Straight off the bat, I can confidently say I’m not exactly the best advocate for fitness.
I’m content with my simple workout routine of doing small bouts of cardio in my room, at my own pace with my own strength. The idea of joining a class or session with different ways of working out puts me off the whole fitness idea just because of how tiring I imagine it to be. Not to mention that my body sometimes can’t physically adapt to the routines done.
So when we received an invitation for MURFEST 2016 (Malaysia Urban Retreat Festival), I felt a little hesitant. I always thought that these types of festivals tend attract health buffs who live and breathe working out and have great looking bodies to match their passion for it. Not really the typical scene I’d like to hang around in.
But after taking a look at their schedule, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and do some fitness activities I’ve never tried before.
Bright and early in the morning, we entered the grounds of MURFEST and were greeted with people walking around with yoga mats and clad in full sportswear. The entire venue was spread out with certain areas dedicated to specific activities like music, dance, fitness, yoga and so forth.
We decided to start with the hardest activity on our list just to get it over with: Flyoga.
When we approached the area, the first thought that rang through my mind was how I’d most likely be straining muscles or injuring myself attempting anything with those pieces of fabric.
The session we registered for was a basic guide to aerial yoga. Our instructor, Sheila Yew from Dreams Dance Studios showed us a few moves that left our limbs stretched beyond our expectations. Being one with weak arms, I was struggling quite a bit with the moves that relied on our upper body strength.
But with the proper guidance from the instructors, the whole session ended up being really fun and I’m actually very open to trying more classes for aerial yoga in the future.
Oh, and I was pretty grateful we managed to get into the basics session. I don’t think I would’ve been able to handle the more advanced sessions like these guys.
The next class we wanted to try out was the Folk Bollywood class conducted by instructors flown all the way from India, Mayur Vaidya & Sachin Shinde.
I’m quite a fan of Bollywood movies and the choreography shown during the films is always so impressive. So I wanted to see whether I’d be able to emulate my inner Aishwarya Rai and do a Bollywood dance routine.
I’ll let you judge for yourselves how I handled it.
The Bollywood song they had used was a rather fast-paced one, and the routine shown by Mayur and Sachin incorporated the iconic dance moves that you’d normally be able to see in Bollywood movies.
For example, the famous ‘one finger celebration’ move.
The ‘collecting pieces of my soul then throwing them all away’ move.
And last but not least, the ‘shimmy’.
Though the dance was quite fast and some moves were rather difficult to pull off, it was a really entertaining session. One good thing about Bollywood dances is the happy vibes it spreads. The instructors reminded us a few times that a key factor of Bollywood dancing is always having a jovial expression on.
So no matter how foolish we may look, the key is to just keep smiling.
The Atmosphere Of Fitness
Besides the sessions that we joined, there were also others that brought in various styles of fitness from all over the world. For example, there was a session where you could do Cuban Rumba which incorporates a lot of hip and booty shaking that Cubans are well known for.
And if people wanted a more calming experience, there was also the option to attend a relaxing therapeutic session with soft music playing in the background to help you sleep the stress away.
Once we were done checking out the areas with fitness activities happening everywhere, we stopped by the marketplace area and took a look at what was being offered. Different types of sports attire and natural beauty products were being sold by different types of shops. There were even booths with massage services just in case your body needed one after an intense workout.
A few days have passed since MURFEST and some parts of our bodies are still feeling the soreness from it. But that just goes to show that we actually did have a good workout session and how the instructors pushed us to challenge our limits further because they knew we could.
As for my final opinion, I would definitely be up for joining more fitness festivals such as MURFEST in the future. Not only did it allow me to try out two new activities, I also got to see first hand how the stigma of these festivals being purely for cult health enthusiasts is false.
If I can do flyoga and survive with just aching muscles, anyone can.