Super exciting week ahead because I have not one but TWO Philly based fitness class reviews for you! I always wish I could get to Philly more often to hang with Sarah and as luck would have it I have been in Philly the past TWO weekends! Two weeks ago, Mike and I made the trip up north to run the Broad Street Run on Sunday. On Saturday, I had some time to kill in the late morning, so I decided to check out a yoga class at Philly Power Yoga. I took the 10:45 am 75 minute class with Troy (Steve was scheduled to teach but apparently he was sick). Here’s what I thought!
I miss hot yoga… I miss it so so so much. For me, there is just nothing quite as detoxifying. I was thrilled to try a new hot vinyasa studio (Bikram is not my thing). I was curious to see what the studio was going to be like. Since heated yoga is kind of a hot trend (haha sweet pun right?) right now, some yoga studios are getting a little too trendy / uptight for my taste. That was definitely not the case here. The studio had a really organic vibe to it and a very friendly / welcoming atmosphere. There were a variety of people, skill levels, body types, etc all represented, I dug it. Troy was SUPER friendly when I checked in too. He made me feel really welcome in the new space. I got there pretty early and gave myself almost 15 full minutes in the room to center and adjust to the temperature.
I haven’t practiced in a heated room for a while, so I was prepared to get a little light headed. I had two options upon entering the room, practice in front of a full length mirror or in front of the room’s heaters. I chose the heaters. I don’t do mirrors in yoga, it’s not good for my soul. We got started and I really enjoyed the class! I had two very basic intentions – sweat and lengthen, and I definitely got both. I wasn’t pouring sweat the way I normally do during hot yoga because I think the room wasn’t as humid as I am used to (DC and humidity are basically synonyms). All the classes are mixed levels at this studio so that class moved through relatively basic postures. Troy’s sequencing was great though and he made an effort to offer modifications for everyone.
I really enjoyed it and worked up a solid sweat. I left feeling rejuvenated and ready to race!
Philly Power Yoga was a great value for the price too. I paid $18 for a drop in class, mat, and towel rental, which is pretty good by many fitness class standards. There are even better deals if you buy a pass or membership. There is also a Pilates studio associated (Thrive Pilates) that I’d love to go back and try that out!
Questions for you guys:
- Hot yoga, love it or hate it?
- How did you get sweaty this weekend?
- Yoga or Pilates?
I love exploring new fitness facilities in the DC area. So naturally I was SO excited to be invited to an open house for DC area bloggers at Mind Your Body Oasis in Crystal City. We were all invited to tour / use the facility, attend a Yogalates class taught by studio owner, Amanda, and sample some food from Postmodern Foods. The studio is located in the Crystal City Shops and perfectly accessible by metro for anyone without a car.
It is always so interesting to see a business that truly growths out of someone’s passion. The facility is a one-stop shop for wellness including hot yoga, pilates, massage, acupuncture, reiki, and facials. They also have a special infrared sauna, but we’ll get to that later. I did not end up seeing the hot yoga space, but people were coming out of class looking very sweaty and I was VERY jealous (I ❤ sweat). We practiced in the other yoga studio, which was gorgeous. It was a nice open space with a very clean, unencumbered feel. Yogalates was really fun. At the beginning of class we took a poll and the vast majority of people were far more experienced in yoga than Pilates. We split the class about half and half and utilized a Pilates ring for many of the moves (which was new for me!) I’m really tempted to go back and try out a hot class … I miss hot yoga SO MUCH.
A brief tour of the facility… here’s the locker room (well, the ladies locker room. I imagine the men’s locker room looks very similar). There was plenty of storage space, towels available for rent, showers, and TONS of bath products. I love when places have little touches like hair products, etc. It’s so hard to be an urban bag lady sometimes. They even had extra plastic bags for your sweaty clothes or wet towels… REALLY smart touch in my sweaty opinion.
Aah and the infrared sauna. I was the only person who stayed to try it out but I had nowhere to be and I thought it looked cool. I LOVE saunas and steam rooms because, as I’ve mentioned, I love sweating. This particular sauna uses different colored lights and has all this information on the door about the health benefits of different colors. I hopped in for about 20 minutes before I got too bored sitting there. A full session is 30 minutes, so maybe I didn’t reap all the benefits but it was fun! Here more information on Far Infared Heat Therapy.
A quick peek at the spa services space. I already have a place where I go for spa services, but I’ve been considering giving acupuncture a try. I was able to briefly meet the acupuncturist too… he seemed nice for a guy who will stick a bunch of needles in your body 🙂 No but seriously, read here for the health benefits of acupuncture.
So let me quickly say a huge thank you to Mind Your Body Oasis for hosting this event! I had a GREAT time exploring the facilities and there was an excellent group of lady bloggers I had the pleasure of meeting.
I also had the distinct pleasure of meeting Kristine and Lexie (the ladies behind The Workout Wonks) and Sarah from Passion and Laughter. Fun story, Lexie is a former yoga teacher of mine and I had NO idea she was behind Workout Wonks. Other bloggers in attendance were Magie E Pasta, Planes, Trains, and Running Shoes, and A Knack for Nutrition.
I personally think parts of Arlington are tragically short on good yoga studios so if you’re in the market… give Mind Your Body Oasis a try!
Questions for you guys:
- Have you ever tried acupuncture?? What did you think?
- What sort of “extras” do you like to get from a yoga studio?
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?