Instructor Heidi Malano holds a plank pose.

August 6, 2014

Elizabeth Joyce

Hybrid workout at The Village kicks yoga into high gear

I did not think that when I walked through the doors of The Village fitness center that I was going to have my ass handed to me by a woman in sparkly pink Nikes, but I did. Heidi Malano, the creator of Yoga Kicks at The Village, was all smiles and full of encouragement for the hour-long workout but that didn’t make it any easier.

Heidi Malano
Heidi Malano

I have never done yoga nor I have ever been able to bend over with my knees straight and touch my toes, but I’m not one to let a new and possibly fun workout slip through my fingertips. As the session started, I was quick to give it my all. The intervals are short and intense and even though it might feel like you’re not moving around a lot, you will be covered in sweat.

Malano made sure to incorporate many aspects of yoga with strength intervals and a little bit of kick boxing to keep the heart rate up. There was tons of jumping, kicking and balancing.  There were a couple of times that I had to stop and catch my breath but there were even more times that I had to crane my neck around to figure out how to do the next move. The one that hurt the most was the Goddess squat. She had the class squat nice and low with our toes and knees pointed out for the longest few seconds of my life. My thighs have never burned so much.

I was so relieved to find out that the last few minutes ended with a deep stretch. She then had everyone lay on their backs for about three minutes to relax and rest before they left. As people filed out of the room, she made it a point to tell everyone how well they did and made sure she knew everyone’s name.

Yoga Kicks was designed because Malano says, “there needs to be balance. I wanted to enhance and strengthen the yoga practice.” She believes that the yogi and non-yogi need to bridge the gap to achieve the yin and yang of fitness.

Heidi Malano holds a camel pose.
Heidi Malano holds a camel pose.

As of right now the yoga kicks classes are exclusive to The Village’s Camelback and Gainey locations but Malano hopes that one day she will be able to expand the cross genre workout across the country.

Another one of The Village’s quirky workouts is Aqua Zumba. Mandy Campbell, a fitness director at The Village says, “The water provides resistance and is much kinder to the joints on impact.” An added bonus of this fun combination is that being in the water will keep you from sweating. The Village is noticing a great interest in these cross genre workouts because the class formats are fresh and new. They are able to add in elements that other group classes don’t.

Whether Yoga Kicks or Aqua Zumba is your list of workouts to try, I highly recommend trying them. They are both fresh workouts that work the body and mind in ways that other workouts can’t. Also, word to the wise, never underestimate a fitness trainer in pink shoes.