Movements Afoot (49 W 27th St between Broadway and Sixth Ave, mezzanine B; 212-904-1399, movementsafoot.com). $20 per class, first class for new clients free; packages available. Length: 1 hour Type of activity: Pilates What to expect: An intense but gentle Pilates workout, which is based around a lot of body-lengthening and core-building poses. The final third of the class makes use of spring grips and balls, and really works your hamstrings, calves and lower abs.
How in shape you need to be: Occasional exerciser
The verdict: This class felt just right for me, even though I’d never done Pilates in my life. What I have done is yoga, running, swimming—basically, if you already have some limberness, and like to feel the burn, then Pilates is a great way to put your muscles to the test in a creative way. Kim’s voice is soothing and her words helpful, and she keeps the poses dynamic so that, even though you’re getting a tough workout, things never get boring. “If it doesn’t feel right, then don’t do it” is her mantra, and though my legs felt at times like they were about to fall off, I kept at it and was amazed to find myself reenergized by the end of the hour-long class.—Alex Schechter
Movements Afoot (49 W 27th St between Sixth Ave and Broadway, mezzanine B; 212-904-1399, movementsafoot.com). $20 per class. Length: 1 hour; Oct 19, Nov 23 at 7pm Type of activity: Eye movements What to expect: This three-part workshop (two dates are left in this session, and you can join at any time) mixes informational discussion with eye exercises that are supposed to improve your vision and help relax your total body. There’s some extremely light stretching, but you don’t even need to change out of your street clothes.
How in shape you need to be: Couch potatoes welcome
The verdict: The word yoga, of course, is a euphemism; we weren’t downward dogging while darting our eyes back and forth (though we did salute the sun and thank the floor). But the concept here turned out to be pretty much the same as with that stretching practice: If you learn to be aware of bad muscle behaviors—like you’d learn to be aware of bad posture—and of when your muscles are tired, then you can perform gentle exercises to strengthen and retrain those muscles. The logic seems sound. Your eyes are controlled by muscles, after all—why not stretch them out too? So yes, we walked around the room a lot and looked at things, moving our peepers this way and that, with and without focus, slowly warming to the idea that these various ways of letting our eyes wander are good for you. Oddly, the exercise we did the most was covering our eyes with our hands, a method that instructor Martha Eddy (who impressively has a doctorate in movement science and education, a field I didn’t know existed) calls “palming.” The darkness purportedly provides healthy rest for overworked eyeballs, especially those that live in a skull that lives in NYC, where there’s never really any pitch blackness. Though I felt silly, the palming and enforced minutes of quiet darkness actually had a slight restorative effect, if not on my eyes then definitely on my overworked brain.—Billie Cohen
TIME OUT SPECIAL OFFER
Through Nov 1, get a package of two group classes, one Pilates equipment group class, two private sessions and an hour-long Pilates Upstart introductory session tailored to your needs, all for $244 (a $305 value). 49 W. 27th St. Mezzanine B (212-904-1399, movementsafoot.com) You must say Time out to get this special package