Fabulous at 50!

Worked on opening my hip flexors in runner's lunge during hot yoga.

Worked on opening my hip flexors in runner’s lunge during hot yoga.

It’s a bit of a misleading title (I’ve got a couple of decades to go), but I wanted to celebrate my 50th blog post.

I haven’t written in here as much as I originally planned. When I first started, I was all gung ho about blogging, but now I’ve come to see this as a mix of a personal reflection of my fitness journey and a chance to share about my varied exercise experiences to help others looking for some local reviews/promotions.

The FANTASTIC news is I have worked my way back up to a regular 3-4x week workout by attending a handful of classes regularly through the Leisure Guide and Yoga Public, so my exploring (a key part of this original blog) has gone down a notch.

Not to fear, as I felt inspired to post after venturing out into my new ‘hood to check out Images Fitness for Women located in sunny St. James. They are (still) offering a sweet deal on Groupon that I snapped up for hot yoga–$49 for 10 classes!

I participated in my first class one week ago exactly, and have been back once already! Monday night’s class was called “26 in 60.” When I asked the front desk gal, she said it was like a Bikram style class. “Oh no,” I remember thinking in my head. My least favourite form next to Ashtanga.

Luckily, it was not the drill-Sargent military-style Bikram class I had experienced before at other studios. In fact, I quite liked it! It wasn’t intimidating, the studio was hot but not so roasting that I was dripping sweat on my mat every two seconds, and the teacher was in there flowing/working on poses with the class. It was an 8:30 pm class, so it wasn’t too vigorous either, with lots of time for relaxation at the end. I slept like a baby that night.

I’ve returned for a hot flow class, which was your standard hot yoga class. The teacher, again, was great at getting in there to flow and then pausing to demonstrate more complicated poses.

That all being said, Images isn’t fancy pants. I’m not sure what’s up with the ice cold change rooms that require a portable heater, although it is nice to cool down in there after a hot class! You get what you pay for, which is a semi-decent studio (it’s got mirrors, which I like sometimes to check on form), some props and solid teachers. You need to bring your own mat, or I believe they charge a $3 rental fee for a mat, which seems a bit steep in my opinion. I’d recommend the class for the beginner to mid-level yogi, but the hardcore ones would probably prefer a more “serious” studio I imagine.

Like another hot yoga studio I’ve been to, this one uses a kettle to steam up the room, which I always find humourous. This one wasn’t nearly as blistering hot though, thank god. If my experience continues to be positive, I’ll probably buy a drop-in pass for some yoga classes since it is close to home (I love walking to and from yoga classes like I used to when I lived in Crescentwood!) and the prices are wallet friendly. I think a regular drop-in yoga pass lets you try non-hot classes too. Regular class passes are $60 for five, 10 for $110 and 20 for $180–a bargain considering I pay $170 for 10 at Yoga Public (but it’s such a great studio, so I consider it a little splurge for my health!)

So I’m curious friends, have you been to Image Fitness Center for Women? What’s your favourite place in the city for hot yoga?

 

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Tip-top shape

coreMy arms are burning.

Yes, I know I disappeared again. The good news is (as you can guess by the above statement) I’ve been keeping up with regular workouts usually one or two times a week. This week I had three solid ones and as a result, I can barely lift my arms up without feeling sore. Since the new year, I’ve bumped up my body bar weight to 12 lbs, am trying power moves during the aerobics, and can literally feel myself getting stronger in the core area the more I go. It’s an amazing feeling and I hope you’re all on track with your own personal fitness goals! Did I mention I only have 34 days until my wedding? Yes, the pressure is on to be in tip top shape!

I’ve been mainly sticking to 30/20/10 classes through the Leisure Guide and the odd yoga class at Yoga Public. I’ve also been dropping in at Total Body Conditioning (TBC) classes through the Leisure Guide, but it has been hard on Thursdays with all the wedding planning appointments that seem to crop up on that day of the week. TBC are the classes I should be attending the most since they focus on building strength, which is probably my weakest area (although my flexibility stinks too). The class is an hour, where you’ll work with weights, a step, dynabands, body bars and your own body weight to tone those muscles (and leave you sore the next day!)

