I have been looking for new fitness classes to try out lately, and I came across the Urban Athletic Club based on a blog post from Mar On The Run just in time. I have to admit, even the name "Urban Athletic Club" had me excited and their class offerings looked pretty great too! I was just about to sign up for the Urban Athlete class when I came across HIT Yoga. I was immediately intrigued about the prospect of combining high intensity training with the zen-inducing yoga, so I quickly changed my selection - and I can tell you I was not at all disappointed with my decision!
I arrived at the Georgetown location and bumped into a few fellow newbies. We were all anxious to see what this HIT Yoga was all about. Our instructor, Laura, greeted us at the door and gave us a run through of what we'd be doing. We set up our mats, grabbed a couple of light dumbbells and got down to business.
Laura warmed us up with some basic yoga poses and transitions. Lots of downward dogs, planks and chaturanga holds. I still question her definition of warm up as my muscles were trembling and I was already glistening within the first few minutes! We also used the warm up to go over our breathing techniques: inhaling and exhaling through the nose and finding our "bandhas". Not sure if I ever found mine, but Laura was very encouraging and helpful nonetheless. She constantly helped each student make minor adjustments to improve our posture and (un)fortunately to feel the pain even more. For me, she helped me to use less of my legs and glutes, and focus more on my transverse abdominals (muscles that wrap around lower abs) and open up my hips.
After the "warm up" we moved into some strength poses with an intense round of wide stance push ups and squats. I tried so hard not to take the push ups to my knees, but after 2 sets, my chest and arms were screaming for relief. Just when I was ready to take a break, I noticed the beat drop in the music, signaling that it was time for the cardio portion of the class. Laura smoothly transitioned us into jump ropes, jacks, plyo lunges, and squat jumps. This portion was tough, but also a bit of a relief on my muscles after the intense strength segment.
After about 4 or 5 minutes of cardio we were led into another strength segment, but this time with weights. Laura took us through chair and warrior poses while we did shoulder presses, rows, and chest presses with the weights. I'm a huge proponent of lifting heavy, but I was oh-so happy to be using the 5 pound weights by the end of this segment. I think I could have stretched for the 7.5 but I would have tapped out and went weight-free even sooner. Laura reminded us that every move was just as effective without weights. I did go weight-free for a few sets and my muscles got in plenty of work.
We rounded out our hour long class out with a yoga cool down (of course) during which we got in some unique core work. Who knew that lying flat on your back while pressing your with heels up to the ceiling could be an intense workout for your lower abs? What trickery was this? And something I'll never forget, was Laura's teachings about yoga and colon health. Yes, you read that correctly. Your supine twist can help move things along down there, or, stop things up, if that's what you're into.
All in all, HIT Yoga was everything it promised: a mix of yoga, strength training, and cardio, PLUS a bonus science lesson! I also got a chance to ask Laura a few questions after class:
Who is this class best suited for? This class is best suited for people who are new to yoga or looking for a new way of experiencing yoga and high intensity training in a complete body workout . . . The combination of yoga, isometric holds, strength training, cardio and plyometrics make this workout challenging, fun, and sweaty!
What is one piece of advice you would share with students? I encourage students to ask more questions. Knowledge is power. If you learn more of the benefits of the exercises you are doing in a class, you may want to do them more often! Come to HIT Yoga and ask me why I choose to start class with Legs up the Wall pose!
I hope you get to check out this class very soon!
Until next time, keep it moving!
~Sharita Jennings @ www.getfitlikethat.com