Yoga Pod, 1750 29th St., Boulder, 303-444-4232, yogapodcommunity.com/boulder
Instructor: Rachel Gasner, of Boulder, who has been doing yoga for eight years. She was certified in vinyasa and Yoga Sculpt at CorePower in 2010. She is also certified in hot vinyasa.
What is the workout? Yoga Tone combines light hand-weights and toning with yoga postures, to improve functional fitness.
What's different? Unlike other classes that combine yoga with weights, this is not just a traditional vinyasa flow with weights in your hands. The first 15 minutes and last 15 minutes of class were more traditional yoga, and the middle was fitness, strength-building moves (squats, biceps curls, push-ups, plyometrics, lunges), with some yoga-influenced postures mixed in.
Because of the fitness emphasis, this class tends to attract athletes and "non-yogis," but it is also popular with yogis who want to build strength without having to go to a separate gym.
"Nowadays, people often have to choose between a gym membership and a yoga membership," Gasner says. "This is a beautiful way for us to include, not only all of the different styles of yoga that we have at the Pod, but also a fitness-structured class that's very different than a yoga class."
In addition, the class is set up to allow the teacher and students a lot of flexibility with how they modify and adjust the class, based on that day's needs. Some yoga classes are pretty rigid about that kind of thing.
Cost: A one-time drop-in is $17, but the Yoga Pod does have an extremely low intro rate for a Boulder yoga studio: $40 for unlimited yoga for the month.
Level: This is a level-two class, according to the website, but Gasner says you could do it if you're new to yoga -- just heed the modifications. Although the class itself is easy to follow, it's super intense. It was one of the hardest yoga classes I've done.
Still, Gasner does a good job of encouraging you to take it at your own pace and level. One participant took child's pose for half the class. Participants were of all ages and yoga abilities, too -- to a degree that truly surprised me; this was really one of the most diverse yoga groups I've seen in Boulder.
If you're new to yoga, I would recommend taking a few vinyasa classes before trying this. And for everyone, prepare to work hard. I found this class an eight on a 10-point scale of intensity. Most yoga classes fall around a six for me. So it's definitely tougher.
Classes tend to attract between 10 and 30 participants.
When: Offered five times a week: 6 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and 4 p.m. Saturday. Class is an hour long.
What to prepare: Yoga mat, towel, wear yoga clothes, no shoes needed, water. You can rent a mat and towel there, if you forget. I would recommend a big towel for your mat (so it doesn't get slippery) and a hand towel for your face.
Muscles worked: Class is designed to increase strength, flexibility, endurance and sculpt the body. This is a great cardio workout, too.
My core and legs really felt it. Each class and teacher varies.
If you have just one hour in the day, this is an action-packed class that will be well worth your time, Gasner says.
She recommends bringing a friend if you're coming for the first time, and avoid drinking or eating anything of large quantities for an hour and a half beforehand. Also, always let your teacher know how you're feeling and if you have any certain needs before class starts.
What I loved: Wow. I have a beach vacation coming up; this would get my body ready for surfing in no time. This is a very effective, well structured and organized class taught by a highly inspiring teacher. Gasner has that great balance between hands on and letting you figure things out for yourself.
If you aren't afraid to work hard, this would be a great class to add into any kind of fitness regime. I enjoyed every tortuous minute of it. This is about as hard as a yoga class should be, without turning it into something completely different.
What I didn't like: I was not prepared for the amount of sweat. I should have brought a smaller hand towel. Also, I want to but cannot endure the trek through the mall before and after class. I do not have the self-control to walk past Anthropologie and not go inside. Maybe if I did more yoga, I would learn better self-control? That would make this a very expensive class, and it's already pricey, beyond the first month intro deal.
How I felt after the class: So sweaty! I was afraid I would be impossibly sore the next day, but I ended up feeling good. My core and thighs felt it the most. I did not achieve any "yogic bliss" or enlightenments, but I do think a few of these classes could highly enlighten my glutes.
-- Reported by Aimee Heckel.
Know of any interesting workouts? Tell us about them so we can check them out: firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-473-1359.