Josh LeBlanc-Shulman in Sport and Fitness, Yoga, Education and Training Business Development Coordinator • Merchant Concepts Sep 27, 2016 · 2 min read · +400

What Crunch Fitness Taught Me

What Crunch Fitness Taught Me
I think I may have unknowingly been a part of some weird psycho-social experiment.

It had been a rough couple of weeks. My wife and I desperately needed to detach ourselves from distractions, and refocus on what's important in life. When I walked in with her to Crunch Fitness on Division St. in Portland, Oregon yesterday at 6:50PM, I was ready for Yoga Sculpt with Juliet.

Juliet is a goddess. She's blown my chakras every single time. Her classes are spiritual, blending harmoniously the attention given to the body and mind. Every class is an originally curated piece of art. It's original because it's authentically Juliet. She's intense, but in a balanced, attentive way. Her yoga classes are choreographed yet dynamic. They give you just the right amount of room to make it your own and grow with it. I love the way she says, "Lift your right leg hiiiiigh."

And I just realized that she's from Fresno, as is my wife.

I've paid about $120 for an entire year of Crunch membership. That's like five yoga classes at a boutique studio. Crunch offers five yoga classes a week. It's also the equivalent of one yoga-with-goats experience at Oregon Farms. For ten dollars a month I get not only a clean, spacious gym with more equipment than I know what to do with, but also a packed schedule of group classes with instructors who know what they're doing. I've been observing and sampling several different classes, and every single instructor runs the show as masterfully as an orchestra conductor. They are always into it. It's clear they are enjoying themselves. That energy spills over.

Little did I know that the class yesterday would not be a yoga class, and that Juliet would be missing from the scene. I should have guessed something was awry by the sinister murmur around me about some "yoga cards" that were of limited supply.

I walk into the studio without a yoga card, and everybody is laying their yoga mats down, so I imitate them. I really like social harmony. It's a Japanese thing.

At 7:00PM sharp, a strange lady announces that there will be no yoga that night, and that she is subbing for dear Juliet.

"This is going to be more of a Pilates class."

And that was kind of it as far as the introduction went. She was a bit nervous about having to be the messenger of surprising news. I get it.

Maybe it was a conscious tactic for keeping everybody hostage inside that room, but she got down to business right away.

The hammer fell the moment the music came on. This stuff kicked our asses. A studio full of about 40 or 50 stoner-sloth yogis had been expecting a relatively low-key experience, and instead were served a full motion, full swing exercise class. It was so different from our expectations that it was comical. People were giggling to cope with the shock, to trick their bodies into thinking that this was a game.

It was a game. The only way to get through that Pilates class for us chaturanga warriors was to treat it like a game, to be playful.

The game consisted of three rules:

  • Keep focusing on the music and the beat.
  • Keep breathing.
  • Keep smiling.

As long as I kept doing those three things, I was able to keep up. Whenever my mind slipped -- that was when I started wishing I had spent the $120 instead on ten trips to the all-you-can-eat SUPER KING BUFFET on 82nd Avenue.

The most fascinating thing about all of this was that nobody quit. Nobody left the studio, except for when my wife and I sneaked out for some water, about halfway through.

For some it may have been stubbornness, for others resolve. Either way, we all did what we needed to keep going with the flow.

Yoga is about going with the flow.

No, it's about setting the intention to go with the flow.

Thank you, Crunch, for reminding me.