Open For Fitness: We Tried to Bend It Like Bikram at The Yoga Room Hawai‘i’s Vinyasa Class
With all the Christmas drama-la-la-la-la-la-la over, we decided to give our bodies a good, om-azing stretch at a chill yoga studio.
Editor’s Note: Stacey and Katrina are at vastly different fitness levels (and ages) but both enjoy working out. We thought it’d be fun for the two of them to try new or interesting workouts together each month. This time they took the Flow 75 class from The Yoga Room Hawai‘i.
WHAT IT IS
The Yoga Room Hawai‘i offers a variety of invigorating yoga-and-Pilates-focused classes that stretch the mind, body and soul. The heated studio offers hot Hatha, Pilates and sculpt workouts in 90-to-95-degree temps. The chill studio, located across the parking lot from the heated one, holds vinyasa, restore and Shakti (yoga, dance and functional fitness) sessions in a nonheated studio. We took the Flow 75 vinyasa class, a 75-minute class that concentrates on breath and posture, ending in meditation.
HOW WE FELT: BEFORE
Katrina: I finally recovered emotionally from my last yoga class. And this one is open to all levels (read: newbies), so I knew I’d be OK. I brought a towel this time to keep the sweat out of my eyes and off my palms. Plus, I know what a tree pose is now. Bring it on.
Stacey: I needed a chill class. Shopping, soirées and story deadlines were making me bah humbug. And all of the delish cookies, cakes and charcuterie snackies I inhaled in the last couple of weeks were putting me on the naughty list. So, yoga sounded very merry.
The chill studio is a bit smaller than most yoga studios, but the class we attended had about 10 people, so there was plenty of room to make house and s-t-r-e-t-c-h. Of course, it being a flow vinyasa class, the people were very Zen, including our instructor, Rian Mokiao-Lee.
Foam blocks (used as support or to enhance the workout) are available. It’s $2 to rent a mat.
SEE ALSO: We Tried Bouldering at The Arch Project Climbing Center
Stacey: My position on warming up in a yoga class is indifferent. To me, a yoga class, especially a noncardio one, is just one long warmup. We started off with child’s pose. Katrina, how’d you feel?
Katrina: Like an idiot. Right off the bat, Rian pointed out that my mat was upside down and flipped it over. Aaaaand then my foot cramped. But after that, the first few poses helped me get into the zone and work on my breathing. I’m a shallow breather, which is probably why I hate endurance moves—it’s not that my muscles hurt or I’m tired, I just get out of breath quickly and want to stop.
SEE ALSO: How Do You Do Yoga on a Horse? We Found Out at Turtle Bay Resort
Stacey: After stretching our inner thighs and backs with child’s pose, we jumped into one of my favorite moves: the bird dog. You start on your hands and knees, then extend one leg and the opposite arm at the same time. Then, you pull in that arm and leg in a crunchlike move.
Next, we “threaded the needle,” another favorite stretch of mine. Check out the video of Katrina doing it! GET IT GIRL. This move is supposed to relieve any tension or stiffness in your shoulders, neck or back. If you’re a desk sitter and stare at the computer all day, this is a great, easy stretch.
Katrina: Easy is not the word I would use. Everything looked and felt wrong since it’s not a natural position, leaning on your head with your butt up in the air, but the longer I held it, the deeper I sunk into it.
Rian helped me get into position a few times and showed me where to put the foam blocks to make certain moves easier. He adjusted my downward dog early on so I knew how it was supposed to feel when we did it again. And again. And again. (It took me a few cycles of upward-to-downward before I realized that’s what “svanasana” meant.) It wasn’t hard but my sweaty feet kept slipping off the mat. I never know if I’m supposed to be up on my tippy toes or down flat. Maybe I need two towels. And a fundamentals course.
Stacey: I was sweating! I thought chill studio meant it was an air-conditioned room (it is not), so I wore a long-sleeve top. And, since it was a flow class, there are no breaks. You go with the flow and jump from one pose to the next. On one hand I’m glad I was feeling the burn; on the other, I wanted to hang loose.
Katrina: There was no slowing down. Things just kept getting more twisted—literally. I had a hard time going into Figure 4, balancing on my right foot with my left ankle crossing my right thigh. I broke the pose a couple of times as I tried to bend my right knee and lower myself into a sitting position. I seemed to be the only person shaking. Crossing my right leg over the left was easier, but then I was supposed to rest my right elbow in the arch of my foot and look up toward the ceiling. How is that possible?!
Stacey: My booty got off the ground when trying the bridge pose. That’s some heavy lifting, so I was proud! Rian tried to come and help me lift my body higher, but I was cracking up and (ungracefully) fell to the ground. He tried to be calm and not laugh, but he let out a small giggle.
Katrina: Toward the end, my glasses fogged up and I felt sweat dripping down my face like a teardrop. When we were supposed to take three more breaths, I took like nine. I couldn’t do the move where you crouch like a frog, put your knees against your forearms and lift your feet off the ground. I just looked at Stacey and laughed. So much for “all levels.” Neither of us attempted a headstand.
Stacey: Yeah, HARD NO for the headstand. But major props to the women and men who made it look like cake.
Stacey: We ended with a three-minute shavasana. If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you know this is the icing on the cake. This is the feeling when you bought your last Christmas gift. This is the moment when everything is calm and jus’ riiite. All you do is lie down, face up, hands by your side, close your eyes and not think about ANY. THING. Ahhhhhh.
Katrina: Lying on my back isn’t relaxing to me. I tried not to think about anything but since I wasn’t comfortable, I was very aware of my position, and the fact that I’d have to get up in a few minutes, so better not get too comfortable. But I did like the final stretches. When breathing in, I could feel my spine lengthening; breathing out, I folded my body even lower. I was definitely more flexible than when class started.
HOW WE FELT: AFTER
Stacey: Sooo-ul good. However, within the next couple of days, my right shoulder started aching. I may have bent the rules and tried to do more than what my body is used to. It still hurts. With that said, I still want to try the sculpt, restore and Shakti classes. The heated and nonheated options are super appealing, and there’s no mad rush to snag a spot in a sardine-packed studio. Plus, the staff and instructors are flexible (pun intended) with your yogi level and will help you find a class that works with your lifestyle and health goals.
Katrina: I like the idea that yoga contributes to my overall well-being and helps fix my terrible posture, but it doesn’t even register as a workout on my Fitbit. To me, yoga is what you do after working out. However, this studio is wayyyyy less intimidating than CorePower, and I love that the class was small, so if you’re a beginner, I recommend it.
Membership fees start at $69 and go up to $220 for a 10-class pack option. Drop-in fee for one class is $27.
Heated studio: 1120 12th Ave., Second Floor; Chill studio: 1152 Kokohead Ave., (808) 888-7588, theyogaroomhawaii.com
READ MORE STORIES BY STACEY MAKIYA
READ MORE STORIES BY KATRINA VALCOURT