Crash Course: Local trainer and wellness coach Johanna Kracke teaches yoga classes at various venues around the city. On Mondays, you can find her leading 60 minutes of power yoga at Jaime Andrews Fitness Training studio in Logan Circle. Expect a class that is accessible, creative, and personal. For more information about Johanna’s fitness and yoga schedule, click here.
where: Logan Circle, Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan
perks: individualized attention, small class
sweat score: 4.5 out of 10
wear: comfortable yoga clothes
cost: drop in cost ranges from $10 – $17 depending on location*
If you are looking for a welcoming, non judgmental place to expand your yoga practice or to try out a few moves for the first time, this is the spot to go. Johanna’s Monday night yoga class is teeny tiny and the atmosphere is fun, relaxed, and perfect for all experience levels. According to her website:
Come to Vigor for yoga — they say “exercise is medicine,” and there’s nothing better than yoga for building a healing mind-body connection. Develop strength, balance, and flexibility; and really, truly, learn how to breathe.
The Monday evening class is taught in the Jaime Andrews Fitness Training studio, which is tucked into an apartment building in Logan Circle. Look for the blue awning at 1440 N Street and head through the lobby to the door on the right.
There are no formal changing rooms, but the lobby bathroom works out just fine if you need to quick change out of work clothes and into spandex. Behold the glamour of fit crashing, up close and personal.
The studio itself is a tiny office space outfitted with every kind of workout toy you can imagine. The expert use of space was a sight to behold, and made me rethink what I’ve got going on in my own apartment. Looking at all of the TRX straps, equalizers, kettle bells, and ugi balls, I’m excited to get in touch with Jaime and try out one of her bootcamps!
Here is the yoga class in action: three guys, two gals, and Johanna. It was the first time I’ve been to yoga where the guy to girl ratio is equal. Very awesome.
The class was a power vinyasa class, which means the sequences were done a little bit faster than usual to get the blood pumping and the body warmed up. The moves themselves are focused on building strength, stretching key areas, and breaking a sweat. We even took a few moments to play around with a new move: eka pada koundinyasana (aka: one legged arm balance). It was so much fun to pause from the flow of class to experiment and laugh our way through this challenge. Johanna makes it look so easy! The rest of us were somewhere between falling on our faces and straining mightily to stay afloat. Let’s just say there was a lot of humility and laughter.
The hour flew by. Between the subtle background music (I was digging the Dave Matthews throwback), the glow of the Christmas lights strung around the room, and the friendly atmosphere Johanna creates during class, I considered that tiny room a little slice of yoga heaven. It was just fun for once. Not that all other classes are a chore, but it can sometimes be easy to feel overwhelmed and mentally check out in larger groups. Especially after a busy day at work. With only five other people in the room, there was no pressure to be serious, or to look a certain way, or to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. We just stretched, sweated, laughed, and had a genuinely good time. I’ll definitely be back!
Tiny yoga class: up your alley or too close for comfort?
* Thank you to Johanna for waiving my drop-in fee. All opinions are my own.
Crash Course: B.fit is a tiny boutique barre studio nestled into a Logan Circle loft apartment. It has a welcoming community feel and each class is kept small so instructors can focus on whipping you into tip top barre tending shape. The studio is not afraid to use and get creative with props like big/small bender balls, free weights, and resistance bands. Prepare to be challenged – classes aren’t just about looking pretty and playing ballerina for an hour. They’re about sweating, shaking, and relevé-ing your heart out. That’s a good thing! Click here to see the full schedule of beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes.
where: 1339 14th Street NW, 3rd floor
perks: beautiful space, props and mats provided
sweat score: 4 out of 10
wear: prepare for leg lifts
cost: $22 drop in, buy one get one free for new students
According to their website, b.fit bases its barre technique on a blend of:
strength training, Pilates and ballet-barre work in a high-energy, core-strengthening workout that isolates muscle groups, using precise, targeted reps. The method is based on the concept that fitness-savvy consumers are constantly in pursuit of new and challenging, results-oriented techniques.
I found it to be one of the most targeted, challenging barre classes I’ve taken in DC. It was a quality 60 minutes of great music, high energy, and butt-kicing ballet moves.
The studio entrance is located on 14th street in-between Salon Blu and Churchkey. You would miss it if you didn’t know where to look – the only signage is that tiny orange “b” on the door. See it? Head upstairs to the third floor and enter this door with the cute orange rug outside.
The studio is very small and intimate without feeling too cramped. Sign in at the front desk area and head straight back to the galley hallway where there are storage cubbies for your belongings and one makeshift changing area. It can get tight back there, but luckily it’s bright and inviting enough to make up for the lack of space.
There are no showers at b.fit, and just one bathroom. I said it was cozy, right? It is located inside the studio area and is just as cute and clean as the rest of the space.
And the crowning jewel of the space is the studio itself, with its gleaming hard wood floors and stunning bay window. It has a very similar look to Biker Barre’s barre studio, actually. It feels like you are working out in a chic studio apartment, which I think helps make the environment more welcoming than if you were in a more traditional studio. I mean..just look at how beautiful it is. Drool.
As I mentioned, I found this class to be one of the most thorough and challenging of the four studios I’ve visited. Like other studios, we started with some aerobic moves to get the heart rate up and then picked up weights to work on the arms. Unlike other studios, the free weights were five pounders. I told you they mean business!
My arms were toast after just a few minutes, but I never felt that the weight was too much. It was just enough to make me sore the next day. We then moved to the barre to work on leg and seat exercises. You can’t see it in this photo, but we have rubber bands around our legs and are working inner and outter thighs. We did something similar at Xtend Barre and the bands are a guaranteed killer burn.
Okay here’s a better shot. See those elastics around our legs? My IT band and inner thighs are panicking just looking at it.
This leg-in-the-air move works the “seat” area and is really hard, no matter what class you take. I appreciated that the instructor walked around to make adjustments because at this point in the class, you just want to keep your head down, close your eyes, and breathe until it’s over. With one leg in the air, I had a hard time making sure my hips were level and was corrected more than once. It’s hard but I learned quickly to keep that hip in check!
After all of the leg and seat moves, I was more than ready to take it to the floor for abs. In every barre class I’ve been too, the leg lifts and scissor kicks on the floor are always the hardest. I’m just not that flexible and end up shaking like a leaf within 10 seconds or less. I definitely, definitely don’t look as cool, calm, and collected as our instructor. And my leg was definitely, definitely not as high as hers. But hey, a girl can dream.
We also used those evil resistance bands to do ab work. For one move, we tied them to the barre and used them as leverage to do leg lifts. This worked the arms, abs, legs….heck the whole entire body. Very awesome and something I have not seen in other barre classes.
And after a few last stretches – we were finished! I didn’t look at my watch once during the entire class. It was entertaining, challenging, the music selection and volume were spot on, and I had an excellent time.
Jenna teaches the “pre-brunch” 9:30 Sunday class. She gave us a disclaimer that she views the class as one last chance to work hard before the end of the week. So don’t expect to walk into a sleepy class. I appreciate that Jenna is approachable without being overly perky and in-your-face enthusiastic. She was obviously there to work hard and make sure we did the same. I loved that. She also had an excellent feel for when the music needed to be turned up to help us push through those final leg-shaking reps. I’d definitely go back to her class again.
Be sure to check out my other barre studio crashes:
Have you tried a class b.fit?