So when it comes to getting airborne, I’m more apt to trust myself to jump, leap, and lift myself up there (and safely back down) than I am another person, and most certainly an aerial yoga hammock. If someone had told me last week that I would be hanging upside down in a giant piece of silk suspended from the ceiling at Kaya Aerial Yoga, I would have laughed in their face. But I did it, and here’s the best part: I never wanted to stop. Read more »

I Tried It: SUP Yoga on the Schuylkill River

SUP Yoga on the Schuylkill

SUP Yoga on the Schuylkill

I don’t like water sports. Not one bit. I developed this distaste circa age five when, during my weekly YMCA swim lesson, we learned how to put our heads underwater without holding our noses. Or rather, the rest of the class learned how to put their heads underwater without holding their noses. I, meanwhile, clung to my nose with my thumb and forefinger like it was the last Starburst on Earth—five-year olds really love Starbursts. Then, after class, I promptly informed my mother I would be taking up gymnastics.

In the nearly 20 years since that swim lesson, my relationship with water really hasn’t come very far. Proof: last summer I posted an Instagram shot of myself jumping off of cliff (it was more like a semi-large rock, but “cliff” sounds better) into the ocean and my friend commented, “Excuse me, are you holding your nose?” I never responded, but the answer was yes.

And sure, I can swim. But I only do so if I absolutely have to. Which is never. So imagine my surprise when I found a water sport that I actually really enjoy doing—a water sport that requires no goggles, no bathing suit and, most importantly, no nose-holding. This magical water sport is known as Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga, or SUP Yoga for short, and last week I took my very first class. Spoiler alert: it was freakin’ awesome.

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I Tried It: Beginner’s Belly Dancing at Studio 1831

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I’ll let you guys in on a little secret: I regularly convince myself that I am totally capable of doing things that I don’t actually know how to do. Sometimes it’s great for conquering fears and pushing my own limits, but other times it sets me up for complete and total failure. Belly dancing, I learned, falls squarely into the second category.

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I Tried It: 3 Fitness Apps for My Apple TV

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My crack-like addiction to Walter White and Jesse Pinkman enticed me to buy an Apple TV earlier this year. But once I blew through all five seasons of Breaking Bad, I wondered, Could I get a decent at-home workout with help from my Apple TV? Turns out, yes—if you know where to look.

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I Tried It: The Great 30-Day Yoga Challenge

Be Well Philly Yoga 30

That’s me—all smiles at Mama’s Wellness Joint // Photograph by Adam Jones

It’s an unseasonably warm Monday evening, and even warmer inside the studio at DIG Yoga in Queen Village. I’m hiding in the back near the door. Sweat drips from my forehead, staining my new Lululemon yoga mat, as I struggle in downward-facing dog. I glance at the girl next to me—she looks totally Zen—and begin contemplating a fast, early exit. This is only day one of my 30-day yoga challenge, and I’m starting to think I’ve made a terrible mistake.

I always assumed I would hate yoga: the snail-like pace, the lack of competitiveness, the hippie-dippy ommmms. But for the sake of New Year’s—fresh starts! Personal challenges!—I decided to give it a fair shake: 30 days of yoga classes, at 30 different studios in the Philadelphia area. If I didn’t like yoga after this experiment, I figured I’d officially be a lost cause.

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