The teacher is super friendly and smiley, and has admirable muscles, so I think she serves as a good inspiration for the attendees. The class is usually pretty full since she does a good job and makes it a fun, welcoming environment. Case in point: at the end of the last session she gave all participants a 30-minute workout DVD for us to work on until the next Leisure Guide sessions started.

With all the fitness activity this week it got me thinking about this neglected blog. How are your fitness goals going? Any plans to power up your workout as we head into swimsuit season? (Dun dun dun…)

Flipped my life right upside down

Image

Yes, you too can do an inversion during a Yoga Wall Therapy class at Yoga Public. Photo credit: Yoga Public.

Well, this week has just been gangbusters in terms of new material to write about for the blog! Now I remember why I started in the first place, to vary up my workouts (so they don’t get boring) by exploring the city. I went to four different classes this week, so I’ll space about posts about them out over the next few days.

The most recent class I took is the one I’m most excited to blog about. It was a “yoga wall therapy class” at Yoga Public. I took it over lunch hour while at work, not really knowing what to expect. I thought it might be the type of class where you use the straps on the wall to deepen a stretch.

Never in my wildest dreams did I feel like I would or could be able to do “Cirque du Soliel” type tricks. I know they aren’t actually tricks, but that’s what it felt like!

Basically you use a padded harness around your mid-section/thighs/bum (it slides around your body depending on your pose) to help you “climb” the wall, which is outfitted with several silver metal “hooks” called P1, P2, P3 etc. (the names indicate where they are on the wall.)

A lot of people in the class were new, so the instructor spent lots of time explaining the basics and did a great job demo’ing poses, explaining how to use the straps etc.

Warning to motion sensitive folks (such as myself), you spend a good chunk of this class with your head toward the ground. The teacher leads the class out of poses to offer some relief from the slightly dizzying sensation, and also provides tips on how to deal with it if is really bothering you.

There are a number of times where downward dog takes place (with heels on the wall, toes on the ground), which acts as a starting place to climb up the wall. I literally did some poses where my feet were planted on the wall and I shot out at 90 degrees, and then from there had to use my core to root up and out in cobra position. I felt like I was floating; it was so cool! At the same time, it was challenging as my feet were getting sweaty. I slipped off the wall (oops) but no harm done. I just got right back into it again.

The other highlight was my first-ever inversion. I always thought I’d NEVER be able to do one (I still find regular beginner yoga classes challenging) and then the next thing you know I’ve got my bum on the wall, legs in butterfly pose and head upside down, floating above the floor. It was comfier then I imagined as I hung out there for a couple of minutes. I let gravity do its thang as it str-e-e-e-tched out my poor compressed spine (from too much desk work). The class finished with a gentle neck stretch as the harness cradled my neck and lifted it just off the ground.

Word to the wise: drink lots of water before and after this workout. I felt a bit funny for a bit in the afternoon (again, I’m motion sickness sensitive) and the water seemed to help. Also, my hands and feet go surprisingly slippery and sweaty, so I’d recommend bringing a towel.

Aside from the uniqueness of this class, here is why I got REALLY excited. After only one 45-minute session, I noticed a significant difference in not only my flexibility but particularly in my lower back. Afterward, my back felt like jelly and so loose–I could lean back so much further and with ease as I’m sure my spine was lengthened from the stretches and inversion. It was so worth the strange dizzy feeling to feel that in my back. I can definitely see myself incorporating this into my workout routine at LEAST once a month for my lower back’s sake.

It is worth the $22 drop-in fee (and I know this is a budget fitness blog, but I’m looking at it as a cheaper version of a back massage!) My fiance wants to join me in the near future. Stay tuned!

Friday night fitness

Streeeetch your worries away during a hot yin yoga class.

Streeeetch your worries away during a hot yin yoga class.

