Class Review – September 2018

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.

Outlaw Yoga

Last month I reviewed the Avita yoga class offered by Yoga Loft.  Now to the opposite end of the yoga spectrum, we find Outlaw Yoga.  This class is bold, fun, and moves quickly.  It is challenging and engaging, but really the hidden secret lies within Mark Stefanowski, Chief Outlaw.

Mark’s style is  a little “in-your-face”, mixed with a little “let’s play”, and a splash of “there is good in all of us” (and a heavy dose of profanity).  His yoga playlist contains everything from Johnny Cash to AC DC, and at one point in his class I think I could have twerked to some hip hop.  This mix of fun and challenge keeps you engaged and connects you to both the practice and your body.

Mark with the Bride and friends

I had taken Mark’s class a few years ago at one of the brewery classes he does to raise money and support the Give Back Yoga Foundation.  So I was excited when a friend of mine invited me to join her for a class with Mark on the morning of her wedding.  The atmosphere could not be beat as we met on a sunny, Colorado morning on a patio facing southwest with a view of the flatirons.

Mark started us off slowly, with an emphasis on our breath.  This lasted about 2 minutes before he turned up the volume, pumped up the music, and had us moving.  We warmed up quickly as he took us through a series of core movements from bicycles to planks.  All while listening to some sweet rock n’ roll.

The neat thing about Mark is, he is fun and exciting and gets you laughing, but he is also very good at teaching yoga.  I have never taken a yoga class before where I was moving so well with my breath.  I know every teacher talks about this, but because you are going to the beat of the music, it is easier to find a rhythm with your movement and your breath.  It is genius.

Outlaw Yoga is based on four principles :

1. Power – Work hard and be strong both on and off the mat.
2. Presence – Cultivate mindfulness in your practice and in life.
3. Boldness –  Be bold in everything you do.
4. Fun – Truly connect to yourself and the world around you to find joy.

The Bride learning to do a handstand with assistance from Mark.

Our class definitely hit all 4.  There were periods in the class where I was laughing hysterically, parts where I was very focused on my body and my position, and parts where I was pushed outside of my comfort zone (handstands are not my strong suite).   When class was over, I felt happy, inspired, and my body felt good.  It was a fantastic way to start the day.

Summary:
Pros:  Fun, challenging, and unexpected.  Gets you outside of your head and your comfort zone.
Cons: For some, this class could be too much.  It moves quickly and there are some very challenging poses.

Class Review – May 2018

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.

Revo Physiotherapy – Yoga for Athletes

I have been watching the guys over at Revo since they first opened on the 29th street mall, before they moved into a shared space with Black Lab Sports.  I was intrigued by their use of a movement tracking software and they seem to be as obsessed as I am with good form.  I regularly saw videos of professional cyclists squatting and deadlifting with electrodes attached to their joints while perusing my Facebook feed.  Needless to say, I was excited to try their yoga offering for this month’s class review.

And this is where it went all wrong.  Maybe I had too high expectations, maybe I assumed too much, maybe I just came in with the wrong idea, but, man, I was disappointed.

I arrived 10 minutes early because I knew Revo’s facility was located in a warehouse set up and I thought I might have a hard time finding it.  It took a google business page to finally find which suite they were in (it was not listed on the website), but I didn’t find any markings on the building.  I did find a door with the Revo logo on it, but it was locked.  I waited in my car, assuming the instructor was just running a little behind.  7 minutes later, I saw another car come flying into the parking lot and go around to the back side of the building.  I decided to follow, hoping I still had time to join class.

I followed man with a mat under his arm to a door around the backside of the building and ended up in some office space.  Glancing down a hallway, I saw the Revo space in all it’s glory – there is a beautiful turf section that is huge, a nice, soft rubber floor section with weights, and just a ton of space.  I was green with envy.  “This is more like it.” I thought.  This is the space I have seen on social media.

I entered the grand space and saw no mats.  Ok.  Turned to the guy sitting behind a desk and asked where the yoga class was.  He pointed and I started moving in the direction, around a corner, and ended up in an artist’s shared space.  I followed voices into one of the artist studios to finally find the yoga class.  It was a concrete floor, with paint splattered everywhere, full fluorescent lighting above, and it smelled like paint.  I have to say, the art was very nice.  I just didn’t want to do yoga there.  And at this point I was late…and annoyed.

Now, take into account I was already in a bad mood at this point.  I decided to try to let it go and settle into the class, but it just wasn’t possible.  “Yoga for Athletes” should be renamed “Stretching for Really, Really Tight People”.  The class was disjointed and rigid.  We did not flow one move to the next, but held a “yoga-inspired” stretch for a bit, came out of it, and then listened to instructions for the next stretch.  And remember, the whole time you are doing all of this on a solid concrete floor.

During the whole class, I was just in disbelief at how this “yoga” class existed in Boulder.  Boulder has over 30 yoga studios within the city limits, not to mention classes and workshops that are happening at dance studios, city parks, and even libraries. The yoga talent that calls Boulder home includes Jeanie Manchester, Richard Freeman, Amy Ippoliti, Gina Caputo, and others.  We have the Hanuman Festival for Pete’s sake.

Normally, I write a pro and con section at this point in my reviews, but I think I have already said enough.  Yoga is suppose to be a mobility practice, a strength practice, and a body awareness practice (and so much more).  When you have a class of people (there were only 4 of us, but still) who have bodies that are tightened down by repetitive use and then have them move into compromising positions and are guided by a person who  doesn’t have a well-rounded approach to movement, you are going to hurt someone.

Ok, now I have said enough…