As some of you know, I'm a Lululemon ambassador, which really means that I get to be part of an extensive network of fitness professionals. Largely consisting of yoga instructors and cross fit trainers, I'm the odd ball out because I don't own a studio and really just run. This network comprises of the kindest, most generous people out there who truly want you to have a great day. So let's start with Emily Breeze Ross, co-owner of Moga Charlotte, and a Lululemon ambassador. A couple weeks ago she invited me to attend one of the classes to check out because "we think that deep stretching and restorative movements in our classes would greatly benefit ALL runners!!! :o)" Sounded very promising to me, and I'm always up to trying new things. However, I didn't exactly start off on the best foot because I had to cancel on the initial class she had invited me to and then I invited Laurie, another Lululemon ambassador from ATL and now in CLT. Fortunately, Emily and her co-owner, Beth Lange, were kind enough to fit in not just me, but also Laurie, to the Wednesday night 6:45 Deep Stretch yoga class.
I haven't been to a yoga class since October 2007, when I did headstands and met my future husband for the first time. So, yeah, I was a little rusty, but it was deep stretch, so I figured it would not be super hardcore like the Ashtanga yoga classes I'd taken through high school and college. Laurie and I showed up at the Atherton Lofts, in a cute little two-story studio with the standard loft-style compliments--brick walls, large and expansive windows, high ceilings. It created a great ambiance for a deep stretch yoga class--the feng shui flowed perfectly. There was a small waiting area where Emily and Beth greeted us and handed us a waiver form to fill out, which took less than 5 minutes. We had a couple of minutes to chat, albeit quietly since another class was going on upstairs. Within no time, we all climbed up the stairs to the second floor to place our personal items in a cubby and grab two blocks, a rope, and a (traditional mexican) blanket before placing our mats in front of a convenient piece of tape to mark our places. If you aren't a regular yogi and haven't bought a mat yet, Moga provides mats. They were nicer than my own. The room filled up quickly and some people didn't find a space with tape in front of it, but still found room to place their mat. My recommendation: get there early if you want a spot in front of the mirror.
As a runner, I know that I should probably practice a deep stretch routine more often, whether it be in a class or at home, but I don't. So, I was nervous! I sat there on the mat, waiting for Beth to give us instructions on how to start out. She gave a few announcements about upcoming classes and donations for Christmas before starting. Fortunately, Beth took us through a nice warmup so that I didn't have to worry about pulling any muscles. I honestly don't remember all of the warmup exercises, but I do know that we split them up with downward dog. When we first started with that pose, I got worried we would hold it for 5 minutes because my arms have the strength of a 10 year old girl. Fortunately, we only held it for about 15 seconds! The focus was more on holding poses that focused on the IT Band and hip flexor for about a minute each.
After the warmup, we did various poses and held for 3 minutes on each side. We did a twisty arm pose and, oddly enough, this one was the most difficult for me. Most likely because I work at a computer all day. I didn't know my body could twist that way! The other poses focused mostly on the hips and IT Band. I think they were something like:
·One-legged child's pose
·And others that I don't know the names for
Beth's charisma and calm ensured that we all felt comfortable and were on track to do the right pose. Her cues came at the right time and encouraged me to relax so that I could go even deeper into the pose. Since the space is small, it calls for smaller class sizes, which gives Beth more time to focus on each individual and help get the students into a deeper pose. I think she came by to me about 4 times throughout the class, which exceeded my expectations. Personalized attention and care is definitely something you'll find at Moga, which will help your yoga practice in the long term.
Oh, and I almost forgot -- the music wasn't your standard "spa music," thank goodness. It was soft classics, think "Coffee House" on Sirius XM radio. There were actual vocals, which fit with the style of the class.
After Savasana, we opened our eyes and started packing up, only to be greeted with a shot of coconut juice! What a great way to end a yoga class!
All in all, I recommend Moga to those who are looking for a deep stretch class that is offered multiple days a day every week. Emily and Beth do a great job adding in little things that make it feel like your neighborhood studio. Laurie and I both agreed that incorporating deep stretch yoga into our running regimes would definitely help, now it's just about finding the time to commit to it.