Crash Course: Jivamukti is a type of hatha yoga that incorporates flowing vinyasa sequences, sanskrit chanting, meditation, hands-on adjustments, and yogic teachings set to uplifting music. Be prepared to begin class with chanting along with a harmonium, and for the yoga sequences to come with a heaping side of philosophy. Music ranges from current hits to Krishna Das. It was a deeply insightful, thought provoking, interesting class – and the yoga was great too. Click here for the full schedule of classes at Flow.
bring: mat, towel
perks: mat rental, mat storage available, free tea and cookies offered
sweat score: 5 out of 10 [/left][right]wear: something you can go up-side-down in
instructor: Krista Block
cost: drop in rate is $18*[/right] [line]
Flow Yoga Center is located in Logan Circle next to the bustling Whole Foods Market. If you don’t see it right away, look for the sign for Best-In Liquors and then look up. The studio is located in the second floor loft of that building, up a steep flight of stairs.
The stairs will take you to the main floor of the studio, which was crowded and bustling with students when I arrived. I’m sure it depends on the time of day, but just be prepared for tight quarters if you happen to go during a busy spell. Take off your shoes and store them in the cubbies on the landing, and sign in at the front desk. If this is your first time to the studio, they will give you a short tour of the two-level space. Another perk: mat rental is free for your inaugural class.
Directly across from the front desk is the colorful student lounge. There are a few couches and benches where yogis can enjoy complimentary tea and catch up with friends. When I came in for the 4 p.m. class on Saturday, it was absolutely packed!
Be sure to check out the fireplace in the lounge – it serves as an impromptu kitchen space with complimentary tea, filtered water, and a few small cookies. Relaxing with a warm cup of tea – especially during the cold winter months – is a lovely way to slow the mind and press the pause button for a few moments before or after class.
Also on the first floor are the changing rooms. There’s additional storage in this room directly across from the changing area, in case the cubbies in the lounge are full.
Flow has a total of three studio rooms: one on the first and two on the second floor. The second floor is also home to a smaller lounge area and an additional bathroom (this is good to know if there’s a long line for the one downstairs!). Check out the hilarious sign put on the hand dryer. I knew I was in a fun place when they tape yoga-jokes in the loo.
This is the second floor landing, where there’s a small area to sit and wait for classes.
To the left of the stairs is the larger of the studio’s three rooms – isn’t the exposed brick great? When I popped in, the room was being used for teacher training (hence all of the mats and notebooks), but of it gives you a good sense of just how many yogis they can squeeze into this space.
To the right of the stairs is a small and cozy studio, which they told me is often used for private instruction. The fireplace, exposed brick wall, and plants gave the room a very grounded, earthy feel.
The jivamukti class was held in the downstairs studio – located all the way in the back of the building. The room was much smaller than others I have practiced in, and held about 30 students for our session. We all had enough space to work with, and like the set up at Embrace Yoga, the room is split down the middle with each half of the room facing the other. The teacher weaved between our mats or demonstrated moves in the middle of the room, so you could see her from any spot. She also gave excellent verbal cues, so there were no awkward moments when I felt like I was hanging out waiting for guidance.
I had never taken a jivamukti yoga class, and had to do a little bit of research before heading into the room so I knew what to expect. I’m glad I did, because I think the Sanskrit chanting would have totally thrown me for a loop if I didn’t know it was coming. I’m used to belting out a few “ohms” at the beginning of class, but trying to sing along in a foreign language took the giggle factor to a whole other level. It helped that Krista played the harmonium along with the chanting, which was loud enough to
drown smooth out most of our off-key efforts. The instrument’s name is Mona, in case you were wondering.
The rest of the class was very much along the lines of a typical vinyasa flow practice. We did a number of advanced variations and were encouraged to play around and give them a try. Every advanced variation, however, came with a corresponding modification, so there was a range of options to choose from for practitioners of all levels. I appreciated the casual atmosphere Krista created – it helped make the embarrassment of toppling over onto my face while trying to put my left leg over my head a little bit more tolerable. This is a great class to try if you want a challenge, a shake up, or are hoping to learn a few new poses – and an excellent class to attend if you have a more advanced practice and want the opportunity to let loose and go big.
An essential part of the jivamukti practice is the introduction of philosophical discussion into the class, and today’s topic centered around using yoga and meditation to cultivate super powers. Yes, real super powers. Krista even wore her supernova patterned yoga crops to prove it (oh how I wish I had gotten a photo of those, they were amazing!). Whether you super powers are real or not is a debate for another day on another blog. Just know that it’s an awesome feeling starting off a yoga class with a teacher assuring you that you are whole, complete, where you need to be in this moment…and full of super powers.
Which brings me to Krista herself…this girl is a yoga superhero. I had so much fun in her class and am excited to be able to follow along with her off the mat through social media. She posts pictures of herself on Facebook and Instagram in crazy, awesome, mind blowing yoga poses and they never cease to make me want to get out of my computer chair and give it a try. She also has a series of time-lapse yoga videos on her website that are mesmerizing to watch; this one called the “Yoga Rave” is my favorite, possibly because it showcases the supernova tights!
What’s your favorite kind of yoga to practice?[line]
*Flow Yoga generously provided this class at no charge. This post is not an endorsement, and all opinions are my own.