I can think of no lovelier way to end a work week with a wind-down class like yin yoga. I decided to take my first-ever yin yoga class post-work at Yoga Public, as I found I tend to prefer classes where poses are held vs. the super flow-y types where form is often sacrificed for speed/movement (I still do the latter anyway).

I was quite surprised to discover a) the class is mega popular as it was packed full when I wandered down to the 38C-heated room minutes before class started b) it’s a super slow down of your typical yoga class. As the class was only 45 minutes, it seemed to fly by super fast. Basically it was savasana, back twists, the butterfly leg pose with a neck drop, supported back bridge, another pose where sort of you sit on your knees w/toes curled under (INTENSE), then a straight knee sit followed by more savasana.

I encountered a major yoga fail moment when I kept falling asleep at the end. My body felt like jelly after being in the warm room and holding the stretches for so long…it was so nice and relaxing. It wasn’t challenging in a boot camp kick-your-ass sense, but I definitely had trouble following the breath, not falling asleep and checking my mind from wandering. I guess that’s why I need to “practice!” Bonus: I didn’t get super sweaty due to the nature of the exercise! This is the type of class I’d drop in for stress or tension relief or as a complement to my regular flexibility practice, but I couldn’t just do yin yoga alone and feel like it was enough to take care of my strength building/cardio needs.

Later in the evening I went on a skate date with my fiance to the newly expanded duck pond at Assiniboine Park. I haven’t gone since they expanded the duck pond or added the new washroom area with the cozy fireplace. While the scenery was gorgeous, I didn’t like how dark it felt while skating on the pond. I also bailed walking through the giant piles of snow leading to the rink. I think a bit of grooming in the area and some proper lighting would make it way better. The evening got me excited for a return to the River Trail at The Forks! We will definitely be hitting that up soon for some entertaining cardio exercise and pretty scenery.

Before I sign off, here’s a great article from Refinery 29 (one of my favourite websites) re: tips from fitness gurus on how to keep New Year’s resolution fitness goals.

 

First impression: GoodLife Fitness for women

Well, I’ve been to GoodLife Fitness for women (Sargent location, inside Superstore) three times now, which means it’s time for a review.

To start, the signup process with the wagjag voucher went smoothly although they did ask a tad too many questions for my liking (even the trainer who was signing me up complained a little). Still, I can understand slightly why they’d want to know what meds you’re on etc. in case you pass out. Special consideration might need to be taken into consideration when building a workout plan. We set some “goals” for my month there, namely that I wanted to get up off the couch and live a healthy lifestyle mainly. Bonus points for toning the bod.

My favourite part is the weight training section because there no men around! Strange as that sounds, I just feel infinitely more comfortable around the space and equipment without a male presence–who knew that it bothered me that much to begin with? They’ve got a quick and easy 20 minute training circuit on nine machines that pretty much work out your entire bod.

There are lots of mirrors to check on form and two mat areas for matwork/stretching–a must-have in my case where warming up/cooling down are a big part of the routine, and I also tend to pull out a stability ball around the mat area for various exercises. The club’s a good size and there are plenty of weight machine options, so I never felt crowded or like I was waiting.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the classes. I am a fitness class kind of gal but for whatever reasons my personal/bus schedule and these workout classes are not meshing AT ALL. And the one time I did set aside time for a class? It was 15 minutes late (the class beforehand ran super late)–ouch. Needless to say, everyone in the class was pretty annoyed. I took the cardio sport 30 min aerobic place, which basically kept me bouncing on my toes almost non-stop. I was sweaty and my heart was pounding by the end, so it did the job. The teacher was super fit as the entire class was kind of slugging it out by the end of it. I’d like to try another class. Most of them are 30 mins, some are 45 mins so it’s nice if you want a quick in and out experience or if you want break up an hour session with some guided instruction. There are several options on the class schedule and I’m looking forward to trying out some more.

Hop on one of many elliptical machines for a full-body, low impact workout at GoodLife Fitness.

