In Florianópolis, Brazil, Lola Manekin grew up moving her body in different ways.
“Brazilian people feel very comfortable in their skin and in their bodies,” she said.
But she found that typical workouts stateside often had the same movements involved. That is, until she found Nia. Combining dance, martial arts and healing to (pack a low-impact) punch, she returned from training in New York renewed, and spread it to others in the area. She also started teaching Antigravity Fitness, a form of suspended yoga that literally flips participants upside down.
Over the last several years, Manekin has built a community around these offbeat fitness forms, and she points out that all ages are represented.
“For us, it’s no pain, all gain. You don’t have to hurt to be fit,” she said.
In August, they will have a space.
Manekin plans to open Movement Lab above the forthcoming R. House food hall in Remington. Seawall Development, which was cofounded by Manekin’s husband Thibault Manekin, is helming the R. House construction.
On the second floor, the 4,350 sq. ft. Movement Lab will have two studios, floor-to-ceiling windows and a lobby with space for a boutique. Plans also call for a treatment room for acupuncture, which Manekin currently practices at BlueGreen Acupuncture & Bodywork.
Manekin hopes it can become a community center for many methods of movement. They also plan to offer yoga and hip-hop dance classes, and Manekin hopes it can become a place for dance artists in Baltimore to gather and offer classes. And with the many organizations around the neighborhood, she’s open to other ways to collaborate. It’s about listening to the body and trying new forms of movement. As Manekin put it, fitness is a consequence of this, rather than the goal.
For more on Manekin’s perspective, check out her talk at last year’s TEDxHampdenWomen:
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