Written and Photographed by Barbara King
If you are on the lookout for some unique and fun ways to battle the boredom of your regular gym workout, Tyler definitely has lots of things happening that might fit the bill.
Every Friday amid the business of downtown, a group of people assemble in the square who are peaceful, relaxed, and in sync. Yoga is going on right there in the downtown Square – with bodies stretching and moving on mats in the center of everything. The YMCA of Whitehouse hosts these free, instructional yoga lunch breaks from 12:05-12:55pm and all are welcome to bring a mat and exercise.
Yoga has been described as a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline. The physical postures of yoga are used to alleviate health problems, reduce stress, make the spine supple, and aid in rehabilitation and physical therapy. The main focuses of yoga, which are exercise, breathing and meditation, have been shown to reduce high blood pressure, improve symptoms of heart failure, enhance cardiac rehabilitation, and lower cardiovascular risk factors.
Lindsay Gray, group instructor, explains the merits of yoga as, “a great way to decompress, gain strength and flexibility, and build your core.” Gray walks the group through physical, mental, and muscle exercises, and suggests alternative ways to move based on the abilities of the individual.
Jessica Russell, a stay-at-home mom, sees the yoga sessions as, “an hour away from stress and taking time for myself. It is the quietest and most tranquil time that I have during the week.”
“It is certainly a centering, calming time during my day,” said Gay Howard, who works at nearby TJC. “It has so many benefits, including enhancing digestion, balance, and core strength.”
The group ends their session in quiet meditation, ending with a closing Namaste, (the traditional Indian gesture of bow and benediction) that encourages love, kindness, peace, ease, and wellness. For more information about the Downtown Yoga Break, call the Whitehouse YMCA at (903)839-9622.
Pole exercise is by no stretch of the imagination the preconceived notion of seductive swinging. This is a real workout of climbing, swirling, leaping and moving. Amy Price, the owner of Pole Exercise-Tyler means business on the pole – and her clients will attest to the fact that it is an hour of heavy duty exercise.
Price explains that pole exercise, “builds confidence, strength, flexibility, and muscle memory.” Four poles grace the studio and the night I attended the class, the ladies were learning movements that required climbing, swinging, transitioning, and some fun and cool tricks.
“The studio is a totally safe environment,” explains Price. “We have mats, spotters, and we encourage our clients to challenge themselves, but always to listen to their bodies.” The poles are each bolted into plywood studs in the ceiling and into the cement floor, and are totally secure with no movement.
Pole exercise is widely popular in Europe, and can be a combination of both exercise and entertainment. “The pole session works so many different areas of your body, including shoulders, back, hips, and thighs,” says Price. Price equates a pole exercise session to a mixture of ballet and gymnastics.
Each session starts with a ten-minute warm up of stretching, with Price tailoring each individual workout to the strengths and abilities of the client. “In our studio, we promote self-awareness and challenge you to set personal goals and objectives and try to reach them over time,” explains Price.
LaDeidre Ford has been coming to Pole Exercise-Tyler for 3 months and loves the fact that, “there is no end to what you can do during a pole session. The whole experience is definitely not what I thought it would be. It is an intense, but graceful mix of moves, building up my strength and endurance and I also think I have become more fluid.”
The ladies are encouraging, laughing, and having a great time during the session, while Price shimmies up the pole to show them a new move. Price has clients of all ages ready to climb the pole – even folks in their late 60’s. Some moves that are taught may resemble yoga or trapeze ones, with more experienced polers eventually supporting their weight freely, without hands on the pole at all.
Natania Rosales, 18, said, “I come for the fun and the challenge of pushing my body to climb and swirl and even do handstands against the pole.”
Price hosts “pole parties” almost every weekend for up to six people at a time. The parties are basically poling 101, and include warm-ups, basic spins and eventually a routine that guests can perform.
“It has become really popular for bachelorette parties as well, and the girls come and bring their own food and drinks and have a truly unique, fun experience,” she said.
If you want to try a class or get more information about the poling experience, call Amy Price at Pole-Exercise Tyler at (903)283-4223. The studio has recently re-located to 115 W. Front St., Tyler.
Another alternative for exercise is Tyler’s new iJump Trampoline Park. Stepping into the raucous, exciting world of iJump you will find that this is a fun-filled adventure for the entire family.
iJump is basically a humongous 15,000 area, chock full of interactive trampoline fun. “Kids can literally bounce off the walls in a completely safe environment,” explains co-owner Rachel Guthrie. Her husband Jared and two other couples, Melanie and Cody Ferguson and Tiffany and Todd Sceroler, comprise the team of hard-working entrepreneurs behind this innovative trampoline park.
“We are all parents ourselves, so our number one priority is for the kids to have fun and to be safe at all time,” explained Guthrie. Looking around the massive facility on a Saturday, there are hundreds of kids, but if you look again, and you will see very visible spotters and iCrew members that are especially trained to watch out for everyone.
There are trampolines built for every size and shape, all the way down to the smallest under six squad who can jump safely in “grids.” These smaller jump spots are designed for little ones and are carefully staffed. Parents can also be close and hands-on to help their toddlers soar.
An hour at iJump is $12 and gives the jumper – adult and older kids alike – unlimited access to all kinds of neat activities, including a long 80-foot trampoline, trampoline dodgeball and basketball, and a foam pit. Older kids can play dodgeball in a netted trampoline area, while others are lining up to get a jump on shooting baskets and doing cartwheels in the foam pit. Children 4 and under can jump with a parent for $12. Each additional hour of jumping is $8.
Guests can sign an online waiver before arrival, and iPads are available in the lobby for easy registration. Keeping track of jumpers is easy with color-coded wristbands, and a speaker system that alerts jumpers when their time is up.
There is something to interest everyone, from Open Jump sessions, to ifitClasses, plus teen nights every Saturday 9-11pm, and weeJumps and family nights every Tuesday from 6-8pm.
iFitness memberships are available for $49.99/month with unlimited jumping access. “Rebounding on a trampoline can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour,” said Guthrie. “Jumping also detoxifies your body more than grounded workouts. Vertical motion workouts are a lot more fun, and more efficient than horizontal motion workouts, like jogging or running.”
“We are thrilled to host school groups, youth and church groups, sports team events and corporate jumps,” said Guthrie. VIP Parties can be booked for $240 which includes an hour of jumping for 10 people, 30 minutes in a private party room, Rounders Pizza, bottled water, private party host, a free iJump t-shirt, pair of iJump grip socks for the birthday child, one free iJump pass for the next visit for the birthday child, printable invitations, and basic party needs.
A Premier party is $170, and includes 10 jumpers for an hour, 30 minutes at a party table, bottled water, shared party host, 1 free jump pass for the birthday child, and printable invitations.
The Duke family came to celebrate son Pierce’s birthday at iJump and Mrs. Duke was clearly happy that, “the kids will be exhausted and happy at the end of this, and I won’t have to clean anything up!” There are lots of comfortable seating areas, couches and bar height tables for parents to visit, mingle and watch the fun as it happens.
Expansion plans are in the works, with a possible addition of another 15,000 square feet of iJump trampoline fun.
For more info, to sign up for classes, or reserve a party, call (903)630-7090. The park is located at 2029 Capital Dr., in Tyler. They can be reached at email@example.com and Facebook.com/ijumptyler.
The park is closed Mondays and open Tuesday-Thursday 3-9pm, Friday 1-10pm, Saturday 10am-11pm, and Sundays 1-6pm.
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