Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hot yoga surprise

I feel like the title of this post might bring in an unintended audience from some etrange google searches, but nevertheless, I shall proceed.

Today I had the pleasure of embarking on day one of my free week at YogaWorks. At the recommendation of their Yoga Advisor (whom I have never met but sends the most enthusiastic emails - I already have a friend crush on her) I headed to an 11 am Power Yoga Level 2/3 class.

The first thing about the studio I noticed was that, like the Javamukti studio in Union Square, the ambiance of a strictly-yoga facility is so much more tranquil than a full-services gym, even the spa-like Equinox. YogaWorks win.

The second thing about the studio I noticed was that, unlike Equinox, the practice spaces themselves have not joined the air conditioning party.

Hence, this post's title.

Oh, you thought you were coming in for a power yoga class which would challenge your muscle strength and stamina? Oh, SURPRISE! It's also going to be 100 degrees.

The amount of sweat pouring out of my body within minutes of the class' start was totally beyond excessive. I could not wait for brief seconds to grab my towel and swiftly wipe away sweat from quite unexpected places  - my kneecaps, really?!? My beautiful fleur-de-lis necklace rather impolitely kept flicking sweat onto my face. The whole situation really began to stress me out.

Thankfully, we completed the flow series and moved onto to a series of hip openers. As Tamar, our instructor, noted, one added benefit of the heat was that our muscles were warmer and therefore we could open our tight hips further. Of course she said this as she was instructing us to put our feet fully behind our head but....point taken, Tamar. The heat was not all bad.

Elements of the class that I truly enjoyed:

1. Not being able to see a clock. In my classes at Equinox, although I enjoy them immensely, I am also acutely aware of the clock and how much time remains in my practice.

2. The hour and a half time period. I generally attend yoga classes in the mornings, which are only one hour. Having a full hour and a half allows us to....

3. Have a good, long shivasana. I have not a clue in this world how to spell that word. But what I do know is this: having two minutes of relaxation after a challenging yoga class is simply not sufficient for my body to fully reap the rewards of my practice. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to cut an hour-long class even shorter, so I understand the choice that is made by instructors there.

4. The aforementioned tranquility of the studio. Before entering the hall that lead to the locker rooms (named "retreats") and practice rooms, we were required to remove our shoes. In the waiting area stood a water cooler and selection of teas, as well as a small library of books and DVDs on yoga and pilates and a shop of yoga clothing. And it smelled nice. The towels, in particular. I got to know my towel very, very well, so you can really trust me on this one.

I am going to try to attend as many classes as possible over the next week. I can already see from looking at the calendar of classes that they do not cater to the pre-work crew so I'm going to have to arrange class attendance around my apres-work schedule.

What I really want to take from this experience is whether or not I should downgrade from a full-services gym membership to a yoga/pilates only gym membership because let's be serious group exercise and spinning classes mean nothing to me.

Has anyone made this change? Or gone in the opposite direction? Thoughts comments questions?

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