Shri Studios, 1047 Venice St., Longmont, shristudios.com, 720-526-2836
Instructor: Shauna Hylenski, of Longmont, who has been teaching yoga for seven years. Hylenski was a professional dancer in New York City who began taking yoga to supplement her dance technique classes. She went for the physical benefits but ended up finding spiritual and philosophical growth, which led her to pursue it as a career.
Hylenski has done yoga in different countries around the world, studied massage therapy and became trained in the Anusara style of yoga in 2011. She opened Shri Studios in April.
I took a class taught by Brie Michalik, of Longmont, who is a certified yoga instructor and runs the nonprofit Craft Yoga. Craft Yoga offers donation-based yoga, followed by craft food and drinks.
What is the workout? Yin Yang Yoga combines the gentle, slow restorative style of yin yoga with the dynamic flow of a more common vinyasa yoga class. Whereas you typically see a restorative class or a flow class on its own, this class starts with a "yang"-style flow (movement-oriented, focused on the muscular system, balance and strength), and then after the body is heated, it transitions into the slower, deeper yin practice (settling in, longer-held postures, focused on the connective tissue and fascia).
The yang component heats up the body and is more outwardly focused. It's a masculine energy, Hylenski says.
"That's where we live in a day-to-day basis. We live within the energy of our connection outward," she says.
The yin part taps into the lunar, female energy, she says. Together, the sides bring the body and mind into a place of complete balance, Hylenski says.
"We have those two energies within us, all of us, no matter if we are male or female," she says. "To have an experience where we're able to bring equal attention to both energies and draw them into a place of balance can be nourishing and healing to your whole, entire being."
What's different? The combo of the two types of yoga in one class.
"Yoga is generally starting to shift more into awareness about the yin: quieting, gentle, restorative. I'm happy to see that being embraced as much as the dynamic yoga, the strengthening, the balancing. If you can bring them together in one practice, it can be a really wonderful experience," Hylenski says.
In addition, the small studio (in a building behind a house) is unique. It's intimate and private. Shri Studios aims to work closely with other yoga studios and connect to the larger community, Hylenski says.
Cost: A one-time drop-in is $12, but new students can buy one class, get one free, taking it down to $6 a class. You can buy a monthly unlimited pass for $59.
Level: All levels, whether you are new or experienced. I found the class a four on a 10-point scale of intensity. The flow got me warm, but I didn't sweat. It was not strenuous, and I felt peaceful throughout class.
When: Mondays 9-10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 6:15 p.m. for 75 minutes. Hylenski says she prefers the longer classes.
"It's important for us as a society not to just consider yoga something to fit into your day ... but to consider yoga as a way of maintaining health and well-being," she says.
What to prepare: Wear regular yoga clothes, bring water. Bring a mat or borrow one. The studio has bolsters, blocks and blankets. Even though the temperature was set to 75, I attended on a snowy day and felt pretty chilly. I was glad I wore layers to take on and off, as the pace of the class changed. It was nice to put on a long-sleeved shirt to prevent my muscles from growing cold during the slower yin portion.
Muscles worked: The yang part: strengthening and stretching the muscular system, from big to small muscles that help with balance and proprioception. Yin: Once the muscular system is relaxed, you can affect the connective tissue, tendons, joints and ligaments.
What I loved: I think the combo class is brilliant. A solely yin yoga class is a little boring for me; I like to get my heart pumping. But after going pretty hard on my body for the past few months, the slow, deep postures were truly what my body needed. The hip openers felt great, and the instructor was amicable and approachable. Maybe it's just me, but I love it when instructors put their hands on you, and Michalik briefly rubbed my shoulders as I was sinking into a hip opener and it was the best part of my day. It also helped me relax my tight back.
On that note, can people just please rub my back constantly? Thanks.
What I didn't like: I parked kind of far away and had to walk in the snow to the studio, and I never fully warmed up. I did the whole class in my beanie. On a chilly day, a warmer room would have felt soothing. Plus, it's hard to find deep postures when your body is chilly.
How I felt after the class: So thankful I attended. My body was happy and did feel balanced when I was done. This was long overdue.
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