The first time I was in a yoga class and the teacher had us dedicate our practice to someone else who needed it more than we did, it was life-changing for me—it was truly one of the most powerful classes I had ever experienced.
More recently, when I was at SoulCycle, the instructor said, “If you feel like you can't do it for yourself, do it for someone else who needs this more than you." It brought that feeling right back, and all of a sudden, I was capable of more than my head was allowing me to believe before hearing that statement.
Sometimes we need to do things for ourselves, but often the power of doing something with the intention of helping the greater good, or just one other person, can be life-changing.
Fitness boutiques and studios around the country are picking up on that, and they are offering classes that do more than just help you help yourself—they take giving back to a whole other level. Check out these five.
1. Cyc, a spinning studio with locations throughout the U.S., allows you to choose which of their five chosen charities your efforts will go toward: Challenged Athletes Foundation, Sustainable Food Center, Marathon Kids, Boys & Girls Club of Dane County (in Madison, WI), or University of Wisconsin American Family Children's Hospital. Then for every mile you bike, they donate money to your selected charity. They believe “When you ride at Cyc, you ride for change...Giving back never felt so good.
2. The Movement, a boutique fitness studio housing a new wave of unique and innovative mash-up yoga, dance, and strength classes, opened this past week in New York City and has the slogan “Give Back. Move Forward." They have pledged to donate $1 per person per class to the National Brain Tumor Society. The Movement is the first business that will donate part of every single sale to the charity. According to their website, “We give back by donating to cancer research each month with the belief that is it just as important to help others as it is to help ourselves. There is so much power in working together for a greater cause." There is also a “karma jar" at the front desk for those who feel inspired to give more.
3. Kix & Spinz, which houses HIIT-style workouts “for the whole family" in Seattle, switches it up while making it personal to their community. Each month they select a different charity nominated by a member or client, then they donate $1 per person per class to that organization.
4. Studio 360, a cycling and yoga in NYC, also partners with a different organization each month. According to their site, “Founded on the belief that what goes around comes around, one dollar per student per class is donated to a different monthly charity. Our clients are welcomed into an environment tailored to meet their needs with the core aim of deep personal and physical transformation. It takes just one revolution to make a change."
5. SoulCycle, a spinning studio with locations throughout the U.S., has a regular recurrence of charity rides that benefit a multitude of causes from breast cancer research to the 9/11 Memorial, and these classes are often hosted in tandem with celebrities. In this year alone, SoulCycle has raised more than $411,000. ($150,000 alone from the 9/11 Memorial ride.)
I don't know about you, but I am loving the trend of moving more to give back more. Feels pretty good—inside and out!
Do you go to a studio or gym that gives back? Tell us in the comments below or @Shape_Magazine!