Monday, May 16, 2011

Review: Gotta Yoga

Today's yoga adventure found me at Gotta Yoga on the North side of Charlotte. It's not too far from where I live. When Living Social offered a deal for new students to buy 16 classes for $32, I had to bite. $32? $2 per class, man! (note that their normal drop in rate is $15, and that package of 16 classes? $150. So...yeah.)

Normally, I go to RockstarStacy's home studio on Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:30am for yoga. On Mondays, it's normally hot yoga. This week we decided to change to Wednesday and Friday since Kiesha is traveling. When I checked Gotta Yoga's website and saw they had a hot yoga class at 6:00 a.m., I had to bite. From what I can tell, most studios just don't offer early yoga classes.

I arrived around 5:45 or so, and it was still dark inside the studio, so I sat in my car. I was thinking, did I read the schedule wrong? But right around 5:50 our instructor showed up, and then I noticed a couple other cars pulling up in the parking lot.

I had been at the studio on Saturday, to activate my 16 class pass and take a look around (they were having teacher training and a class so I couldn't look inside the actual rooms). One thing I like about their location is that they have two showers available for our use. Each shower room has a chair, and a table with a mirror. The showers have shower gel and shampoo and conditioner. They even have towels! Of course, I had my own towel and tools, but it was nice to know they had those as needed.

The hot yoga class was taught by Alexandra Arrandt. There were four of us total. From her conversation with the others, I could tell that two of them are regular attendees, and the other woman was new to yoga. She appeared to be friends with the other two. I asked her later how many people normally attend the class, and she said they usually have about 8 people.

The room we were in was huge. The lights had an amber glow to them, and there were plenty heaters to keep the temperature at 95 degrees. Sometimes I like to set up by the heater, but today I chose a space up front. They had all the usual yoga props - bolsters, yoga straps, and blocks available. Their bolsters were cylindrical and I wasn't used to that, so I didn't grab one. I did grab a block and a strap, but didn't end up using either.

Alexandra started class by introducing Erica, a teacher in training, who was going to be assisting her with the class. We started out with some quiet meditation and then got into some stretching. It was a little different from the flow classes I'm used to taking with Stacy. I wasn't sure if it would be "kick azz" enough for my liking. LOL!

She asked at the beginning if anyone wanted to work on any particular body parts or moves. One of the ladies asked for core, and the lone gentleman asked for shoulders. The newbie didn't request anything, and I had no preferences. And so it began.

I need to have a talk with that woman who asked for core work. We started out the class with boat and canoe. Not just lowering from boat to canoe and back up, but after doing that a few times, she had us "row the boat" - which meant balancing in boat and then taking the prayer hands going from side to side as if we were rowing, literally. My abs were ON FIRE! (I almost want to erase this, 'cause Stacy is probably taking notes...)

I didn't realize it until Alexandra pointed it out at the end of class, but we did no warrior poses except for airplane/warrior 3. We came out of down dog and stepped into low crescent lunges. That was different. I liked it. We even got to flip our dogs.

The yoga gods apparently are determined that I will have open hips and shoulders. Yesterday in deep stretch, we went into Eka Bhuja Swastikasana. What is that, you say? Why, this here:

(If you want to see the video of how to get into this pose, click
here. )

This morning, we went into this pose again. It was actually good to get back into it. With the 95 degree heat, I had an easier time. Of course, with my T-Rex arms (lol!), I cannot get into the bind without a strap. We were given the option of taking the other hand back to the smalls of our backs, so I did that.

I had forgotten all about Erica until I was in a forward fold, and she appeared like a ninja and pressed my back down. She caught me off guard for a second, 'cause I forgot she was there. LOL! It was nice that she had someone to assist, because we got lots of yummy assists during class to help us stretch. Someone came and pressed my shoulders down during savasana...not sure who, but it felt great! After class, Erica told me she felt me "melt" into my forward fold after she came and pushed on my back. Good stuff.

Overall, I enjoyed the class very much. I loved the assists, but I don't mind being touched. It definitely wasn't as kick azz as Stacy's class, but that's ok. Sometimes you need to try something different, to bring some balance to your life. I wonder if she took it easy because she knew the one student was new to yoga. I'll have to try the class again to see what else she has to offer.

The studio is a good size. The bigger room has storage cubbies for whatever you lug along with you, and there is also a storage bench in the lobby area. I definitely loved being able to take a shower right there after class. It almost felt like taking a shower at home. I did ask if they wanted me to spray the showers down with anything, but Alexandra let me know they have someone come in to clean the showers.

I have 15 more classes to take, so I will definitely make my way back there! :)


Monique said...

I bet your shoulders were thanking you after doing that pose.

Marilie said...

After, yes - during? Definitely something I have to breathe through. LOL! We tend to hold a lot of stress in our shoulders and our hips, and I know that's true for me. So any time I do a shoulder or hip opener it feels good.

sayitlikethis said...

Possible crazy question but does yoga only help with flexibility or do you burn calories, too?

Marilie said...

Nope, not a crazy question. If you take a vinyasa class you will get your heart rate up and you will sweat. Especially if it's a hot class...I had sweat dripping onto the mat this morning. So yep, you can burn calories. Now if you take a restorative yoga class, not as much, because you're in restful, easy poses and not moving around a lot. Any class that's listed as "power" class, you will burn calories.

When I get my heart rate monitor I will wear it to one of Stacy's classes and let you know how much I burn.