Yoga at a gym?! If anyone had told me years ago that I would join a gym for yoga I would have thought they were crazy. I couldn’t even tell you if they had yoga classes at some of the gyms I’ve been a member at. If I wanted to do yoga I would go to a Yoga studio. Not a gym. First, I like to do heated yoga and in some gyms the yoga studio shares space with the group exercise studio and you can’t have a 90 degree (or more) room for yoga and then have your high intensity cardio class after! Second, shouldn’t a yoga studio be private and dark and cozy?! So, in the past my solution was to get my yoga at a private studio. That is until I discovered (thank you Kimberly) LifePower Yoga which is part of Lifetime Fitness in Cary. I know you are thinking of course I would say this since I’m kind of employed by Lifetime, but I was a member before I was an employee and I joined just to do yoga! So, I am going to tell you why I think LifePower Yoga is the best yoga I’ve ever experienced. Have I ever been to any other yoga studio in the Peak or Triangle? Nope. But that is irrelevant since this has nothing to do with yoga technically speaking and everything to do with finding the best style of Yoga I’ve ever taken with the best instructors AND the most convenience (for me!). Let’s start with the practical reasons why I love LifePower yoga and then I’ll get all mushy on the actual classes and instructors.
Yoga started in my life as something I needed. I came to that point where I wasn’t getting away with my pounding body into the ground lifestyle anymore. To those of you who aren’t at this point yet please know that this is a very sad day. In Greensboro I went to a Bikram Yoga studio once a week until I got pregnant with my third kid. I will say during the year I was going I probably had my best fitness year. I was running injury free and competing in triathlons. I loved the “depleted” feeling I would get in a Bikram class and I actually got pretty good at some of the poses. I didn’t like that I had to pay an extra membership for yoga, that it was across town, and that there was no childcare. I also didn’t love that when I first joined the class the main instructor told me to just do yoga and nothing else for 30 days to see how I feel. I kind of get that, but I had just explained that I was there to complement my other activities that I loved very much and in general I think its great to have variety in your workouts. But, I will never take anything away from the fact that I realized how beneficial yoga is in any lifestyle and I learned that I really thrived in the hot atmosphere. Since I am not naturally flexible I found the heat to help so much. I also love that depleted feeling you get from sweating like crazy. I don’t know how to explain it…it’s very different from a super hot run…it’s a happily exhausted feeling. The really cool part for me is once I’ve hydrated I usually have more energy throughout the day.
After I had Harper in 2011 I went to yoga very sporadically. Without childcare I just couldn’t make it happen consistently. I could only attend classes at night when my husband was home and anything at night for me with three kids is challenging! Fast forward to moving here and suffering a few injuries I knew I had to find time for yoga again. I was looking at all the private yoga studio’s for classes and kept running into the same challenges. No childcare, expensive, and further than I wanted to drive. I was running with Kimberly when she suggested Lifetime for yoga. The funny thing is I knew she went to Lifetime, but had no idea she only did yoga classes there. She had really good points on a practical level for me. I could join Lifetime for just a monthly membership and there is childcare all day and tons of classes to chose from. Tempting, but I couldn’t past the the whole yoga at the gym feeling (mind you I had no idea that Lifetime is not your average gym). My biggest concern is the classes wouldn’t be hot enough and I was so used to Bikram that I was weary to try a new format. Even though Kimberly and I were new friends I knew my girl was very particular about her yoga…especially the hot room part. She wants it sweltering! I decided to give it a try and got a week pass. I went to a mid morning Hot Vinyasa class. I had no idea what vinyasa was and won’t even attempt to give you a technical description even now, but I will tell you in my own words what it’s like. I’m not sure how this is going to come out, but here goes.
Hot Vinyasa at Lifetime is truly a spiritual experience for me. Sometimes it’s because Lois (a favorite instructor) will say exactly what I need to hear in class and sometimes it’s because we flow to Beyoncé. (Never in my entire life did I think I would do yoga to Beyoncé, and that maybe over anything else is what hooked me). Vinyasa is a flow class. The instructor builds a flow of poses and then everyone moves to their own breath and rhythm. I instantly liked that and as a competitive person I liked the fact that I was very focused on my own flow and not my neighbors (who I would be comparing myself to if they were nailing everything…which most of the time they are….so thank goodness they are usually facing a different direction than me). In a flow style everyone is at a different point and it’s so cool to watch and be a part of. It’s just you, your flow and the music, but then it’s also all the energy shared by the group too. Lois is my favorite instructor at Lifetime with about 4 others taking a very close second. I have attended Lois’s class the most and usually when I leave the only thing that reminds me that I wasn’t at church or hanging out with my best friend is that I’m very sweaty. Lois always has a well planned technical class, but she always has something a little more. A simple story that resonates, or…and I don’t know how she does this… but she just says things that I need to hear. Things about patience, appreciation, physical touch and love. It’s all very beautiful and so appropriate and you are sweaty and moving and Beyoncé is playing. I mean really…do we even need anything more in this life!? This is what yoga does to me!! Obviously I need wine and cheeseburgers, but for one hour I feel like Lois and Beyoncé are going to save the world. Told you that might get weird and mushy….let’s stick to the more practical stuff for the rest of this.
There are loads of different yoga styles and classes at Lifetime! It’s literally a private yoga studio within an awesome gym. For the price of a membership that gets you access to everything Lifetime has to offer you can take all the yoga classes you want and stick your kids in childcare for up to two hours (yeeesssss). Last year Lifetime did a big renovation of the yoga studio. It’s spacious and super hot if we need it to be. I really don’t feel like I’m in a gym…sometimes you may hear a weight drop or another class going on, but that really doesn’t bother me because there are too many other good things happening (or I’m trying not to fall over in a balance pose). The instructors at Lifetime are top notch. Again, all instructors are highly qualified and while every class is different in creativity and execution the standards are always high. Please know there is also all types of music played in class😉 if Beyoncé isn’t your thing. I can’t beat the convenience, especially because yoga is a complimentary workout for me even though I can totally see this being the only thing I do one day. Did I just say that out loud?!!! If you love yoga as your primary workout or you need it to keep you moving in other areas of your life I encourage you to try out LifePower Yoga at Lifetime. And if a yoga studio is more your speed I’m sure you can find plenty to fill your needs. We are so lucky to live in an area that places a high priority on our health and wellness! Namaste:)