Crash Course: Kali Yoga Studio, the new incarnation of Quiet Mind Studio, is a light-infused second-story space just two blocks from the Columbia Heights metro station. It’s a great little hidden spot tucked north of the hustle and bustle of the DCUSA megaplex. The Saturday morning intermediate/advanced vinyasa class is exactly what the more experienced yogi needs to kick off their fun-filled weekend. Set to rocking beats of top 40 hits, it’s a high-energy practice full of challenging sequences, advanced poses, and a few sing-alongs, too. For more information about the class schedule at Kali, click here. [line]
[left]where: 3423 14th Street/Columbia Heights
perks: mat rental, towels, fun music, advanced class
sweat score: 8 out of 10 [/left][right]wear: plan to go upside-down
cost: $16 drop in rate [/right] [line]
I climbed the narrow staircase up to Kali Yoga Studio with a distinct sense of dejavu – I had been here before, but when the space was called Quiet Mind Yoga. Not for a crash, but for a twilight restorative yoga class with a good friend. The moves were gentle, the teacher soft-spoken, and the room hummed with an “all is well with the world” kind of calm. It was the first time I had experienced that type of practice, and I left feeling like the clouds under my feet would deliver me right into bed for an epic snooze. Talk about relaxing.
So imagine the jarring disconnect when I reached the landing, popped off my sneaks, and heard loud music and bubbling laughter. I listened closer. Was that Justin Bieber blaring over the loud speakers? Followed by, “Oooo, baby do you know what that’s worth? Oooo, heaven is a place on earth.” (Sing along, you know you want to)
Oh yes. This class was going to be very different.
After leaving your shoes in the hallway cubbies, the check-in desk is just to the left. I was greeted by smiling faces, a standard new-student form to fill out, and a really friendly crew of folks welcoming me to the studio. Not in the scary-cultish-too-nice-to-be-real kind of way. But genuinely friendly. I mean, even the computer is saying, “Namaste!”
If I had to describe the overall tenor of the studio in one word it would be that: genuine. From my experience the attitude at Kali very much centers around the idea of wear what you want, flow as you will, be as you are. As a new student, I didn’t feel any pressure to buy a big class package, or wear a certain type of clothing, or to “fit in”. Oddly refreshing.
I grabbed a cup of H2O and made my way over to the “sun studio”, which is located in the front of the building and gets the most light. It has beautiful gleaming hardwood floors, exposed brick, and splashes of natural light coming in from the series of windows at the front. I got a few props and placed my mat at the back of the room. Since this was my first “advanced” class, I really had no idea what to expect and wanted a good view of the rest of the students in case I needed a reference (or a rescue) mid-way through pretzling myself into some crazy knot.
We started class with a series of fast flowing sun salutations. No “ohms” – which I was okay with : ) The music stayed loud and the songs went from one top 40 hit to the next. I’d say it was distracting, but that sounds negative. It was distracting in a fun, shake the sleep off, let’s get to this and enjoy the day kind of way. I caught myself on more than one occasion bopping my head, popping my shoulders to the beat, or singing along to NSYNC. Totally immersed in my own little yoga world, rocking out on a Saturday morning. And why the hell not?
Sitting in the back, I have to say it was hard at times to catch the entirety of what Jonathan was saying, but not enough that it interrupted my practice. Like I said, being in the back has it’s advantages. If I didn’t catch a verbal cue, I just looked around and tried to follow.
“Try” being the operative word, because let me warn you, this is definitely an intermediate-advanced class. There were twists, binds, and balances that I never in my life had even attempted. There were also plenty of verbal cues to help walk you through them. But if you’re coming for the first time, prepare to push to your edge and test your limits. Oh yea, and sweat. There’ll be some of that too – it’s hard work!
Jonathan really pours his everything into the class, and it shows. The playlist, for one, is curated each week for maximum pop fantasticness. He’s hands-on, intentional, and the positive energy that he emits during class is down right contagious. I left wanting to bear hug everyone in the room, cartwheel down the street, and high-five the traffic cop handing out tickets. You get the idea. The class zings you with a carefree kind of fun that’s sometimes hard to find during the 9-5 of the week. Carefree while doing handstands and jumping into crow, mind you, but the essence is there.
Already on a high from surviving my first advanced yoga class without any major embarrassment or self-inflicted injury, you can imagine the frenzy of excitement when an announcement was made that Lululemon was gifting the entire class brand-spanking-new yoga mats. THE mat, to be exact: the one that’s extra cushiony and slide-resistant when you sweat on it. How cool is that? Thanks Lulu, what a fun surprise before Christmas!
After class, I grabbed my mat, my new mat, and my backpack for a trip to Sticky Fingers Bakery down the street. They have a fridge full of tonics from Gouter and I wanted to grab a few to get me through the last moments of holiday-rush before flying home to Ohio. Looking back, I totally rocked the “crazy yoga lady” look with a fleece around my waist, spandex from head to toe, juggling two mats, five tonics, and a debit card in-between my teeth. “I’ll take all of these, please, and no, I don’t need a bag I’ll just be green and carry them, k, thanks!” <— total nut
I’d say it was a fantastic fit crasher Saturday![line]
What is the most fun fitness class you’ve ever been to?