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Biofit organic fitness – mindfully crab walking whilst playing tag (you heard it hear first)

10 February 2017

Marcela Kunova

The interior of Biofit gyms was designed by landscape architect Lily Jencks, who says humans increasingly need a connection with nature and ecology for their well-being.

Matt Morley, founder of Biofit which is a way of working out in a natural environment, has created an indoor gym that uses only natural materials, such as gym equipment handcrafted of English oak, and has walls covered in hanging plants and soothing pictures of natural landscapes. The interior was designed by landscape architect Lily Jencks, who says humans increasingly need a connection with nature and ecology for their well-being.

 

But it’s not only the wooden indoor rower that will bring your senses closer to Mother Nature. Morley explains that the name Biofit comes from ‘bio’ and ‘fitness’ meaning ‘organic fitness', or ‘fitness for life’. In other words, you should forget about star jumps and cycling machines, and use natural movements that stem from our basic instincts. Biofit workouts incorporate anything from walking around on four legs to play fight techniques to no-machines strength and stamina training.

Matt Morley, founder of Biofit

I decided to give Biofit’s Movement & Mindfulness class a go and joined a group of around fifteen natural fitness enthusiasts at their London pop-up showroom one February evening. The session kicked off with a short talk from Matt Morley himself about the physical and mental benefits of working out in nature, and then we went on doing some mindfulness meditation led by Morley’s brother Charlie. Sitting on green fluffy carpet, we undertook a seated then walking mindfulness. I enjoyed the latter more, as we slow-motion strolled around the gym in a man-on-the-Moon-style, paying attention to our senses and sensation in each step. The practice made me feel serene and relaxed.

 

Once the introduction was complete, Matt Morley started the natural workout session, showing us various movements focused on keeping balance, such as slowly sitting down on your toes, getting on all fours, and going back to standing again. The point was being thoughtful about each movement whilst trying to maximise your strength by watching where you place your hands and feet, avoiding wasting energy on any unnecessary shifting . Once we were able to balance whilst standing on one hand and one foot, we were then asked to move around.

Walking on my hands and feet proved to be much harder than I had originally thought. Apart from struggling to follow Matt’s instructions like “Move forward with your left hand and right foot”, I had to resist the urge to get fall on my knees to support my straining thighs and wrists. Ultimately I failed.

Biofit indoor gym uses only natural materials, such as gym equipment handcrafted of English oak, and has walls covered in hanging plants.

The last stage of our workout had us playing a game of ‘tag’ whilst walking around on all fours, first face down then face up, flipping around as we were going. It looked like a slow-mo breakdance, just without us looking cool. The challenge was watching where we were going, trying to tap our peers’ hand or shoulder whilst making sure they didn't tap ours. Somehow, the whole mindful movement concept came together at that very moment and I was soon able to walk on all fours, turning around, tapping a decent number of hands and shoulders around me without falling over. The session closed with relaxation and the participants chatting noisily about their impression.

 

Would I swap ‘Movement and Mindfulness’ for my weekly Zumba classes? I shall have to meditate to find the answer to that.  However, I would definitely enjoy having a Biofit gym nearby for a mid-week workout to improve my mood over the winter gloom.   

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