Westside Yoga studio (Courtesy: YogaWorks)
I left the barre and became a yogi!
Or at least I did this week, as I tip-toed out of my comfort zone and ventured back to the Upper West Side to try YogaWorks Cardio Sculpt (formerly YogaWorks Slim) at YogaWorks. The class sounded similar to a barre class in its description, which boasts an “interval-cardio style that has been proven to speed metabolism and aid in weight loss.” I had to try it.
The Westside YogaWorks has a completely different feel than its SoHo counterpart, which I visited a couple years ago. This space is open, airy, bright and colorful. Sunlight pours into the reception area, where there is a boutique with yoga clothing, mats and more. There was also a community area where people sat on couches waiting for their classes or just hanging out.
As someone who gets intimidated at new places (like sleek yoga studios), I felt relaxed in this laid-back environment. I also felt relaxed in the classroom, where students of varying levels surrounded me, including many beginners.
YogaWorks Cardio Sculpt class is music-based, and the songs alternated between the slow (like Dave Matthews Band's “I’ll Back You Up”) and the faster songs that aren't your typical Top 40 hits. I heard some classic rock in there, and I liked it. The slow songs focused on holding poses while the faster-paced songs required a quicker flow. Alternating the strengthening poses with the flowing sun salutations ensured that the class differed from other yoga classes. And setting these intervals to music ensured that I loved it.
I really enjoyed the variation throughout class. The time went by quickly and I never felt bored. Because I usually waver on my decision to take a slower, stretchy yoga class or a faster, workout yoga, I am thrilled this class exists because it combines both.
I got a good workout, but I would have preferred even more challenge in the sculpt sections. For example, the multiple chair poses would have been more intense if we held them just a little bit longer. By the end of class I was dripping in sweat, but I did not feel like my body was pushed to its limits. The class has room to improve, and I hope it gets even harder the next time I’m there.
I also would have gotten more out of the class if the room wasn’t packed quite so tightly. My mat was practically on top of my neighbors' on all sides of me, and one unfortunate student couldn’t fit into the room. She had to take class just outside the door. I spent too much energy focusing on not banging into the other students, which took away from my workout.
I do want to go back and try YogaWorks Cardio Sculpt again because this is the type of class that is sure to be different every time you take it. The best part about it is how accessible the workout is for both experienced yogis and beginners; I felt completely comfortable just outside my comfort zone.
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.