Yoga Your Own Way
Yoga at the Gym
Most gyms offer standard yoga classes like Hatha and, our favorite, Vinyassa, which combines flexibility moves and strength-building exercises into a fast-paced routine with excellent cardio benefits. But more and more we're seeing national gym chains like Equinox create their own hybrid yoga classes featuring cycling, rock 'n' roll soundtracks, and even super-beginning classes to attract a different kind of yogi.Cycle In/Yoga Out
Busy bodies can squeeze in cardio, toning, and relaxation with this combination cycling and yoga class. Instructor Steve Hsu, a lifetime certified Spinning instructor and certified yoga teacher, combines high-energy indoor cycling with restorative and relaxing yoga for a balanced approach to exercise in his Cycle In/Yoga Out class in Equinox Fitness in Pasadena, California.
The first half of each session begins with 30 minutes of intense cycling. But there's no pressure to go beyond your boundaries. "I want students to be self-accepting," says Hsu. "I teach them to listen to their bodies and respect where they are mentally, physically, and emotionally."
During the last half of the class students stretch and do restorative yoga poses to release tension and decrease their heart rate from the intense cardio work. Since cyclists spend a lot of time hunched on a bike, restoring posture is super important.
"What's great about the class is that it's not just 'Go, go, go!'" says Hsu. "Yoga balances the high-energy and intensity from cycling. It totally makes sense to combine the two."
By starting with a high-energy cycling workout and ending with relaxing yoga poses, you can increase your aerobic capacity, build strength in your legs, increase your flexibility, and relax -- all in one hour.
"My students tell me that they feel more at ease and calm after their workouts," says Hsu. "They're not too ramped up."
Multitaskers can be zen too!Rockin' Vinyasa Yoga
You're more likely to hear Kanye and Fergie instead of Oms and chanting in this hip yoga class. Instructor Adam Goldstein of Equinox Fitness in Roslyn, New York, created Rockin' Vinyasa Yoga after hearing complaints from people who yawned at the thought of chanting during their workout.
"I wanted to tell people about yoga because it had such a great effect on me, but they thought it was boring!" says Goldstein. "So I decided to crank up the music."
Goldstein plays everything from Annie Lenox to Timbaland and doesn't use the same set of songs twice. Classes start with a slow song and breathing exercises. Then the beat speeds up as the class goes into twists and standing and balancing poses. Each class ends with a relaxation period in savasana, or corpse pose.
If you're over Spinning class but still want to sculpt and tone your body while rocking out to your favorite tunes, this class is for you.
"My students tell me that they never thought yoga could be so much fun!" says Goldstein. Classes can turn into karaoke sessions, but students will definitely see results from this power yoga class.
The name of the class says it all. You don't have to be a contortionist to do yoga. Instructor Tara Robertson created Yoga for the Inflexible at Equinox Fitness in Palo Alto, California, after noticing that many people couldn't take advantage of advanced yoga classes. So Robertson designed a class that broke down every move and pose so that everyone can learn and be flexible.
"I want students to ask questions," says Robertson. "I want to keep a dialogue with them. They can always stop me or flag me down in class." This is the perfect atmosphere for any yoga beginner or skeptic.
Classes begin with breathing exercises, because, Robertson says, "your breath is how your body communicates with you. If you're having trouble breathing it means you're doing something wrong."
Robertson loves seeing students get excited when they see progress, whether they're finally able to touch their toes or twist a little further. Robertson's students include runners and bikers who want more flexibility along with people who have never done exercise before, and many of her students have moved on to more advanced classes.
For people who are completely new to yoga, this is the class for you. "Give one class a try and see if you feel any difference after," she says. "If it's not something you enjoy, you can always leave. But one class won't hurt you."
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