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Entries in Kris Fondran (1)

Wednesday
Jun232010

Meditation in Motion…or Yoga on the Go!

By Patricia Glynn

Yoga, the ancient meditative practice, has, in recent years, undergone a countless number of facelifts. You can, for instance, bare all and do it naked. If you like to keep things hot, you can crank up the heat and make it a sweaty affair. Or, if you’d rather play it cool, you can make a splash by doing it in the pool. It can be done to a disco soundtrack. Alternatively, you can bust it out while hip-hop pulsates. It can be done with your dog and with your baby—preferably not at the same time. There’s even a yoga practice designed specifically for those who’ve had an actual facelift or, for that matter, any sort of plastic surgery.

Now, you can even do yoga on roller skates. Yes, that’s right—on wheels!

The latest incarnation, dubbed Mobile Yoga, puts an entirely new spin on a decidedly old workout. Created by Kris Fondran, a Cleveland, Ohio-based fitness instructor who’s certified to teach both yoga and in-line skating, this innovative hybrid marries the “cardiovascular endurance and strengthening benefits of skating with the mindfulness, breathing, relaxation, and flexibility-enhancing benefits of yoga.” Essentially, she remarks, “It kills two birds with one stone.”

Both skating and yoga have, throughout the years, helped the 42-year-old mother of three remain “physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy. The byproducts of a yogic lifestyle, the balance, peace, and, happiness,” she says, motivated her to want to “bring yoga to people who might otherwise never practice. Skating,” she believes, “is an ideal vehicle for introducing yoga to a wider audience. It’s gentle on the body and is really fun. Overall, each activity—together and individually—is empowering and life-changing. And each will challenge stability along with heightening body awareness.”

Fondran first developed the workout after recognizing the complementary attributes of the two disciplines. It was officially launched in April and is sponsored by Rollerblade, the West Lebanon, New Hampshire-based leader in the in-line skate market. “Yoga and skating both call upon balance, rhythm, and fluidity.” Indeed, as she glides across the pavement, gracefully moving through poses, the two modalities—although they may initially appear to be at odds with one another—meld seamlessly. The calming, meditative effects of yoga are, in fact, magnified by the smooth, flowing movements of skating.

Of course, while she’s worked tirelessly to transform her quirky creation into a first-rate workout, she realizes that some will assuredly still fault her approach. Fondran, however, merely dismisses any potential naysayers. She, like the many others who’ve introduced unique elements into their practice, embraces the “whatever brings people to yoga” tactic. “As my study of yoga has grown, so, too, has my definition of what true yoga really is. It goes beyond the mat,” she explains. “The spirit, the breathing, and the elevated consciousness—it’s something to take with us, wherever we go. And skating really facilitates that; it allows for a sort of meditation in motion.”

With several workshops under her wheels, and more planned for the future, including a summer trip to Germany, Fondran is eager to roll out the class to instructors worldwide. Like other fusion classes, the Mobile Yoga workout promises to entice those perhaps formerly hesitant to participate in either activity. Further, it presents a fresh physical and mental challenge to long-time gym aficionados. Fondran hopes the latter group, in particular, will seek it out as a way to overcome any monotony and stagnation they may be encountering. “So many people are bored with conventional offerings. I know I grew weary. Plus, exercisers, when they’re revisiting the same regimen over and over, plateau. This shakes things up. It reintroduces excitement. And, simultaneously, it’s effective.”

Clubs interested in adding the Mobile Yoga workout to their group fitness lineup will find sample poses and a list of upcoming seminars on Fondran’s Website. Ultimately, for best results, she recommends facilities pair a skate instructor with the club’s yoga staff so they might collaborate and thus deliver a safe, well-polished routine.

Would you consider giving this new yoga hybrid a spin? What do you think about fusion classes in general? Please share your thoughts in the “Comments” section below.