Feature: Yoga Studio Review

I’ve been playing with the idea of chronicalling  my travels one way this summer by reviewing all the yoga studios I get to visit along the way.

Of course, the success of this idea will depend entirely on how much time I am able to spend actually  taking yoga classes on this trip.  This will remain to be seen.

imageHere I am doing my very own yoga after a ride.  Ideally, I will be offering some yoga and movement after each ride.  The group seems interested, we’re all just still catching our groove, timing-wise. I feel like by next week I will be able to institute a pre-supper yoga class. 


So if you’ve read the last post, you’ll know that I got hurt last week.  A tiny rupture in an ankle-tendon that took me out of the game for a couple days.  In those couple days I decided to try out Charlottesville’s yoga.  And so I give you:


When I used the MindBody app which has become the industry standard for indexing fitness studios in a given location (standard yes– but I often wonder what hidden studio gems I’m overlooking because they refused to get on that conformist bandwagon), it seems Charlottesville likes it HOT.

Most of the studios were odffering “heated” classes, which to my understanding is less than Dante’s Bikram Inferno, but still a solid 85+ degrees.

A word about my background.  I received my first yoga training from Vira Bhava, which uses a classical approach based on Sri Vidya Tantra.  I mention this because one of the tenets we learned is that tapasya  (the spiritual heat generated by practice {including seated practices, not just asana}) comes from within, and as such we practice more vigorously in the beginning of class to generate the physical heat which allows our body to be more deeply in subsequent poses.

So I am always skeptical of heated classes.  But part of being a yogini is to watch your judgements, but not necessarily act upon them.

And heated asana is definitely better than no asana.

So I walked in to a very friendly and well-appointed studio. Signed in on the iPad, received my complimentary hand towel, took a peek in the room:

Red room already makes me think "hot".
Red room already makes me think “hot”.

Not bad.  Cushier floor than I’m used to, but pleasant.  A nice assortment of students, skewing towards university aged women.  I walked into the locker room and was again pleased to see a triple-filtration water dispenser (the water in Charlottesville had been awful so far), free lockers, two showers stocked with soaps  imageand shampoos, and I was particularly taken with this: A very thoughtful tray with the Holy Grail of things I always forget to bring to a studio: hair ties. (Yes, my hair is long enough– in places– these days).

They had me at hair ties.

But enough of the trappings:  onward to the actual practice!

For a complete change of pace from my regular experience– the teacher was a clean-cut, buff, man.  All pink and shiny, probably fresh out of (or still in) college.

We began in child’s pose, and there wasn’t an opening invocation per say, but he did have some lovely and vaguely profound words to share about the difference between asana and yoga; how one uses just your body while the other your whole being.  I began to relax and prepare for a deeper class than I’d expected.

However once we began moving, I realized that this was indeed, a heated, power yoga class in the traditional sense.  Fast transitions, repitition, vaguely drill-Sargent cuing.  Because I was nursing my ankle, I opted out of a few parsvokanasana-ardha chandrasana-virabadhrasana III sequences on my right leg.  (Maybe there was a garudasana in there too?  I can’t totally remember)

I sweat. A lot.  And by the end of it my chaturanga’s were nearly jet-propelled into updog, which was admittedly fun.  And while my inner wisdom says this type of yoga is much more exercise than practice, I left the mat happy, energized, and ready for the day’s next challenge– so I acknowledge this type of yoga’s  medicine for daily life.   Not gonna be a hater.

Plus there were the nice showers, and they gave me a cool sticker too.  So:  winning!

Like these reviews?  Stay tuned for more.  I hope to learn and share more about yoga culture I discover as I cross the country’s back roads by bike.



1 thought on “Feature: Yoga Studio Review”

  1. I LOVE your writings, and am looking forward to the next installment! Has it stopped raining? Wish I could follow along on a map… are you in Kentucky now? Do you camp most nights? Travel every day?

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