Aside from weights and classes, there are rows of treadmills, bikes and ellipticals facing a row of TVs. This gets a thumbs down in my books as the more “modern” option is to have TVs installed on each individual machine (like at YMCA) so you can customize what you’re watching. I did a couple of 15-20 min runs on the elliptical until I got bored out of my skull.

The club has lots of amenities, including childcare, a registered dietitian, massages, tanning beds, a sauna (where is it?!) and pro shop. The change rooms are also nice and clean, which is also a good sign.

I wish I could comment on membership fees but the website doesn’t list them clearly, just intro offers like 14 days for $14 or three free visits. I’m sure I’ll get pestered with phone calls after my pass expires.

That being said it’s a pretty good little facility that doesn’t feel intimidating or scary. You can set up and keep track of your workouts on cards, hire a personal trainer and check the calendar for regular little events held at the club, like “girlfriend mingle” where you make plans to meet with friends there I presume.

As I have a few more weeks here I will be sure to update further as I try more classes.

In the meantime, here’s a link to teambuy where you can purchase a 10-class fitness pass to Lure Dance Fitness, 460 Main St. You can use the pass to take pilates, yoga or dance classes. Sadly, there are only three classes on the schedule, which makes it not so great if you required greater flexibility.

Boot camp update & Zumba deal

Join the dance party with a great deal on Zumba classes at Magic N Motion Studio.

Well, I just finished my first Sustainable Fitness TRX boot camp and didn’t pass out or throw up (which isn’t uncommon according to the friendly trainer, Ian), so that was awesome! I really like many elements about the class and am already looking to my next class (it’s the endorphin talking right now) on Wednesday. I won’t post more until I give it another try, but so far it’s a quality experience that both challenges while allowing people to work at their own pace.

I didn’t want to leave out today’s spectacular deal on dealfind.com. Already 541 people have purchased! You get 20 Zumba and Cardio Pump It classes for $20 (reg. $200) at Magic N Motion Studio. I have no knowledge and have not heard any buzz on the street about this studio, but obviously it’s got fans or curious ‘peggers interested! The deal ends in 8 hours, so hop on it. I’m going to pass due to its location, but the value really is incredible.

 

 

Back in fitness business!

Kettlebell swings are just one of the fitness boot camp activities at Brick House Gym.

My bad, I abandoned the blog during the move and any semblance of a fitness routine. To make up for it though, I looked up how many calories burned while moving boxes, cleaning, unpacking etc. here. So I haven’t been totally sedentary. I’ve just been subbing in housework for exercise. But that’s slowing down, the weather is heating up and I’m feeling motivated to get back out there and explore more fitness options!

I mentioned before that I did my first boot camp at Brick House Gym a couple of weeks ago. I’ll reserve full judgement until I return (and I will!) but let’s just say it kicked my butt. The class consisted of a bunch of bursts/running on an elliptical for five minutes (was tired by that point). Each 1-minute station in the circuit consisted of:

• bouncing and catching a 4 lbs ball off the wall as fast as I could in one minute per hand

• swinging a tug of war rope back and forth with both hands (it was wrapped around a pole and felt really heavy!)

• crunches while holding a 25 lb weight over my head

• walking across the room there and back twice with 20 lb free weights in each hand

• side seated twists while holding a 4 lb ball

• jump rope

• leg curls using an exercise ball

• jabs using three lbs weight

•half pull ups with a bar from a lying down position

•deep push ups (arms were on raised steps and you had to dip your torso below them and push yourself back up, so hard!)

•lateral jumps using a bosu

kettle bell swings

And repeat for a second round. I was toast by the end and felt like puking the middle. Ah yes, good times. I haven’t been back but I plan on it now that I feel like things are settling down at home. I’ve only got a few boxes left to unpack.

