I credit taking yoga and Pilates classes for my flexibility and core strength, so I pounced on the opportunity to try out an Ashtanga yoga class at Life Yoga Center a few weeks ago.
The brainchild of my namesake Noelle Rodriguez, Life Yoga Center (stylized as “L!FE”) offers a different way to experience wellness by integrating good food, music, art, and community into the practice of yoga.
It’s certainly different from other yoga studios I’ve been to, with its quirky art displays and floor layout. There are two studios: one glassed-in for hot yoga classes, and the other just above it in the loft cooled by large overhead fans.
The yoga classes offered are diverse, catering to different styles and practices. Some are more physical, while others are more meditative.
I took the Ash-Asana class taught by Ryan on Thursday evenings. Ashtanga yoga dynamically links breath and a set series of poses and vinyasas (poses that flow from one into another). Ash-Asana is a great way to get into this practice whether you’re a beginner or have been practicing yoga for years.
In the class I attended, there were many people new to the practice of yoga but Ryan made sure everyone felt at ease and showed ways to modify challenging movements like Low Plank and how to engage your bandhas for core stability. He also had a fun and rock ‘n’ roll attitude to instructing: educated and informative, but totally not formal and stiff. I could tell he was teaching from a place of authenticity and that yoga was something he loved and wanted to share.
Even if you’ve never had experience taking a yoga class, the poses and sequences are pretty simple — no pretzel shapes! The sequence is designed to realign the spine, build strength, and improve balance, flexibility, and stamina. In all it was a great 75 minutes where I moved, stretched, got strengthened, got adjusted (Ashtanga teachers make gentle adjustments to your poses using their hands), and worked up some serious sweat!
(Note: The class starts and ends with chanting “Om” which can be disconcerting for those who are used to a more secular practice of yoga.)
Vibe Cafe is right next door and its floor area flows into Life Yoga Center. They serve juice, tea, coffee, and healthy refreshment such as sandwiches, salads, granola bars, and cookies. These days junk and fast food are so readily accessible while more healthful options are difficult to come by. I can’t tell you how many times after a great yoga class I’ve felt like being mindful about the things I put into my body.
The cafe is also a great place for yogis to congregate before or after the class, really fostering a community.
I always have to strike a balance between building strength and speed to move forward faster through the water and on the roads, and maintaining flexibility and mobility to avoid injury. How much yoga do I actually do in a week? Answer: not nearly enough — but that’s because I’m lazy at self-practice. Gotta get myself to a class instead. :)
Life Yoga Center recommends their Ash-Asana and Feel Good Flow classes for runners and triathletes. Check out their website lifeyogacenter.com for their rates or drop in at the second floor, Eight Forbestown Road, Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City.