Thursday, July 28, 2011


Ahhhhhhhhhhh..... I finally made it to another class and it couldn’t have been soon enough. Yesterday, I took a walk around the corner from place to Strala Yoga in NOHO. In just over an hour, I was able to rid myself of a nagging headache, general sluggishness, and find the focus I have been so desperately seeking this week.

Strala Yoga is known for a couple of things: First, its extra affordable classes. They used to be even more affordable at just $10 a pop but the owner has recently increased them to $15 (for those of us who aren’t commitment-phobes, there are better package rates available as well and even an unlimited monthly rate). 

And speaking of owners, that’s the second thing the studio is known for- Owner Tara Stiles is a former model turned yoga-practitioner turned yoga teacher who got her foot in the OHMMMMMM door by posting her yoga practices on Youtube! Tara’s nontraditional start foreshadowed her nontraditional approach to yoga as something, well, not to be taken too seriously. She focuses on yoga as more of a physical activity and less as a spiritual or philosophical endeavor. I find that, no matter your view, the practice of yoga takes extreme mental concentration and you really are “inside your own head” most of the time so I’m cool with her approach. I definitely left the class feeling physically and mentally more limber and lighter.

So, the class! Strala Yoga offers STRONG (that’s their signature class and is most challenging), RELAX (which is definitely less intense and designed to simply open you up) and BASICS (which is an hour of most of the “standard” yoga poses with a real emphasis on breathing). Can you guess which one I took? That’s right- RELAX. And oh-em-gee, bright idea of the day!

Brigitte, a gorgeous (honestly, perfect) French woman, led the class and started us off by stretching. Actually, that’s basically what the class was and I LURVED it. No jumping up and down to do a million Sun Salutations in a row (hey, that’s stressful for someone who is never quite sure what she’s doing!) We did do a few Downward Facing Dog poses (I can handle this all-over stretch) and several Warrior poses. Besides those (plus a few more poses that I can’t remember the name of because I’m a rookie) and all the stretching, the remaining time in class we focused on breathing. I swear, at one point, I thought I was candid camera or something because Brigitte had us stick out our tongues and fold it to make a “straw” (only some people can do this ya know- has to do with genetics) and breath in deeply through our “straw” and out deeply through our nose. I felt like such an ass… but I also felt relaxed.

Lastly, Brigitte had us lie on our backs to do various restorative poses (Corpse Pose, Reclining Big Toe Pose, and Reclining Bound Ankle Pose) for about ten minutes. She walked around the room and gave each of us a 15 second shoulder and head massage with the most amazing scented oil I’ve ever smelled, then we ended our practice and broke for the day. I felt… high. Seriously, lifted. I wish I could go back today!

Sooooooo, would I do it again? Yes. SO HAPPY it’s in my neighborhood!

PROS: This class is good for those of us who like yoga but aren’t that great. It’s relaxed and definitely a go-at-you-own-pace type of class. I’ve been sorer after other yoga classes but I definitely feel like I got my money and time’s worth.

CONS: The only thing I wish was different about this particular class is the core focus (or lacktherof). As I’ve mentioned before, I’m obsessed with core work and it would have been nice to do a little more. Then again, maybe it’s me- I probably could have focused on tightening my tummy a little better for some of the moves we did.

                  Ok, so who’s coming with me next time???

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