As for future fitness goals this week? I’ve made plans with my mom to bat around the tennis ball at Tuxedo Tennis Club, where I have been a member for the past few years with my family. It’s where I had my first job way back when I was a teeny bopper 17-year-old (and had never swung a tennis racket in my life) and where I first tried the sport two summers ago. I’ve been in love ever since! I’ve also put out a call amongst friends to bat around the ball casually, so hopefully that pans out with all this nice sunshine we’re enjoying. I’ll post more about this great affordable sport in the future.

As for fitness deals, this one on dealfind is hotter than hot. $20 for 20 classes at Shapes (reg. $180)! There are three great locations and Shapes is renowned for having top notch fitness instructors. I have heard the odd bad story about trying to cancel contracts with them, but since this pass comes with no strings attached then it shouldn’t be a problem.

There is also five hours left to snag a 10-class pass to Yoga, Pilates and More for $35 through Teambuy (reg $130). I’ve blogged about this cute little studio a bit here. Again, I find it a little strange that this deal was already offered through Teambuy but I guess the deal works for both businesses. As a consumer, I’d like to see some new deals appear!

On a somewhat related fitness note, you can skate ’round the roller rink at Wheelies with four family members and/or friends for $12 (reg. $24) (roller discos are huge in the UK, not sure if it’s got the same trendoid factor in Winnipeg) from a newly discovered group buying site called StealtheDeal.com. You know you want to relive those old patrol* days!

(*Former school patrols in the 90s will know what I’m talking about).

Two Practices, One Peg City Yoga Studio

Going with the flow at Peg City Yoga.

I’m currently taking a break from packing (it never ends!) and royal watching to jot down my thoughts about Peg City Yoga, a studio I’ve attended a few times through Passport to Prana & the Lifestyle Pass. Thanks to these awesome programs (read about Passport to Prana here), Peg City Yoga is one of my favourite discoveries.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Lifestyle Pass, it’s a $40 pass, that guides Winnipeggers to local businesses offering the best of the best lifestyle experiences from clothing to food to spa to fitness. There are great discounts to be had in this pass, from 2 for 1 for the hamam at Ten Spa to discounted fitness passes at places like Pilates Manitoba. For details on where to pick up this must-have coupon book, click here.

Back to the review, here’s a breakdown on this studio based on my few visits.

Who: Peg City Yoga

Where: On the second floor of a business on Osborne, 1/2 – 213 Osborne St (love the free parking at the back!)

Style: Took Flow Yoga and Slow Flow

Best for: Yogis comfortable with the basics will comfortably transition into slow flow. There isn’t a ton of time spent on demonstration, so it might not be the best choice if you aren’t familiar with proper form. Flow yoga is best for those who want a real challenge and invigorating workout. The studio is warm, but not hot.

Studio: Neatly tucked away on the second floor in an older building, this yoga studio ticks all the boxes in the cute, cozy and character catagories. The studio has a vintage vibe, as one can tell from the cool embossed ceiling. Plants and zen-like decor accents at the front of the room are pleasant touches.  The hardwood floors are nice, until you end up on a creaky spot. If you can find the sweet non-squeaky spot, it’s a lovely space to practice in.  The major pitfall is the itty bitty changing rooms that can’t accommodate an entire class. It’s cramped and crowded, so if you can, change at home where you won’t be elbowing your neighbour.

Vibe: Right from the intro at the front desk, the vibe is really laid-back and chilled, but make no mistake, the instructors and yogis are serious about their practice. Looking around during the class, there didn’t seem to to be any brand spanking new beginner types. Everyone worked at their own level of course, but I could sense that everyone had been doing this for awhile and appeared to be loyal to the studio judging from snippits of conversations. The instructors typically sign everyone in and were all really friendly and encouraging to new visitors to the studio, a must if you want people to return!

Cost: Used my Passport to Prana card/Lifestyle Pass. For non-cardholders, there’s a one-month intro deal for $59.99 and three months for $159.99 (seniors and students receive 10% off). Otherwise it’s a $15 drop-in fee, 1 month for $99.99, 3 month 279.99 , 5 classes $59.99, 10 classes $109.99, 15 classes $149.99.

