Staying Fit Virtually while Making a Difference

Jessica Gershman - Photo: Courtesy Jessica Gershman

I woke up this morning and forgot what month it was. I had to ask Siri what day is was, as I usually do, but this time I also had to ask her what the date was. As each day blurs into the next, it’s the shimmers of light that make a difference. Like when Siri’s response causes the screen on my sleeping iPhone to brighten, or when I hear the birds in the morning now that the sounds of traffic or planes have pretty much disappeared.

And it’s the efforts of people that add to the glow. People who are going above and beyond to help others in so many ways during our very confusing present.

Adrian Molina, Photo: Courtesy of Adrian Molina

One such person is someone that I’ve known for 12 years. A friend and instructor who I met at a Manhattan gym when I was in the midst of another pivot — a time when I had to move out of my apartment — Adrian Molina was a newly minted instructor at Equinox with an exciting form of yoga that he had named Warrior Flow. Warrior Flow yoga led by Adrian in his calming yet motivating manner helped me survive some crazy months of uprooting and was the beginning of a friendship that has survived my move and his relocation from New York to Miami.

As Adrian evolved his career, he also found new ways to give back to the communities where he lived, with one such endeavor being the Warrior Flow Foundation. Through the Foundation, Adrian and his colleagues are able to take their yoga, stress management and mindfulness techniques to some of the populations who need it most including those on the front lines of crises and those without resources. Initially, the Warrior Flow Foundation reached out to homeless shelters, women suffering from abuse, and prisons in Miami. With the severe strain on first responders and medical workers at present, the program has expanded to police, fire fighters, EMS workers, doctors and nurses. The Warrior Flow Foundation continues to develop to reach out to new communities with a goal of making a difference and helping. Future plans include outreach to other cities in need as the program develops.

With this in mind, Adrian curated a weekly program of donation-based online classes for those of us confined to our homes and unable to work out, practice yoga, meditate or even socialize since the shelter-in-place regulations went into effect. In so doing, he has helped people like me stay centered and connected while raising money so needed to support those most stressed around us. 

Warrior Flow Donations, Photo: courtesy of Adrian Molina

You can join the online Warrior Flow community by subscribing on a monthly or annual basis to Warrior Flow TV for unlimited online classes, plus a daily roster of live programs which are archived for viewing at any time. The line-up is impressive, taught by some of the country’s most accomplished instructors, many of whom have worked with Adrian during his tenure at Equinox. A portion of the proceeds goes towards the Warrior Flow Foundation. As a bonus, The Foundation’s newsletter not only includes the full schedule of classes but also adds motivational as well as introspective thoughts, interviews and readings, all very welcome as we try to make sense of the present.

The light from this group has helped me stay grounded during the past tumultuous months. Unlike other yoga practices that you might be familiar with, Adrian’s yoga classes are a refreshing, distinctive breath of community punctuated by interactive chat from members around the world. But this is still serious stuff: Adrian’s classes will give you quite a workout and will leave you sweaty and serene. So will the other classes throughout the day. Beyond yoga, I’ve also powered through Abs, Cardio Sculpt, boot camp, barre and Pilates classes, with an end-of-day reward of Dennis Hunter’s soothing and calming sound bath.

Warrior Flow in Tuscany, Photo: Meryl Pearlstein

I’ve also kept my sanity by adding in my favorite form of cardio: dance. Arthur Murray NYC has a daily Dance Along @arthurmurraynyc on Instagram Live that has refreshed my ballroom experience from years past and brought it into the present with current music and steps. They even have a dance workout session that riffs on a theme such as the 70s or 80s, appropriate music and attire included. All classes are free, too.

Arthur Murray Dance Marathon, Courtesy of Arthur Murray

Keeping us entertained and connected, Arthur Murray NYC hosted an entertaining showcase of students performing along with the pros — you can view it on their YouTube channel. The dance school’s first 24-hour dance marathon raised money for two worthy organizations, Feed Our Superheroes and the Nurses House Campaign with non-stop instruction, films, discussions, interviews and more, all related to dance. I was captivated by the professionalism of the dancers, the sophistication of the video techniques, and the knowledge imparted.  And this super community-uniting effort raised more than $6500. 

After all this working out and actual and vicarious dance, I’m grateful to have someone qualified to put me back together again. Jessica Gershman, who leads yoga and therapeutic classes online with Karma Yoga, offers a weekly myofascial release class. WFH might be productive but it’s definitely hard on the body when you don’t have the best ergonomic set-up. By helping yourself heal, you’re also giving back:  Jessica selects organizations in need and donates all proceeds from designated classes to groups such as Front Line Foods which supports local restaurants helping to feed frontline healthcare workers, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Lori McAlister, Photo: Courtesy of Lori McAlister

Another yogini who I’ve known for more years than I can remember, Lori McAlister of LoriYoga, has channeled her passion into support for the BLM movement as well via the Black to the Future Action Fund. Lori’s classes are a soothing and invigorating mix of vinyasa yoga styles in a methodology she calls Sequencology. 

While there are many free Zoom classes and IG Live classes offered online, as well as subscription-based and fee-based classes, it’s the ones that go beyond to help those in need that resonate with me. And they’re the ones that I encourage you to support.

For more information:

Warrior Flow, or www.warriorflow.tv 

Karma Yoga

Lori Yoga,

Arthur Murray NYC,

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