Monday, January 31, 2011

InYoga Center Review: Lo Flow Class

Today I went to my first yoga class at InYoga. I bought ten classes for $30 through a Groupon a couple of weeks ago and now that I've activated them I have four months to go to nine more classes. I think I can accomplish that. It's located on Laurel Canyon Blvd. on the southeast side of the intersection with Magnolia (5-10 minutes from my house!).

The studio itself is really cute, and the people who work there are really friendly and unintimidating. They sell some yoga supplies, healthy snacks, cute eco-friendly clothes, and extras like incense in the front room.

The clothes are actually really cute. I would have taken more detailed pictures but I didn't want anyone to tell me to stop. Heehee.

I went for the Lo Flow class from 10:30-12. I didn't really know what to expect or how difficult it would be. I have done yoga videos for a decade (and recorded every episode of Namaste Yoga on FitTV - it's awesome!!!) but never taken a class anywhere besides the YMCA... and those classes are stupidly easy. I had this image in my mind of LA yoga classes like the ones you see on TV shows, full of tiny, impeccably coiffed women who don't think twice about headstands.

The demographics: It turned out that at least half the class were in their forties or above, and there were a couple guys. Only a couple girls looked like bendy yoga freaks, but there was only one overweight person.

The studio: Because the studio is right on Laurel Canyon, there is traffic noise. But this is Los Angeles... so I think traffic noise is to be expected. The room is nice and spacious and pretty, and there are little blue dots on the floor giving you an idea where to put your mat. The teacher is on a little stage at the front, which is nice. I hate it when you can't see the teacher. Blankets (for your knees), straps, and blocks are supplied, but I think you need to bring your own mat or buy one there - I didn't see any out to borrow.

The Lo Flow class: The class started with a little meditation and saying, "Om." That felt a little ridiculous to me, but it was also funny because it reminded me of being in choir. Then the teacher turned on some soft music and lead us through various beginning and intermediate poses. We eventually progressed to planks, a warrior sequence, chair pose, stretching by holding the strap behind our backs while in warrior, and finished up with eagle and wheel poses.

What I learned about myself: I'm better than I thought! Some of the moves that were supposed to be difficult were easy for me. But I have a couple issues. To break it down:

  • We did the elbow stretch where one arm goes up and and the other one down, and you bend your elbows and try and hold your hands behind your back. I could do this no problem, hold it for as long as she asked, and do the warrior and forward bend poses while holding it. I only saw one other person and the teacher do this -- everyone else held on to the strap because their hands didn't reach.
  • Eagle pose was supposedly really hard, but I thought it was pretty easy. That's where you stand on one leg, wrap the other one around, wrap your arms around each other, and bend down. The hardest part was not getting thrown off by everyone else wobbling and falling down.
  • She warned us against trying wheel pose if we weren't ready, and I only saw a couple other people do it. I didn't know what wheel pose was at first but once I looked around and realized it was just a backbend I thought, no problem! At least I got something out of my years of being a bad gymnast -- backbends are easy!
  • My hamstrings and knees are frustratingly inflexible. I've worked on them forEVER and I think it's genetic. My dad has never been able to sit Indian-style, even as a kid. So my downward dogs are not very impressive. At all.
  • I do not enjoy the plank. At all.

The price: As I mentioned, I bought my classes with a Groupon. Normally, a single class is $18, except for the 1-hour Community Flow class (mixed Lo Flow and Mo'Flow), which is $10 for one hour. There are packages and monthly memberships, though. If you buy 5 classes it's $14/class, buy 10 it's $13/class, buy 20 it's $11/class. But there's currently a new student special of $30 for 15 days of UNLIMITED yoga.

The classes: The classes they currently offer are:
Intro to Yoga
Yoga Basics (beginner-level flow class)
Lo Flow (beginner/intermediate flow class - this is what I took)
Mo' Flow (faster paced, more advanced poses)
Community Flow (Low Flo+Mo' Flow)
Shadow Yoga
Gentle Yoga
Candlelight Restorative
Yoga Stretch
Pre/Post Natal
K-Flow (for kids)

Next time I'll try Mo' Flow. Maybe it'll kick my ass, I don't know. I just hope it doesn't involve headstands. And I'm definitely going to try Shadow Yoga, which is described as "a unique hatha class that incorporates martial arts."

In general, I liked it and I'm glad I bought the Groupon. I'd recommend checking it out, and if you're intimidated of LA yoga studios, this might be a good one to try! They have a lot of options for beginners.

If you aren't sold on yoga in general, just try it, and keep in mind that there are many different kinds of yoga and you might enjoy some and not others. And while I love it for the flexibility it imparts, yoga isn't just stretching - I always end up feeling sore in some muscle I forgot I had. And just wait until you're holding a difficult pose for longer than feels necessary. Your muscles will be shaking, you'll be sweating, and you'll admit that yoga is a real workout. ;)

Links of the day: 8 famous fictional archaeologists who suck at their job - including Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, and Nicolas Cage's Benjamin Gates of the National Treasure movies. Jason Robert Brown, e-mail fighting with a teenage girl over illegally downloading and trading his songs. I can't believe he wrote back to her so many times! A play-by-play of Mean Girls 2. I will never need to watch it now and I laughed so hard just reading this review. Seriously, look at it.

That's all! Hope you guys had a good weekend. I did - I got to see some old high school friends! Fun!

Do you do yoga? Have you taken classes, or do you do DVD's? What would you say your level is? Are you intimidated by "yogis"?


  1. Thanks for your detailed description of InYoga. Sounds like a good place to work out and really stretch. I always feel younger after a yoga session.

    Will definitely check out the links. Big ice storm today means likely lots of time at the computer after work.

  2. I do think yoga helps people look and feel young. Not only because it improves your flexibility, but because the multi-dimensional way it works your muscles.

    Hope you weather the storm of the century OK! =) heehee I know you like puns.

  3. Used to be really into ashtanga yoga for yrs until I got hurt, learned to listen to my body-the hard way. Studio looks like a fun place! There are a lot of poses that seem easy,until you really learn how to do it correctly & then the lightbulb goes on & you go oh-it def gets challenging! Enjoy your yoga journey!

  4. Erika - I work at InYoga. Thanks for reviewing us - love the thoroughness :) Please feel free to take as many pics as you want! See you in Mo' Flow soon!

  5. vko - Ahh injuries suck so much. I got on overuse injury on the elliptical and it's never really gone away.

    Kelly - Thanks! I really did like it, I hope that came through.