Delicious things happen in the dark, don’t they? Stolen kisses, trick-or-treating, firefly catching, moon gazing, movie watching, dreaming and, yes, even exercising. Didn’t expect to see exercise on the list? Epic dark fitness classes are on the upswing at fitness studios across the country — from Y7’s Hip-Hop Candlelit Yoga in West Hollywood, where devotees down dog in the dark to Beyoncé, to Banana Skirt’s Ratchet Zooba in New York, where students twerk Rihanna style to burn up to 700 calories under spinning disco lasers, to celeb-devoted Soul Cycle spins nationwide (OMG, is that Jake Gyllenhaal and Katy Perry toweling off sweat?!).
Here are five reasons you need to sign up for a dark fitness class, lose your inhibitions and never look back.
1. It feels like you’re out — not at the gym.
Before dark exercise class begins, you sense the difference. Standing in a flickering-candlelit room with 30 people as smooth beats trance you out make you feel more like you’re at your favorite bar, lounge or club. And the sweating hasn’t even started yet.
2. You aren’t looking at others — thereby not comparing yourself
Class begins, and you barely see your classmates. When you’re not looking at other exercisers, you aren’t accidentally on purpose comparing yourself with them or even allowing them to influence your practice. Suddenly it’s just you, your practice, the instructor and the music.
3. You aren’t looking at yourself — thereby not judging yourself
Exercising in the dark means you don’t have to watch yourself in a mirror. By not looking, checking, observing, adjusting or judging yourself, more of your attention moves toward your practice. Your ego is left, well, in the dark — and your consciousness takes flight toward the light.
4. Less distraction
Science tells us we close our eyes while kissing and eating chocolate to block out all unnecessary information. We want to focus on the ecstasy we experience. Dark exercise blots out all the distracting, annoying, attention-catching things in a normal exercise class. It’s easier to focus on the pleasure of the movement, pay stricter attention to the instructor and get carried away by the music. All that adds up to excelling faster and becoming stronger and leaner. Additionally, you aren’t actually in a club, so no creepy dude is dancing up on you.
5. Tribal transcendence
Whether you live for the endorphin rush or delight in a sweet yoga Savasana that blasts you into an out-of-body experience, I assure you it happens faster, lasts longer and occurs more intensely when you do it in the dark!
Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. No matter what, you’ve enjoyed an unforgettable experience. When class ends, you’ll feel a sweaty, sexy sense of communion with your classmates. You’ve experienced something together, without all the crowding of a club. In today’s screen-obsessed, speed-o-matic world, all of us could do with a healthy fostering of a live, real-time connection with ourselves and others!