I’ve been working hard to develop a solid home yoga practice. It’s going pretty well and I’ve been drawing inspiration from yoga DVDs and workouts on OnDemand from Comcast (actually not a terrible selection in there!). However, nothing will ever take the place of a beautiful studio yoga class. There is just something about being in the company of other yogis, in a space that is specially reserved for practice, and having a trained teacher there to lead you through a great sequence and push you to find you intelligent edge. I discontinued my membership at The Studio DC after the move to Arlington because the studios were just not convenient enough anymore to make the membership fees worth it. I tried to go it alone for several months, but I think it’s time to start looking for a new studio. Not that I intend to become a member at one, but perhaps purchasing a class package to supplement my home practice. My home practice is good but it’s not as advanced as my studio practice was. I miss exploring new postures and the feeling of elation when you finally get into a pose you’ve been working towards.
[an old picture of me playing around with koundinyasana – still one of my favorite arm balances!]
So I guess that was just a really long winded introduction to this post. I decided to give Epic Yoga off Dupont Circle a try last night after work. I had actually intended to go to a class at Yoga District on I Street but when I went to sign up this morning it was already full! This also happened to me last Friday, so I guess I’m going to have to sign up at least a day in advance in the future? Oh well. Epic Yoga was offering a hot yoga class (the website says the room is heated to approximately 95 degrees) at 6 pm. Perfect. Why not give it a shot?
[Source – DC Fit Crasher]
They have a good first-timer special where you can get one week of unlimited yoga for $20. I grabbed it, figuring I could try out a couple different classes and teachers before making my final decision. Overall, I’d say it was a very positive experience. When I arrived at the desk to sign in, the instructor, Abby, was incredibly friendly and welcoming. Upon learning it was my first time at the studio, she took me on a tour of the facilities. Facilities that are definitely pretty impressive for an urban yoga studio. There are locker rooms with showers, several studios, and best of all complementary towels!! I was totally sold. The hot yoga room was nice too with exposed brick walls and lovely mood lighting. They class wasn’t too full or crowded … added bonus!
Here were some things I really enjoyed about the class and the studio:
- She started with a dharma talk. I love me a good dharma talk and learning more about yogic philosophy is one of the reasons I go to studio classes. Today we focused on the idea of fear and learning to embrace situations where we were afraid as an opportunity to grow.
- The warm up was great. It was super cold outside so Abby started class with a good core warm up and a bunch of sun salutations to build some inner fire. Definitely helped since it’s positively glacial in DC right now.
- We spent some time practicing uddiyana bandha (which is the abdominal wall lock that yogis employ to move safely through practice and do challenging poses like inversions). Pranayama (breath) and bandha practice is definitely something I don’t see enough in yoga classes… A+ for that!
- We all explored handstand at the end of class. When I first started practicing in 2008, I went to a studio that would teach basic moves and offer advanced variations like arm balances or inversions but only “if they were in your practice.” I was always curious… how do they get in my practice if I never learn how to approach them? I really appreciate when an instructors takes time to teach a pose and encourage everyone to attempt it to the best of their ability. Even though I practice handstand regularly, I even took some good pointers from her demo!
Here’s where I have some concerns:
- The studio wasn’t really hot, even though it was billed as a hot class. I barely sweat, which is one of the things I love about hot yoga. That being said, it’s like 15 degrees outside so I’m willing to overlook it for now. It was at least warmer in there than it was outside.
- I was hoping for a slightly more advanced class. I really don’t want to sound like a snob, because that is not it at all! I just have a great practice at home. So if I’m going to pay to go to a studio, I’m really looking for a class that’s going to push me outside my comfort zone and allow me to work in the advanced postures. While I thoroughly enjoyed this class, Epic Yoga only offers beginner and mixed levels classes. Mixed levels can be pretty hit or miss depending on the instructor and the modifications / variations they choose to offer. The only advanced class available is The Rocket. I’ll probably try that one out if it works in my schedule but I don’t LOVE a set format class. Just a personal preference though!
Final Summation: If you’re a DC area yogi OR looking to get into yoga… I’d definitely suggest trying out Epic Yoga. Their facilities rock and everyone was really helpful for me as a first-timer. I dug the vibe in the studio too. There was definitely plenty of Lululemon represented but there was just a great mix of people, bodies, and attitudes in the room that made it feel approachable and friendly. Sometimes yoga studios can be snobby to the max. Bleh. The newcomer specials (they have 1 week for $20 or 1 month for $50) make it really easy to try out the studio before need to make any commitments. I will most DEFINITELY be going back. They offer a yoga / barre hybrid class that I’m going to check out on Thursday.
Hope you found this review helpful!! If yes, I’ll do more reviews of studios I attend. If no… well then I won’t!
If you’re a yogi… what do you look for in a yoga class or studio?? Do you have a home studio that you always go to or do you switch it up?