Crash Course: Moksha Hot Yoga is a method developed by a Canadian couple in 2004. There are only a handful of affiliated studios in the US – one of which is in my hometown of Cincinnati. The practice consists of about 40 poses done in a room heated to 95 – 100 degrees. It’s not quite bikram, not quite heated vinyasa flow; but if you like either you’ll feel at home here. Click here for the full Cincinnati schedule.
where: 3527 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati OH
bring: towel, water bottle, mat
perks: showers, mat and towel rental
sweat score: 8.5 out of 10
wear: less is more
cost: $17 drop in rate
According to their website:
Moksha Yoga is a green, clean, hot yoga series that stretches, strengthens and tones the muscles while detoxifying the body and calming the mind. While all classes are rooted in the Moksha Yoga series, teachers are encouraged to bring their own unique knowledge and experience every time they enter the room to teach.
After trying bikram and practicing hot vinyasa yoga at Down Dog for years, here are the things that struck me as unique about the Moksha practice:
- The class starts in savasana, has one mid way through, and ends in savasana
- There are no sun salutations
- You have one shot at wheel – make it count
- Hydration is encouraged throughout class
- No chanting ohms
- There are two breathing exercises, including the short breathing done at the end of bikram
I really loved the 75 minute class. It was different enough from what I had done before to keep me constantly guessing, but none of the poses were new to me. It’s funny how just shaking up the sequence of poses can make a yoga practice entirely new. I also didn’t find it as athletic a practice as what is offered at Down Dog or bikram, but then again, yoga is what you make of it. That said, if you have never done hot yoga before and are interested in dabbling, I’d recommend making this studio your first stop. It’s a gentle introduction for first timers, and a comforting challenge for those with more experience.
Also, can we talk about this locker room? It was absolutely gorgeous. DC yoga studios take note, please! Two beautiful, clean, large showers, cubbies for storage, hair dryers, and all the fixings to get ready after class. There was a hamper for wet towels, plenty of changing room, and a water fountain to fill up before and after the sweaty flow.
I’m also a sucker for studios that remember to go big with little details. Moksha Yoga Cincinnati had cotton hand towels, organic soap products, extra hair ties and bobby pins, and local art on the walls. They offer mats and towels for rent, and not just any towels…anyone recognize this slice of hot yoga heaven?
That’s right – yogitoes! I was so thrilled to borrow one of these for class. I have never been to a studio where these are on loan and have to tip my hat to Moksha Cincinnati for making sure visitors like me have a comfy hot yoga experience. I will definitely be back next time I come home for a visit.
Have you tried the Moksha yoga method?
Crash Course: This 60-minute spin class at Studio S is high-energy and upbeat with an emphasis on going at your own pace. You won’t feel pushed beyond your limits, but if you want a challenge, it’s there for the taking. The complimentary use of heart rate monitors is a fun plus for those who want to quantify their effort without forking over for their own device. Great class for first timers and experienced spinsters alike. Click here for the full schedule.
where: 3456 Michigan Ave., Cincinnati OH
bring: water bottle
perks: heart rate monitors available
sweat score: 8 out of 10
wear: recommend spandex bottoms
cost: $15 drop in rate, first class free
This bright studio is tucked away in Cincinnati’s picturesque Hyde Park Square. It’s surrounded by a few of my favorite spots: Greater’s Ice Cream, Lululemon, Unwind Wine Bar, Awakenings Coffee, Khakis clothing boutique, Move Your Hyde yoga studio, and Patty’s Old Fashioned Popcorn. Talk about prime real estate!
Studio S offers a fun mix of personal and group training options. You can sign up for a one-on-one with a personal trainer, get together a small bunch of friends for a sweat session, join their running group, or sign up for a spinning or mat Pilates class. Since we planned to spend Christmas day hanging around the house, the Original Fit Crasher and I popped in to try their 9 a.m. spinning class.
I am so glad Mom came with me to this upbeat and fun class, because the one we tried over Thanksgiving break was a little too serious for the casual indoor cyclist. Susie, the instructor at Studio S, had a great music selection that complimented each segment of the class. We started with a series of climbs, flew into some speed work, and ended with jumps. There was no upper body workout, so if you hate going to spin classes where you are asked to do push ups or juggle free weights, this is the class for you.
