After my last experience in a hot yoga room, I vowed to avoid hot classes. Except, however, for the Bikram Yoga class I have wanted to try forever. But then I found out about Isauro Fernandez’s Ki Power Vinyasa.
I mean, look at this description: "The class claims to combine the movement and breath of Vinyasa with the grace, focus and physical intensity of the martial arts, as Isauro challenges his students to embark on a journey of personal development to uncover their authenticity through movement, mediation and mantra." This sounds like something everyone could benefit from. While this class is taught in a non-heated room as well, the only time to work with my schedule was a hot one, so I went for it.
Isurao teaches his signature class at Pure Yoga (both locations) and Earth Yoga. I went to the one at Earth Yoga. I’d been there once before – the only time I ever actually enjoyed hot yoga, actually – at a post-NYC Half Marathon special recovery class. The studio is in a convenient location near multiple train lines, and the environment is extremely welcoming. They provided me with a mat, a skidless towel and a regular towel.
The class filled up ahead of time, and I watched as the front desk turned away person after person. I felt much more comfortable with my decision to take a hot class; if that many people are trying to get in, this must be a great class!
Ki Power Vinyasa began with a meditation. Isauro’s guidance and words set the tone for the class as he asked us all to dedicate the evening’s practice to somebody or something.
The movement started slowly but quickly intensified into a true power Vinyasa flow. It was easy to follow along and everyone was encouraged to work at their own pace. In addition to familiar asanas you would find in many classes, there were also martial arts components weaved in, separating this class from the countless other Vinyasa flow classes. Isauro’s hands-on corrections turned poses I do often into an entirely new challenge, and I was grateful for his help. At times, I felt overwhelmed by the heat, but I was able to keep up and stay with the flow.
Good news for people like me who don’t love hot classes: Isauro opens the door a few times throughout class, providing a much welcomed burst of cooler air.
Because this was my first time at Ki Power Vinyasa, I did not know how long this intensity would last. I wanted to pace myself and began to hold back, only to find that the most grueling part of class had ended and the remainder of the time was spent doing poses on the floor. These poses are still extremely challenging, but the heart-racing section was over. Had I known the fast pace would not consume the entire session, I could have pushed myself harder. But that is true for all classes where I am just getting my feet – or in this hundred-degree case, my entire body – wet.
The music makes a lasting impression as well. Isauro’s fantastic song choices kept me going throughout class. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" set the mood as we transitioned from the fast flow into the slower floor poses, and I realized that a little birdie told must have told Isauro about my love for George Harrison.
I was thrilled that this class was a true strength and cardio workout. I felt my shoulders, arms and thighs on fire throughout. And based on Isauro’s devoted following and long class wait-list, I’d say that this method works.
At the end of class, as we rested in savasana, Isauro concluded the session with more words of wisdom, asking us to bring our minds back to whomever or whatever we dedicated our practice to. If you enjoy hot yoga, you will absolutely love this class. If you don’t, I still think it is worth a try in a heated or non-heated room. I have no doubt that taking Ki Power Vinyasa a few times a week will leave you feeling stronger, more aware, more at-peace and ultimately pretty hardcore.
Dori Manela is a writer, content manager and social media consultant. Raised in Queens, Dori now lives in Manhattan, taking as many exercise classes in NYC as possible in search of the perfect workout. She started Dori's Shiny Blog in November 2007. As her passion for fitness grew, DSB turned into a health & fitness blog. With the help of her favorite social networking site Twitter, Dori has connected with other bloggers, boutique fitness studios, companies and readers to share her love of working out.