As of late, I’ve been recovering from a back injury I sustained from overtraining. Not being able to hit the gym properly has been really depressing for me and I’m limited to very very light cardio. Not even running. After a few weeks, I thought some hot yoga would help me stretch out some musle and possibly help my back. Maybe make me feel less guilty for missing so much. So when a friend of mind asked me to join her for 90 min hot yoga class, I was down. Boredom is modern day cruelty.
First Impression: I’ve always walked past the uptown studio, but have never been inside and it’s really nice inside. I was happily greeted my the yoga instructor Megan, who got me signed up and even gave me one of those little keychain barcode tags for future visits. Smancy. The reception area is nice and open. Lots of natural light. The aesthetics and amenities are uptown worthy. The bathrooms are clean for the most part. Although I know the instructors lock the front doors when class is in session, I wasn’t too keen on leaving my purse in open cubbies in the bathroom. You aren’t allowed to bring shoes or belongings into the actual heated studio.
Mats and blocks are provided if needed. Towels and water are available for a small fee. I brought my own and got set up in the heated yoga room. It’s actually quite spacious and I am, once again, at the very front of the room. When I think of hot yoga, I think of heated misery. Gaia is set at 93 degrees and it really wasn’t that bad. It’s warm for sure, but it’s not bikram. It’s like a normal day outside in Dallas. And a normal day outside for Dallasites is like 98 degrees and hotter. When I hear “hot yoga,” I automatically think it is an oven but it isn’t. The phrase “hot yoga” has a bad rep. I’m glad I gave it a chance.
The Class: This particular class was Desert and it was 90 minutes long. Desert is a meditative detoxifying flow. It’s slower moving vinyasa flow focused on stretching, twists, and stability. For a relative newbie, yes, that is a long ass time, but I really enjoyed it. I left feeling quite refreshed. If there were any movements that requires arching my back to much, I just refrained (mostly chataranga) and did what I could. I didn’t want to hurt myself.
The flow of the class went by well. Considering it’s slower moving yoga, I did get a little bored. There were a few moments I was becoming disinterested, but then we’d transition to the next segment of the class. Overall, it wasn’t bad for a 90 minute class. I personally don’t sweat like crazy, but other yogis were drenched and dripping in sweat so the heat was working them out. The upside to the heated room is being able to warm up the muscles a lot of faster than in a colder studio.
With the help of mirrors and neighbors, following the moves weren’t very difficult. I kept thinking to myself, man I’m stiff. For someone who is 5’0 ft nothin’, I can’t even reach my toes! Wah!
The Instructor: Megan is very sweet and is the main instructor for the desert class. She is very friendly and has welcoming voice. There weren’t any awkward or long pauses during the class. I think she lead the class really well and timed her cues well.
Who was there: All ladies this Friday evening. I’m guessing because it was a Friday, the attendance was a little scarce.
What I Loved: The moments we had to find that quiet inside ourselves were the best parts. It was incredibly relaxing to meditate and focus on breathing. I felt I understood the appeal to yoga a little more this time. It’s calming. Also, at the end of the class Megan, went around with peppermint lotion for a short neck massage. I was in heaven.
What I Disliked: Not being able to reach my toes, but that’s more a personal thing. I think I would be happy with a 60 minute class or shorter next time.
Difficulty Level: No one is expected to be like one of those pool noodles that can contort in all ways. Everyone is encouraged to push themselves and do what feels right. The class is mostly focused on stretching and just about anyone should be able to do that. Before the class, the instructor did ask me if I had any injuries she needed to be aware of which was thoughtful. I wouldn’t start off with a 90 min class if you don’t have the patience, but definitely check out a shorter class first. The movements are a bit more acrobatic and involve different twists and standing poses.
What to expect: If you plan on checking out Gaia Flow, you can start with a beginner’s trial for a week of classes for $15. Drop-in classes are $17. You can check for more pricing here. There are locations in Dallas, Uptown, and Addison. I checked out the Uptown location since it was close to home. Parking is also pretty easy with the garage and the open commercial parking lot across the street. Definitely hydrate before hand, bring water with you and a towel. While I’m sure everything is safe, I would leave wallets and purses at home or locked out of sight in the car so they aren’t sitting in the cubbies. Go light.