I was extremely impressed with the customer service and personalized attention we received from start to finish. We were welcomed warmly and showed to our bikes, which had fresh towels waiting on them. This woman helped us with every little detail of the bike set up, handing us our loaner heart rate monitors, explaining how to use them, and she even wrote down our bike settings to file away at the studio for next time. I love that! And during class, the instructor would walk around to refill our water bottles for us. It was a total first class operation.
This is my one blurry photo from class. I’m not sure if you can tell from this shot, but the students were a mix of ages and abilities. We were finishing up with hops to the beat of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas tunes. I was enjoying it so much I didn’t want to take the time to steady my camera – hope you’ll forgive me! At the end of class, we were treated to a free tshirt giveaway courtesy of a local bike shop called Element Cycles.
It’s a super soft blue American Apparel shirt with a cool bike graphic printed on the front. Great for spin classes or just hanging around. What a fun Christmas eve surprise!
I’m loving my crashes and workouts at home this Christmas. It’s been so much fun comparing the studios in Cincinnati with what we’ve got going on in DC. Both cities are experiencing a sort of boutique studio renaissance, with new places popping up all the time. Pilates, spinning, yoga, pole dancing, kettle bells…you name it. Folks seem to be moving away from the bigger all-in-one gyms and toward these smaller, focused businesses. As a fit crasher, I’m giving this trend two thumbs up!
Do you prefer studios over bigger gyms?
Hello fit crashers! I am home in Cincinnati spending the holidays with family. It’s been a wonderful time to step away from the buzz and bustle of DC and press the reset button before the new year. But vacations at home wouldn’t be complete without a whole lot of sweat, thanks to some help from the Original Fit Crasher (hi mom!). Here’s what we’ve been up to so far.
I had a lot of gift shopping left to do on my first day in town. So, channeling my best yoga calm, I joined the frenzied masses at the mall to visit the new REI store. It was worth it. If there was a gym in the back, I could live in that store. All the fitness gear I could imagine, cozy sleeping bags, and food. Oh, and I found something for everyone on my list, too! After the marathon shopping session, I grabbed a few snack bars to test out while standing in the check-out line: Fit ‘n Crisp vanilla marshmallow bar and Nature’s Bakery whole wheat raspberry fig bar.
The consensus: they were both terrible. Way too icky, fake, and sugary sweet. Definitely not the healthy snack I was looking for! Next time I will grab an almond butter packet instead; at least I know those will hold me over without making me feel like I need to brush my teeth.
Gifts in hand, I made my way home to fit in a quick session at the gym before dinner. I didn’t have a lot of time, so I opted for a 12 minute HIIT workout.
The particular workout was inspired by Daily Hiit, and runs 50 seconds on, 10 seconds off, for 12 rounds. Here’s the breakdown:
- Burpee to a tuck jump
- Deadlift to a row (I used 30 lbs.)
- Spiderman push ups
- Two ab rows, two bicycles
I ended in a pool of sweat with three minutes of planks. Phew! Love that endorphin rush.
The next morning I got up for a quick run before taking the Original Fit Crasher to her first hot yoga class. Check out these awesome Christmas lawn decorations I spotted around mile three – Santa in a hot air ballon is my favorite.
And then it was time to bend and flow at Move Your Hyde, the hot yoga studio I discovered over Thanksgiving. They have an intro class that was the perfect fit for Mom’s first time. She did great! But as the Original Fit Crasher, was there really any question?
I admit it, I would have never signed up for an intro class on my own. After many years of practicing, my ego would have pushed me to sign up for the advanced class. But those 60 minutes proved to be such a humbling gift. Instead of confidently flying through the sequences and taking them for granted, like I do too often, it made me slow down and take the time to really dig into each and every pose and each and every breath. So in this case, introducing Mom to yoga proved to be exactly the reintroduction I needed for myself. I left feeling refreshed, recharged, and excited to get back on my mat.
What have you crashed this week?
Being home for the holidays is always a time for family togetherness and a little R&R. It’s also the perfect time to put my fit crashing skills to work here in Ohio. If you remember my Thanksgiving vacation, you’ll know that the Original Fit Crasher and I waste no time putting together a plan of action for sweating across the city. After doing some homework, I’ve come up with a Christmas list of places to choose from this go around. Which one would you want to crash?
- Clear: the “Move” class offers a mixture of Pilates, yoga, and barre
- Pure Barre: at $23, this chain is just as expensive as DC
- Bella Forza Fitness: with 26 other class options, I’ll be checking this place out for more than just barre
What workouts are on your holiday list?