Sleuth, looking to add some power to the practice, decided to venture into the mindful fitness world with Holly Rilinger and her HIIT + meditation class, an hour that promises to lift you in mind, body and spirit.
After walking through Bandier’s retail store, passing the shelf of Flyknit Nikes and heading up the stairs, I arrived at Studio B where class would be held. Check-in was a breeze thanks to the smooth online sign-up through the MindBody App.
When I entered the space, there were rows of black Manduka mats lined up facing the mirrored wall. A bin of dumbbells with multiple weights was to the side. I grabbed two 8lb barbells per Holly’s instruction which encouraged us to go as heavy as we could.
Before taking her place up front, she made her way around the room hugging both regulars and newbies, like me!
Holly started class with a demonstration of the movements we would do which included squats, forward lunges and back lunges. She placed emphasis on the proper alignment by explaining our knees needed to stay directly over the ankle.
The workout starts seated in meditation. Holly told us that we need to train our minds just as we train our bodies, and by doing this we will grow stronger, clearer and happier. She guided us through a body scan asking us to leave our day behind so we could open up to create more space in both mind and body.
"You have the rest of the day to do the rest of the day,” she said, and instructed us to stay present.
After a few minutes, we stood up. The music kicked in, raising the energy of the room which quickly transformed into a party vibe complete with high fives, clapping and cheers. It was time to start our physical training beginning with jumping jacks.
Holly formats the class to do one series per song, and each series contained different moves to be done on each side. There were side planks (with the option to raise the leg), squats (with the option to hold one dumb bell or two), and side lunges. Interspersed with each sequence was a burst of cardio that included sprints, running man and star jumps.
All through each exercise, Holly continued to keep our energy high with an enthusiasm that spread throughout the room. She did most of the moves with us and the visual cues were helpful. She also spoke about presence and mindfulness—comparing the intervals with meditation, and the importance of staying with the exercise no matter how often the mind wants to drift away.
Next we came down to the mats for a forward bend and roll down sequence. She told us to do it on our own time, and not pay attention to what anybody else was doing. This was a nice way to bring my heart rate down while engaging my core.
Towards the end of class, we stood still to reconnect to our breath. After a few moments, Holly invited us to either remain standing, or take a seat for a second guided meditation. It was interesting to notice the difference in how my mind and body felt after doing the interval training. My heart was racing, my breath was fast, I could feel some sweat dripping down my back, but I felt calmer than when I had first entered the studio.
After the meditation, we stayed on the mat for a sequence that involved the core and opened up to rockstar. From there we stood up for one last cardio push. There were more squats and lunges, and a choice between burpees, sprints or star jumps.
When it was time to cool down, we took some simple stretches and relaxed in savasana. As we lay on the mat, Holly spoke about how it takes the same amount of energy to worry about things as it does to imagine good things to happen, and the results of imagining the good stuff is always better.
I came up from rest, wiped down my mat, and felt positive, lifted! I was confident that I could take this with me for the rest of the day.