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?



2012 Fitness Goals

What are your fitness goals for 2012?

It might seem like I’m a month late, but hey, it’s never a bad time to talk about goal setting. I set one for myself for 2012 to work out minimum 2x per week for 30 mins. Some weeks I’ve succeeded and others I’ve failed (getting sick for two weekends really killed all ambition to hop on the elliptical). But at least I’ve got a baby step in mind to move forward. I’m tracking my workouts in my gmail calendar (very handy online tool by the way, I love that I can share it with friends and my common law so that they know what I’m up to and when I’m free!)

There’s a gym conveniently located in my apartment building, which doesn’t really make for exciting “Winnipeg’s best fitness” places to discover post, but once our mild winter passes (yes, it’s still cold for me) I’ve got some places in mind to check out *coughyogapublicough*, along with a couple of other fitness vouchers I need to cash in.

That being said, I’m off to do an hour of cardio/weights. My question to you, dear followers, is what are your fitness goals for 2012? It could be anything from “I want to try a hot yoga class” to “I’m training for the Manitoba Marathon.” Share away!



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.