Health & Fitness

By Erin Brady

The YogaWorks SoHo studio opened this summer, right at the corner of Broadway and Grand St, a convenient spot for those who live in the area or like myself, frequently shop there and seek a retreat from the crowded streets and stores. This studio is unique in that you pay a monthly fee to join and then as a member, you can take unlimited classes. The space, albeit up some serious stairs, is quaint and peaceful with three studios on the first floor, along with a small shop and seating area, as well as chic locker rooms on the 2nd floor. The ambiance is not warm per-se, but is inviting in its own way, and the bamboo floors and serene music echo a yoga studio in a far away land. YogaWorks is all about technique and my first few beginner classes definitely helped improve my form, with lots of props (blankets, straps, blocks, etc), and slow moves to ensure I got the full benefits of the poses.

The class I was most excited to attend is called Sculptworks, one of two innovative offerings for students who want to experience the same mind/body benefits of yoga but in a creative and inspiring way, incorporating elements of dance, Pilates and body conditioning. These rigorous, energizing, and effective workouts will definitely keep you moving. SculptWorks is a 60-minute class designed to create a beautiful, toned, agile body. The class helps to lengthen and stretch the muscles through resistance work. The class begins with a 10-minute warm up of stretches and lunges before moving to the “Great Yoga Wall,” which has slots to attach stretch bands to for the next part of the workout. These bands are similar to resist-a-bands that you may have used before, and while doing familiar exercises like arm curls, squats and more, your body is pushed to the next level. Gliding disks that you place under your feet are also integrated to provide a break from the wall and a burst of cardio. The class was unique and it was exhilarating to feel my arms and legs immediately getting stronger. It was an intense workout, yet I left with the same peace of mind as I do with a regular yoga class.

While I did not (yet) get a chance to try the other new class, called BarWorks, if you are a big fan of Ballet, Pilates and yoga, this is definitely the class for you. In this class students use their body weight and the support of a ballet bar to create flexibility and strengthen and tone muscles while improving balance. Each 60-minute class is designed to transform the body, balancing muscle groups to improve posture. Sounds like something most of us could use after sitting at a desk for around eight hours a day!

These unique classes will definitely leave you feeling toned and rejuvenated and are a welcome change from basic yoga. However, if 2010 is already proving to be busier than expected, pick up YogaWorks three new DVD’s that you can do anytime of day at home, or even invite some friends for added fun. The DVD’s: YogaWorks Fit Abs, YogaWorks Beginners AM/PM and YogaWorks Body Slim are created for newcomers or yoga veterans and allow you to create a completely customized routine at home. YogaWorks Fit Abs is a high-impact workout that uses interval training with the added bonus of core conditioning. You’ll warm up for 10 minutes of all ab workouts and then go into a longer Core Yoga Flow to sculpt your abs, whittle your waist and increase strength. YogaWorks Beginners AM/PM contains 3 basic simple and fun workouts that anyone can try. There’s a 40-minute regimen and then 10-minute morning and evening workouts which I plan to utilize to help get out of bed all winter and ease me to sleep at night. Finally, the YogaWorks Body Slim is a series of poses that flow together to build long, lean muscles, improve flexibility and really work up a sweat.

The YogaWorks DVDs will be available anywhere DVDs are sold and at YogaWorks Studio Locations. For more information and a full class schedule, please visit http://www.yogaworks.com.

Originally published February 2010
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