Kim Cattrall has revealed that the physiotherapy and yoga hybrid exercise craze that has taken New York’s fitness set by storm has ‘saved her life’ during her new play’s grueling three-month run. Fizzy yoga — or rather, physiyoga, as in yoga-enhanced physiotherapy — is a mix of massage, meditative breathing, physio adjustments and yoga poses.
Ms Cattrall, 56, tells The Times that she hasn’t been so passionate about an exercise regime since Jane Fonda’s ‘cult’ aerobics classes of the 1980s. In fact, she’s so hooked her routine that before she agreed to star in Tennessee Williams’ Sweet Birth of Youth at the Old Vic, she asked her Manhattan physiyoga teacher Diana Zotos to find a practitioner based in London.
‘As I get older, I find that cardio is less important to me,’ she explains. ‘What I want to do more of is intense stretching.’ At the same time, she says: ‘I’m not worried about injuring myself because a regular yoga instructor isn’t versed in the way of the body like a trained physio is.’
Ms Cattrall credits London-based instructor Helen O’Neill with ‘saving her life’ during the play’s three month run as she’s battled a sore right knee, stiff sacrum and ‘bruies bigger than a professional snowboarder.’ But it wasn’t always this way: During the Sex and City years, Ms Cattrall claims that she was addicted to a high-impact regime that she calls a ‘disaster.’ ‘I’d do massive sessions of heavy cardio before each series started and then no exercise at all during filming,’ she says. ‘I’d just collapse at the weekends.’
Then, two years ago, her right knee gave way during a run of the play Private Lives. Even after six months of physiotherapy, Ms Cattrall says that she found it difficult to do a regular workout with her trainer. Ms Cattrall now has two hourly sessions a week in her penthouse flat by Tate Modern. As she goes through the series of yoga poses, she is forced to go back to physio mode if a muscle freezes up.
The result, she says, is that she has been consciously changing bad bodily habits. She also loves physiyoga’s time-saving potential – because if you pull a muscle, the instructor can help you there and then. According to Ms O’Neill, ‘fizzy yoga’ bridges the gap between yoga and physiotherapy. The Bucks-born 34-year-old was working as a physio for the Canadian National Snowboard Team when she noticed that people kept coming in with the same complaints – like knee pain.
‘They couldn’t run for obvious reasons and there’s not enough movement in Pilates,’ she says. So she began thinking about how yoga and physiotherapy complement one another. Ms Cattrall has already asked O’Neill to move to New York, but O’Neill is focused on developing her practice, Fix, which opened in East London in June.
Ms Cattrall jokes that Sex and the City stylist Patricia Field used to call Cattrall a ‘Hem Nazi’ for her insistence on attention to detail in her TV clothes and admits she is no less exacting about her own body. ‘It’s my Stradivarius and I want to keep it in good shape not just for health reasons but for work,’ she expllains. ‘I think Helen’s really got her finger on something that women my age can use to make our lives pain-free.’