When offered the opportunity to review YogaDownload, I jumped at the chance to try it. I was provided with a 3-month trial in exchange for my review. I have always loved running, barre, and spin, but haven’t balanced those activities out with enough stretching and yoga. Now that I am pregnant, I stopped running because of back pain and discomfort. Several friends recommended prenatal yoga, so I started going to O2 Yoga (which offers a 7:00 p.m. Sunday class with Barrett in Somerville and a 5:45 p.m. Wednesday class with Devon in Cambridge). I liked the idea of supplementing these studio classes with an at-home practice via YogaDownload (projected from my computer via AppleTV onto my living room TV). I already have a yoga mat, blanket, blocks, strap, weights, and a decent size space in my living room to do workouts.
As a teacher, I have to be at work by 7:30 a.m. Most morning studio classes are just finishing at 7:30 a.m. or later, so it’s not possible to attend these, shower, and eat breakfast prior to school. With YogaDownload, I can finish a class in my living room by 6:15 a.m. and still get out the door by 7:00 a.m. I also like that YogaDownload is convenient for maternity leave and for when my baby will be in daycare and I won’t be able to attend as many studio classes as I did pre-pregnancy.
YogaDownload offers a wide variety of styles and easy ways to find classes to fit your needs. I was initially most interested in the following:
- Prenatal Yoga
- Postnatal Yoga
- Yin Yoga
- Restorative Yoga
I ended up doing mostly prenatal classes to alleviate back and hip pain. During pregnancy, I’ve attended yoga and Pilates classes at soul.train as well as barre classes at Pure Barre and FlyBarre. At those classes, I have asked the instructors for modifications, but don’t feel confident enough to make modifications for these classes on YogaDownload. I was also nervous about doing some of the yin and restorative poses after hearing that I’m not supposed to lie flat on my back for extended periods of time.
What I Liked
- The class times vary from 12 minutes to 80 minutes, so it is a lot easier to fit in shorter classes than it is to block out time for a 75 minute or 90 minute studio class (not to mention the travel time to and from the studio).
- Each video is summarized in an easy-to-read way. Especially helpful for prenatal: each class has a description that explains its purpose (e.g., alleviating back pain, positioning baby).
- Users can download classes (up to 5 per month with subscription, or pay by download). Though I used the AppleTV to project videos, I would appreciate this feature if I were taking my computer on a business trip and wanted to do yoga in my hotel room. Similarly, the options for audio-only classes or audio with slides classes would be good for travel yoga via phone (if not taking the computer).
- Users can select favorites, create a wish list, read reviews from other users, and make notes on specific videos. This makes planning a workout schedule and searching through the multitude of classes a lot easier.
- Other features: printable pose guides, a blog, free online classes, channels, and playlists.
I think the monthly membership would be optimal for users who are exploring lots of new yoga styles or have the discipline to do an at-home practice. The options to purchase specific classes or packages seem like they would work best for a user who already knows what he/she likes or only needs a few videos at a time. For example, I would recommend the Prenatal Yoga Package for pregnancy followed by a monthly subscription for postnatal yoga and getting back to a regular yoga routine (vinyasa, etc.).
A few weeks ago, I went to an Endurance Pilates & Yoga class with Blog and Tweet Boston. Endurance Pilates & Yoga opened in January 2015 in the South End (close to Flour and Jaho). Founder Julie Erickson brings over 20 years of experience (including four Pilates certifications and an Ashtanga yoga certification) to this new studio location. The studio offers group Pilates classes and private lessons on the mat, reformer, and Cadillac, as well as barre, TRX, vinyasa yoga, and HIIT classes. The variety of classes suits all types of fitness enthusiasts. Julie is an avid runner, and I appreciated that she knows how to build strength and flexibility to complement running. Additionally, most classes are very adaptable for pregnant clients and the studio will eventually offer prenatal yoga.
Julie led our blogger group through a mix of mat Pilates, barre, and vinyasa yoga. A stickler for proper form and alignment, she gave accurate cues and adjustments in all three workouts. She made sure that we could all access the exercises and differentiated for those who needed more of a challenge or modifications. The mat Pilates class was my favorite of the three. I like the traditional exercises and that we targeted arms, legs, and core. Julie’s directions also ensure that you work hard and get the most out of each exercise. She designed her own format for barre (which seems more like traditional ballet barre exercises than the other formats I have tried) and uses portable barres rather than wall-mounted ones so that clients don’t rely too much on the support of the barres. The barre exercises alternate with cardio bursts such as jumping jacks. I’d be interested to see what a full barre class experience is like. Like the mat Pilates, the vinyasa yoga was traditional and familiar. The sequences we did felt good after the toning and strengthening we did beforehand. After our class, Julie did demonstrations of TRX and the Cadillac. She also led small groups of us through a few exercises on the reformers. In my few minutes on the reformer, I could immediately see why celebs like Jennifer Aniston swear by it! I look forward to coming back to try more Pilates classes in the future.
Disclaimer: I attended this class free of charge and received a coupon for a private lesson. I was not paid to write this post.
Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t…snap at their students.
Little Miss Runshine’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge is going to be on like donkey kong. I checked out these six dvds from the Boston Public Library today to get ready for the September 1st start.
I hope that doing yoga DVDs and classes regularly for a month will:
a) keep me calm in and out of the classroom
b) undo some of my running-related inflexibility
c) serve as a good alternative to the gym, because calm and saving $ > calm
Jess (Little Miss Runshine) and I joined Boston Sports Clubs about a year ago. Initially, I thought I’d go to group exercise classes as well as avail myself of the various cardio machines and weights. I like the great selection of gym locations near my home and work, but I’m not using the gym’s facilities and classes to the best of their potential. I have been to a grand total of two group exercise classes (one spinning and one vinyasa yoga) during the past year, have ventured into the weights section only a few times, and have probably spent most of my gym time either foam rolling or on a treadmill. Thus, the cost per visit is probably $$$$ rather than my initial vision of $. The math teacher in me cringes at this.
It’s time to put that $$$$ toward a more financially sound way of workin’ on my fitness! I now own a way better foam roller than those at the gym. Running outside is free, and I can embrace my inner New Englander by running in winter weather. Yes, I am saying this as the heat of summer gives way to leaf-peeping season and idyllic fall running weather. I promise not to clamor for the comforts of a Precor treadmill + tv once the first snowflake falls.
Additionally, differentiation suits fitness just as well as it does instruction. If a snow day or a want-something-different-from-running day happens, there are still the options of:
- soul.train personal training, yoga, zumba, BPM, Crazy 8’s, or indoor boot camp
- Zuzana Light ZWODs and ZWOWs
- Workout DVDs (Jillian Michaels, Jackie Warner, Exhale Core Fusion yoga, pilates)
- Swimming at JFK pool
- Pinterest workouts
What yoga DVDs, classes, or non-gym workouts do you recommend?