Experience: I have mixed reviews on my practices, one of them because I was in a class that was too advanced. I was expecting a slow flow class, so I wasn’t mentally prepared for it. That being said, I heard grumblings in the change room and among my colleagues about the difficulty of that class, which was only rated at 2-star (beginning/continuing). My big gripe about the class was the lack of intention setting. After a quick warm-up, the class immediately launched into a side plank with a leg hovering. Two points of balance right off the hop? Not cool! Of course I kept shaking holding the pose and modified to suit my body’s ability. I felt frustrated and annoyed the whole class after that. Again, I looked up the wrong class so it was partially my own fault for coming in with different expectations, but I also don’t think that side plank, or many of the moves, would be considered beginner, which is how the class was partially labeled. Beginner options should have been offered, which they weren’t.

That being said, my practice previous to the frustrating one was incredible. The instructor passed out chanting scripts, something I had never done before. I did the “om” at the beginning and was just open to the chanting bit. Didn’t feel comfortable jumping in since I didn’t know the words or tune, but pretty much everyone else was into it. Everyone followed a series of flow moves after that at their own pace and it flew by. I’ll never forget how relaxed I felt at the end of that slow flow, where I practically melted into the mat after the instructor placed a blanket on everyone in savasana.

Overall I’d give the studio a pretty good rating though. I’d like to go back there at some point, but for now I’ve got more places to explore!

Up next? Brickhouse Gym fitness boot camp. Let’s just say I almost threw up after round one. Here’s hoping I get in better shape soon!

Three visits to YMCA downtown

Take a spin at the YMCA downtown.

Whew, long time no post! That’s because I’ve been busy sweating up a storm at YMCA downtown. I’m currently taking advantage of a free two-week trial as part of CBC’s Live Right Now promotion.

To sign up, all you have to do is print out your profile page (register on cbc.ca), present it to your Y location of choice and the YMCA staff hand over an application form to fill out. The card printer was broken when I went, but they were good about lending me a temporary card so that I could use the lockers.

My first visit was last Friday, where I did some work with weights. Navigating the massive three-floor gym & change room was a bit intimidating at first, but at least there’s lots to look at and it gives you a pretty awesome idea about all the activities available at this location.

Visit #1: I did my usual three laps of brisk walking around the track to get my heart rate up. It overlooks the rows of equipment on the second floor and the uber busy gym full of adolescent boys playing basketball. Next, I ventured into the male-dominated weights area (I think I was the only female there at the time!) and found a set of 5 lb weights, nice. I tucked myself into a little corner under the stairs where I found my old faithful, the bosu, and did a short series of exercises that left me quite sore the next day (my own fault for not stretching properly!) It was all fine and good, if a little cramped, except some of the people pumping iron around me were a little odd (ie. one guy making LOUD grunting noises  every time he lifted the barbell, and another guy who didn’t understand the concept of deodorant). As a car owner, I had to cut my workout short and rush back to the car before my parking expired, one downside to visiting the downtown Y…unless the Y offers free parking somewhere and I’m oblivious. Enlighten me!

Visit #2: Despite my extreme lack of motivation from “springing forward,” I bit the bullet and opted for some stretching and cardio on one of the elliptical machines last Sunday. They were really clean, modern and easy to use. I *LOVE* that most of them had a personal tv set attached to each machine. The time seemed to fly by as I indulged in Slice, CBC’s doc zone and the Food Network. The treadmills, stationary bikes, ellipticals, arc trainers etc. are all clumped together, which is a little uncomfortable at first (if you’re sensitive about personal space!), but once you get into your own zone it’s all good from there. When I was stretching before & after, I noticed there is a large supply of exercise balls, bosus and tubing that looked like they were in good condition. I think the gym could use a wee bit more space for stretching and some more mats, since it seems to be a popular area.

