This year, one of the things I wanted to do is try new things in the fitness world. I am always reading and researching and learning from the other therapists and trainers at my studio. I also try to soak up as much knowledge as I can when talking to the great practitioners in my network, but I haven’t actually been out there to try what the other guys are doing in a while.
So I have committed to trying something new each month and to write a review about it. By no means do I pretend that these are objective reviews. Think of this as more my opinion as a fitness expert (it does say opinionated fitness guru in the title). Also, there may be things I don’t like that you do. I am not here to debate, just stating my thoughts because my name is in the url.
Yoga Loft, Gunbarrel – Avita Yoga
I have known for a while now that the folks over at Yoga Loft are almost as obsessed with alignment and good form as we are at my studio, Koa Fit. A lot of my private clients also attend classes at Yoga Loft, so I have been hearing about this studio and its staple class, Avita (formerly Kaiut) for a couple of years. In full disclosure, I did take the Kaiut class at the Yoga Loft in Boulder about a year ago, but since that time, they have change a things up a bit, opened a 2nd location, and renamed the class Avita.
Since their 2nd location and newest studio is a only about a mile from where I live, I figured it was the perfect place for me to start taking some yoga classes. I dabble with a yoga practice. I have an online membership with Gaia and like to start some of my mornings with their shorter classes, but I have never regularly practiced. I like the idea of “live” classes. It is nice to be in a space built for the purpose of yoga instead of pushing furniture aside to make room for your mat.
The new location is, of course, new and beautiful. It is bright and full of light when you enter. Our check-in process was a little bumpy. It seems our instructor wasn’t totally familiar with the software and it took a while to get everything processed through. Even though this was a bit unorganized, everyone who helped did so with a good attitude and a smile.
The actual yoga studio has a great, soft floor. For the Avita class, you do not bring your own mat, they provide the mat and additional props. Everything is set up prior to you walking in, you just have to choose your spot. The atmosphere is quiet and calming, really nice after a full day of work. I immediately laid down on my back, propped my head up with a bolster, and fully relaxed.
Our instructor started the class on our stomachs, with our heads turned to one side. We spent a few minutes at each side, allowing our necks to relax into the rotation. We then flipped onto our back and proceeded to add some shoulder opening to the neck rotation. We moved our way from head-to-toe, coming into a standing balance pose as our last “work” pose. Each pose built upon the last one and was precise and well-cued.
The class moves very slow (I affectionately call the class “Laying Around Yoga”). It moves slower than any other yoga I have ever done – yes, slower than a Yin class. I enjoy the slowness both for what it does for my mental state and because it allows me to soften into the position we are holding. However, I know there are people out there where this would not work. In my class, I could tell there were a few people who came ready to move and were a little stunned at the pace of the class.
I am a defender of the slow. Even in my training I am always slowing people down. When you are looking to break down compensation patterns and retrain your movements, slow is where it is at. It allows you to make micro movements and adjust your regular compensation as you move through so you can train your body how to move correctly. Also, sometimes your body doesn’t want to “let go” when you move fast, making it hard for you to perform a movement correctly.
Pros: A great class to unwind the body and the mind. Allows you to “feel” your body and slowly move into certain spaces.
Cons: The new studio’s schedule is a bit limited with the availability of classes and the instructor/front desk people seem to need a little more training on the software. My guess is both things will improve as the studio matures.