Editor's blog: Cy Yo - a spin too far

Monday 8 May, 2006

Simone Van Den Berg - FotoliaCan it be true? One of the latest trends to hit America, it would seem, is the irritatingly named Cy Yo: an exercise class that apparently blends spinning – which involves cycling at 300 miles an hour until one’s face is redder than a ripe tomato – with yoga.

Participants spend a few minutes stretching and “preparing the mind” before jumping on a motionless bicycle, legs spinning at lightning speed, music blaring. After the hapless bikers finish their routine, they can look forward to more stretching and cooling down – in the form of what’s being called yoga.  

It’s increasingly common for yoga to be combined with traditional exercise – take golfing, running and skiing, and much of this makes a good deal of common sense. Athletes are notoriously prone to injury due, in part, because they are still and inflexible, and if yoga can go some way towards countering this, all the better. 

One of the Boston gyms hosting this new craze claims Cy Yo can bring a raft of benefits, in particular, appearing “extremely appealing to our busy members who rarely find the time to devote to both disciplines.”

Therein lies the problem. Yoga is not something that can whittle down to a few stretches and watered down visualization techniques pegged at the beginning and end of a totally unconnected spinning class, just because participants don’t have the time or inclination to commit to a proper practice. 

As well as seeming suspiciously like a gimmick, it’s highly questionable that this is yoga as you or I know it – more a few gentle stretches and a passing stab at some meditation techniques, before participants leap on a bike while the teacher bawles out instructions from the front of the studio. Is there any mention of breathing or focus? I would doubt it.  

It’s unsurprising that the phenomenal popularity of yoga in the US has spawned 101 off-shoots and weird combinations. Broadly speaking, if more people can experience its benefits, yoga's growing accessibility is a good thing.

But when bizarre hybrids such as Cy Yo are invented by gym owners looking for the next wacky craze to boost their membership, surely things are been taken one circuit too far.


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