While I’ve been taking frequent yoga classes to stay stretched out during training, they’re almost always Vinyasa Flow. One of my (somewhat) secret fitness fears for the last year has been hot yoga. Every time I admitted to a yogi friend that I’d never taken a hot yoga class, they almost didn’t believe me. Even in Vinyasa, I find it difficult to calm myself and to stretch out my runner muscles (especially my hips). I was nervous to attempt doing those things in a hot and humid studio. But I recently decided that it was time that I face my fear. Enter Lyons Den Power Yoga.
Image via Racked
Lyons Den, Manhattan’s only yoga studio dedicated to teaching Hot Power Vinyasa Yoga in the Baptiste Method, was founded last fall by Bethany Lyons. Bethany is a Master Instructor at SoulCycle and has been featured as an expert on yoga and fitness around the world. She explains, “Our vision is simple: empower others to lead their lives with integrity and courage through the practice of yoga. We encourage New Yorkers to be unstoppable on and off the mat.” The Lyons Den brand definitely has an edge to it, which isn’t typical for a yoga brand. And if it’s Bethany’s goal to give me courage, I must have been at the right studio for my first hot yoga class.
I visited Lyons Den in Tribeca last Sunday for a Power Beats class with Patrick Worrell. I’m used to taking yoga classes with soft-spoken female instructors, so Patrick was a refreshing change. He wore quirky glasses and didn’t start class until asking each student for his or her name and favorite music genre. The studio itself is beautiful. Often, Manhattan yoga studios are in the heart of the city and can’t escape the sirens and car horns. However, the Lyons Den studio is quiet and flooded with sunlight. One wall is exposed brick, and the other is painted bright red. I noticed the 95 degree temperature as soon as I walked in, but it didn’t affect me until practice was underway.
Power Beats “blends great-energy music with a fun, powerful yoga flow that will inspire you, lift your spirits, and expand your vision of what is possible within every breath and beat.” The class was a fast-paced flow that touched on many of the poses held in a Vinyasa Flow–warrior, lunge, plank, chair, wheel, etc. As the class progressed, sweat was dripping from every part of my body. I had to continue wiping my eyes to keep them from stinging. There were points about 45 minutes into the 60 minute class when I was fighting to keep my breath, but Patrick encouraged us to respect our effort and take practice at our own pace. My muscles, especially in my legs, were worn out at the end of class, but my body felt refreshed and stretched. There really is something to all that heat and sweat.
Have you taken a hot yoga class before? If not, I have a few newbie tips to share:
Wear fitted clothing and a headband. Wicking gear will keep you comfortable in a hot studio.
Use a mat with extra grip. Your sweat will make your mat slippery. You can also use a mat towel.
Bring two towels and H2O. One towel to wipe your mat, the other to wipe your face. And hydrate!
Remove all makeup before class. Because it would feel gross to sweat it all off by the end of class.
Don’t be afraid to take breaks. Remember that everyone in class is at a different experience level.
NOTE: Lyons Den Power Yoga allowed me to visit for a free class, but I was in no way compensated to review it on my blog. These are honest opinions.