We Tried and Tested Cairo’s 6 Top Yoga and Pilates Classes

in #triedandtested/Move/Yoga by

Over the past few years Yoga and Pilates became very popular among many women as a form of physical activity, and it’s a fact that both practices engage the body and the mind. Studios providing only Yoga and Pilates have sprung up throughout Cairo. And in order to keep you in the loop, during this past month, we took a long tour around Cairo and we tried the different types of fitness classes to bring you our honest review of what’s what and how each one is different. We did yoga, we did Pilates, we did Bootybarre, in short we lost a few kilos this month trying and testing all the classes around the city.

If you’ve ever wondered what the difference between the many types of classes, in terms of what they offer, their intensity, or how difficult they are. We saved you the trouble of roaming all over Cairo to find out and brought you everything you need, along with rating each class we’ve attended on a scale from 1 to 10.

Pilates

with Anamari Hu– Osana Wellness 

This was a basic Pilates Mat class. The main goal of the class is to isolate specific muscles and find the optimal way of using them. Mat Pilates with Anamari was a very basic introductory Pilates class. It was all about learning how to do each technique properly and was very slow paced. The number of repetitions in the class is very low, with the focus being mainly on proper execution and working the right muscle rather than doing a big amount of moves. Due to the calm and slow nature of the class, I didn’t work up a sweat but I could feel the muscles working in some moves and relaxing in others. There were some minor yoga incorporation in this workout. It both worked and relaxed the muscles but there was no soreness after.

  •  Sweat: 3
  • Difficulty: 3
  • Fun: 6

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If you’re looking to get in shape and start working out but you aren’t a fan of high intensity workouts, this is definitely the class for you! Pilates is all about working muscles with control, toning your core and working on flexibility.

Find our review of Vinyasa express yoga and Osana Wellness Center here

Aerial Yoga

with Mariam Bakry – The Mala 

Aerial yoga involves performing a series of exercises inspired by yoga, Pilates, calisthenics and aerial acrobatics in a hammock-like apparatus. It is a full body workout; however each class may vary in terms of focus and exercises. Aerial Yoga with Mariam incorporates a lot of strength training and we worked every muscle in the body, from abs to triceps.

  • Sweat: 7
  • Difficulty: 7
  • Fun: 9

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Whoever said yoga was only for relaxing definitely didn’t try air yoga with Mariam. There were a lot of inversions, some rolling back, a lot planks and push-ups. We did start with a warming up yoga series and ended the class lying down in the hammock and then cooling down with a couple of yoga moves. Overall, this class is for people who are looking for an intense yoga class that will definitely work the muscles. The class will definitely make you feel sore afterwards and you’ll leave the class feeling like you definitely worked every part of your body.

Reformer Pilates

with Mona – Reform Pilates

At first the machine looks intimidating and it can be slightly confusing. But when you start and get the hang of it, it becomes a fun workout and you can definitely feel all your muscles working. It takes time to get used to doing things in proper form and shape. We’re used to doing as many crunches as we can as quickly as we can, so the change is a bit challenging to slow down your pace significantly, but you definitely feel your muscles working harder. The Reformer machine, uses springs as well as body weight for resistance while performing the pilates movements. Each group of movements target a specific muscle group in the body and the weight is adjusted accordingly.

  • Sweat: 4
  • Difficulty: 6
  • Fun: 7

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Reformer pilates uses added weights in the form of the springs you see above. It helps you learn pilates moves in the right form and posture, to prepare you to perform them on the mat. While you may not sweat much on the reformer, you will feel all your muscles working especially your core. Most pilates moves use your core to perform the moves. Reformer pilates is always a great way to get back to working out after an injury, as there is very minimal stress on your body and your muscles.

Gentle Vinyasa Yoga

with Farahanaz – On The Mat 

Vinyasa yoga coordinates breath, flow and movement. You use your breathe to ease into the moves, and they’re all very specifically coordinated as you flow from one position to the next. Vinyasa Yoga was not a stroll in the park, it was slightly more challenging than any other form of yoga. The practice itself definitely had my heart racing and challenged balance and coordination.

  • Sweat: 4
  • Difficulty: 8
  • Fun: 6

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The workout was slightly intense, it included headstands, balancing poses and many positions that were a bit challenging to get into. Vinyasa Yoga works on your flexibility, but it takes time, patience and a lot of sore muscles to get used to the cool-looking positions we all see the yogis do. During this workout, I could feel my muscles both aching from the new positions I was putting them in as well as being stretched out. This yoga class left my muscles feeling sore for a couple of days and it’s recommended for anyone who is looking for an intense yoga workout, not something slow-paced and less intense. The practice ended with a very peaceful and relaxing shavasana, where we stayed for 15 minutes followed by an even more relaxing head and neck message that left me in a dream-like state.

BootyBarre

with Heba – Slimnastics 

Think Yoga + Pilates + Dance and you have bootybarre. A fun and energetic fusion workout that works on both strength and flexibility. It was a cardio workout, and is far more intense than any other yoga or pilates workout. Bootybarre incorporates the barre, mat, resistance bands and light-weight dumbbells to create a full-body toning workout.

  • Sweat: 7
  • Difficulty: 7
  • Fun: 7

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Bootybarre, unlike most of the other classes, was a very intense class. During the workout you could really feel the burn in your muscles and if you’re trying it for the first time it could be challenging to complete the whole workout without resting. This was a total body workout – worked out legs, arms, a lot of abs, as well as shoulders. This class is for those looking to do some cardio in a new and interesting way.

Sufi Yoga

with Ali – Yogakhana 

Probably the most interesting combination of a yoga class, Sufi Yoga with Ali is a mindful Hatha class that combines yoga practice with Sufi meditation, recitation and poetry. It’s a heart-opening practice that quiets the mind, awakens one’s appreciation and brings you back to that infinite source of Love that resides within. The class included both practice as well as recitation of zikr and meditation, which highlighted the commonality between yoga and Sufism. For those of you wondering what Sufism and Yoga have in common, they are both practices that are concerned with growing in consciousness, looking deep within yourself and developing a mind-body-spirit connection.

  • Sweat: 3
  • Difficulty: 6
  • Fun: 7

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The combination of chants, meditation and yoga takes you to another state of mind. Together the chanting and meditation created an intense amount of positive energy that was flowing around the room. The presence of these elements matched with the hatha yoga practice, which was the perfect mix of both being relaxed and challenged. For those looking to try something that is beyond your usual workout routine, this workshop is exactly what you’re looking for.

Now that we’ve provided you with all the information needed, it’s about time that you pick and choose the class you feel will satisfy your needs and interests.

Although a sociologist at heart, Nadine finds her love in nutrition, her passion in Pilates and her purpose in writing. Nadine is a Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and a Pilates-instructor in the making. She is also the founder of health blog, Nourished by Nadine (@nourishedbynadine) where she shares her own recipes, as well as health tips.

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