To what lengths will you go to feel centered? Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt learned the gravity-defying art of high-wire walking (in addition to cultivating a believable and alluring French accent) to play the incomparable Philippe Petit in the new film The Walk, in wide release Friday. Petit is the impeccably fit daredevil who, in August 1974, stealthily made his way into the World Trade Center’s twin towers to install a wire and walk between the tops of the two 110-floor buildings. Such a stunt required heart-pounding core training and intense concentration. Feeling equally brave? Hone your balance and stability with these mind-over-matter workouts, from gravity-defying wire walks above desert wildlife in Tucson, Arizona, to backflips on indoor trampolines in San Francisco’s Crissy Field. Or remain firmly planted on the ground while strengthening your core with yoga in New York City’s Chinatown. Just remember to breathe.
Conditioning at Trapeze School New York, Santa Monica, CA
This 90-minute circuit-training class uses aerial silks, fitness balls, and floor work to increase your stamina and flexibility. Work on the static trapeze targets major muscle groups, while each minute movement strengthens weaker areas to create a balanced body. In other words: One minute you’re soaring, the next you’re balancing firmly on the ground.
Desert Tightrope at Miraval Resort, Tucson, AZ
Spend two hours learning how to move forward while letting go as you walk a desert tightrope suspended 35 feet above the Arizona desert. Petit has said the first step on a wire is the hardest, and this fitness class will demand every ounce of resolve, even with a safety harness firmly in place. Consider this a physical and mental exercise designed to change your perspective on life. No small feat.
Katonah Yoga at Sky Ting Yoga, New York City
Taoist philosophy (living in harmony with the source of everything that exists) combined with Hatha yoga, Pranayama breathing techniques, and Vinyasa sequences tones bodies and minds during each hour-plus class at this Nick Poe–designed Chinatown studio founded by Krissy Jones and Chloe Kernaghan. The studio name refers to a space in the sky, and the fourth-floor location will have you scaling a few staircases to work on your balance. Strengthen arms, legs, and core muscles while you practice staying centered and disregarding distractions.
Air Conditioning at House of Air, San Francisco
Bounce and soar across a series of trampolines spread inside a massive Crissy Field warehouse during this 50-minute thigh-burner. The full-body workout will strengthen your core and hone your balance as you navigate from one rectangular trampoline to the next. “Look before you leap” takes on new meaning here.
Intro to Aerial Silk at Aerial Physique, Los Angeles
Test your coordination while working your back muscles and upper body at Jill Franklin’s new 10,000-square-foot studio, where hour-plus classes have you climbing and practicing basic foot locks and inversions. Core work is intense, but the view from high above the studio floor can’t be topped. What a rush.
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