I’ve been a frequent visitor to numerous yoga studios for several years. After a while, they all start to feel the same. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. They all have a calming atmosphere. The instructors are typically very knowledgeable and personable to each yogi in the room. By the time I leave a studio, I’m always in a better mood than when I first arrived there.
I knew this was all true for yoga studios. But what about yoga classes at a gym? Would the instructors be as knowledgeable? Would the ambiance be the same as a studio? Would I leave feeling better than when I arrived? The answer to all of these questions, at least at the Anthony Bowen YMCA, is yes. Actually, when I took their Rocket Yoga class, I forgot I was at a gym and felt like I was at a studio solely dedicated to yoga. The quality of the class, instructor and ambiance was all at the level of a top-notch yoga studio.
Fortunately, I picked a day when it was sunny and warm so we had the class outside on the rooftop. When the front desk told me told me to go to the rooftop for the class, I was concerned about logistics, like where to find a yoga block, etc. But they had all of that taken care. The instructor, Mimi Rieger (some may know her if they’ve attended Yoga on the Mall), brought a portable speaker so we could still have music during the class and had plenty of yoga blocks and towels for us to use as well.
We started the warm-up with a few downward facing dogs and quickly moved into a series of sun salutations and standing poses—the sweat got flowing right away. We moved through several advanced postures pretty quickly. But the instructor visited my mat several times to make hands-on adjustments and modifications that I needed. The class then progressed into some twists, abdominal work, seated postures, then into backbends and inversions. This was the part of the class I recommend not looking around the room (especially if you’re a newbie). Nearly every yogi in the room (except me) were able to do backbends and handstands. While this may be intimidating for some, it’s important going into this class (and any yoga class for that matter) with the mindset that yoga is all about YOUR practice—not anyone else’s.
The pace of the class made for a fun and dynamic 60 minutes of yoga. And having the option (on warm days) to do yoga on a quiet and peaceful rooftop is rare to find around town. For those in the market for a gym membership but also want the option to participate in quality yoga classes, look no further than this gym. And if you don't believe me, sign up for a free two-day membership and see for yourself!