Visit #3: I decided to challenge myself and take a spin class (an instructor-led workout on a stationary bike where you pedal standing up/sitting down at various intensities) for my first time ever yesterday. I’ve heard they are murder and have always shied away from the sweaty, cardio-heavy workout, but this blog is all about exploring different fitness avenues. The Y staff were really friendly about pointing me in the direction of the class and suggested I chat to the teacher before starting. The instructor went through proper bike set up before cranking up the music to this invigorating workout. I’m used to taking classes in a separate studio at the gym, but here, it’s held in the main equipment area. There were definitely a lot of curious exercisers watching our class as we went. I took it easy on the tension at first, unsure of my personal cardio stamina. I lasted the whole class (a number of people clock out before the finish) and toward the end started really cranking up the intensity to match the teacher’s pace. She followed up with me again after the class to see what I thought, which was awesome. I quite enjoyed it (even though my rear is super sore today!) and would go again just to mix it up! I highly recommend trying it for some variety and if you want to sculpt your pins for the not-so-far-away shorts & swimsuit season.

Overall? Loving the Y so far! I’d like to try the pool this weekend. There is so much to do and membership is only $39 a month for adults. I’m also told the rate can be reduced if you’re a low income-earner, making it an excellent affordable fitness option in Winnipeg.

Moksha to the Max

Hot yoga haven at Moksha Yoga Kildonan

The journey with the Passport to Prana card (read this post for program background) continued last weekend with a challenging 90-minute hot yoga class in a brand new studio. First impressions listed below.

Who: Moksha Yoga Kildonan

Where: In a strip mall next to the giant Safeway. 440-1615 Regent Avenue West.

Style: 90-min Moksha class.

Time: 10-11:30 AM, Saturdays

Best for: Hot yoga fanatics that want to work on a specific series of poses. Avoid if this is your first time and you’re wary of the heat. There are shorter classes available.

Studio: This brand spanking new studio, unfortunately, has an awkward layout. There are a couple of wooden benches to rest your bags on while you take off boots/etc. at the entrance but they definitely don’t have that “chill and stay awhile” lounge (typically stocked with magazines and couches) found in other yoga studios. While the hot yoga room is quite large, foot traffic in and out of the change rooms and practice area are forced to squeeze by each other in a narrow hallway. I’d guesstimate around 30 people fit in the room comfortably. Floor-to-ceiling mirrors, beige walls, cork flooring and dimming lights pretty much sum up the practice room’s austere look.

Vibe: Ever seen those documentaries about schools of fish where they all stick together and follow each other? That’s what it feels like to be in this large class. It’s awesome if you just want to blend in (I typically fall into this camp!), but not ideal if you want a space in the mirror to check on form here and there (as was my case). The space is minimalist, the yogis are of all levels, and the teacher is informative.

Cost: Used my Passport to Prana card. For non-cardholders, there’s a value-packed introductory deal ($40) for one month available to first-time members. Otherwise you’re looking at $17 for drop-in (ouch), $140 for 10 classes or $170 for one month unlimited. Lots of options depending on how often you want to Moksha it up.

Experience: Some of the ladies scurrying into the change room from the earlier class said the studio wasn’t super “hot.” It is, but I could see what they meant as it took me a lot longer to start sweating than usual (I liked this!) Insider tip: a couple of ladies piped in and said evening classes are much hotter as the studio retains heat from earlier classes.

The instructor did a fantastic job demonstrating and dishing out tips and tricks for each pose. The extra-long class covered the gamut, from standing to balancing to mat poses with plenty of time for savasana. My only tiny criticism is sometimes she would say things like, “Don’t think about what you’re going to have for lunch,” and then I’d start thinking about it. It took me out of the space, which was the exact opposite of her intention. A simple reminder to stay with the breath would have sufficed.

One more tip, avoid sitting by the light switches if you are easily distracted as they are adjusted throughout the class.

Bonus: Lots of parking room and a Starbucks just doors down (the studio started to smell like coffee at the end, or else I was hallucinating). Perfect for that reflective latte to-go for the drive home.

I’m giving the studio another go with my newly acquired Lifestyle Pass.