Karin Shetler, a fitness industry professional, has been auditing group fitness classes multiple times a week for nearly a decade. Each week, Karin will spotlight a class, instructor, style or technique for Group Fitness Roundup on NYHRC’s Magazine. In this week’s spotlight: Bin Zou Stretch.
In my quest to bounce back from a back injury, I sought out a group fitness class that would provide a satisfactory workout without hindering my recovery. For context, I’m 5′ 2” and had thought I was invincible in my winter survival activities…I live in the country and had to lift 40lb pellet bags daily, pour into a stove, hack at snow and ice on my deck and start a gas generator–all repetitive twisting movements that are not great for the back!
I discovered a gem of a class: Bin Zou Stretch. I, like many hardcore gym rats, enjoy the most intense and calorie-burning workouts and I hadn’t taken this very unique stretch class.
I loved the class because it was a completely different approach to a traditional stretch class (for which I have been certified myself). He set the mood from the very beginning with the lighting, music and the softness of his voice. It was very calming with flowing and fluid dance movements that were very user-friendly and positive cueing. I liked alternately moving in a dance-like way and then holding the stretches after he had warmed the body. A very unique approach to stretch. Just lovely.
I spoke with Kevin Bin Zou (the creator) to better understand the origins of this class. It was designed with concepts of Inside/Outside Control to balance the body based on the best of Mindfulness techniques; Tai Chi, Chi Gong, Yin Yang with influences of Ballet and Modern Dance. Having come from China as a 5-time Aerobic National Champion, he felt that Americans needed more balance and recovery in their workout schedule.
The approach to recover organic energy through the music and movement was both relaxing and healing. If you’re not a fan of Yoga or Traditional Stretch classes, I highly recommend this class!
By Karin Shetler