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Monday, September 12, 2011

Bikram and Vinyasa Yoga Review

Finally my review!
Last month, I had taken Yoga religiously to help get rid of my negativity and to focus on bettering myself and those around me.  I tried 2 different places.  One is in Staten Island, close to home and the other is in Brooklyn.  So here are the pros and cons of each.  If you are in the neighborhood, I would recommend each of them for different reasons.

Bikram Yoga Bay Ridge
What to wear:
Men-no shirt and nice littlee yoga shorts or jogging shorts. just kidding.  Hot Yoga costume (similar to a bikini but a little more modest).  Dress varies though: yoga pants, short shorts, tank tops, bikini tops, t shirt.  Be comfortable but get ready to sweat.
I went to classes at different times of the day, preferring the time slot of 6AM weekday or a 8AM Saturday.  But  I did go after work as well.  I think the AM class really jump starts my day in a positive way.   
The studio is a good size, room for about 40 people to practice.  I was there once when it was pretty packed but as long as I could see myself in the mirror and I was able to stretch my arms and legs apart to the sides during postures then I was okay  The room does have carpet which does hold a smell that could turn people off but some days that was better than others.  I have spoken to other people and they do prefer studios with no carpet but what I don't know I can't compare.  The instructors are LOUD and the lights are BRIGHT.  The room itself is HOT, 105 degrees hot.  But that is what is to be expected and I love it!  I do, at times, have trouble with lasting through the 90 minutes, in my mind.  But the fans going on at times and the door opening does help a little.  But what's to be expected, I did sign up for Bikram Yoga!!!
The changing area and showers for the women is a bit small.  While waiting on line for a very quick 2-3 minute rinse off, you are in someone's way.  I wonder if hey could have made the hallway a little smaller and expanded the women's changing area a little bigger.  Forget personal space here and abide by the very short shower time!  
Okay.  I took classes with 5 different instructors.  I preferred some of them over others.  Really loving 2 of them.  So why you say?  Well, I thought some of them were mean-no encouragement just scripted class. Then the other 2 even though hard core, had a personality!  I was not looking for the soft spoken teacher but I was looking for something I could enjoy and personally I like to be pushed but with personality. If not, then I could  just get the DVD and do it at home in my own heat.  So I asked if I could call and see who the instructors were for some time slots and was told NO.  I understand the concept.  Come when you can.  Come twice a day but do not come based on the instructor.  I am guessing that if this was possible, some classes would be packed and others not so much.  Funny thing is that the one instructor that I liked least was participating in a class that I attended and she had to stop during poses and didn't push as hard as I thought she would have based on her commentary in class!  Shows you that the class is for people at any level.
I have signed up for a package!  I liked it and as I go more, I learn the poses and Bikram approach better.  I also learned to stop wiping my sweat constantly for 2 reasons-the more you wipe, the more your body works to sweat; sweat is helping your body cool down; and it does help in better positioning for many of the poses.  I also learned not to drink too much water during the class because it does make you feel sick.  So a little sip here and there is perfect. 

This is a Bikram quote and it really sums up how you should feel after a class:
“If you can find stillness in a Bikram classroom you can find stillness anywhere.”

The Willow  Hot Vinyasa Yoga
What to wear:
Men-shorts and a tank top.  Women-yoga pants and tank top or shorts and a tank top.  Be comfortable.  Very similar to a non-hot Yoga class.
You have very little choice here.  Wednesdays it is offered in the evening at location #1 and Thursdays it is offered at location #2 also in the evening.  That's 2 classes total.  The time works for me but not for many Staten Islanders who work in the city, have families, etc.  Choice is always good.
Studio is a good size with room for about 10-15 people.  The room calls for 80-90 degree temperatures but I don't feel it.  This studio is used for many other types of practices, including zumba, pilates, and dancing, for example so the temperatures are probably cooling for them and the quick switch over is not enough time.  They provide mats and it is very clean.  Room is dimly lit with relaxing music in the background however the noise from the passing train really does run me off course at times.    
Both were very nice.  However I preferred the Wednesday evening person better.  She gave alternate suggestions for beginner, moderate and expert Yogi and showed each.  Her words are from the heart, not read from a paper.  Her vibe is what I had expected Yoga, in general, to be.  
I enjoy the Wednesday classes and will return each week.  However I do wish that it would be a bit more hotter.  Each time I go I get involved in more movement and examine and push my ability to pose and my ability to meditate.    

Here's another quote from the originator of Vinaysa Yoga:
“The more we sweat in peace the less we bleed in war.”  ~Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

This was my low level critical review of my Yoga experiences last month.  Hope you enjoyed and hope it helps you decide if these are the places for you!

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