Yoga Classes to Help You Chill This Winter

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Posted December 2, 2013 by Cheryl Fenton in Downtown Boston
SCLA Yoga Studio View

Sadly, we’re about to enter the season of stress, a time of the year when emotions can be turned up along with the heat. Although snowdrifts seem peaceful and “Jingle Bells” makes me happy, sometimes the winter is enough to drive me mad.

Let’s do the math, shall we? We have the holidays with relatives in town, flu potential, parking spaces with cones in them, neighbors who ignore those cones, 12-degree morning dog walks, and bread/milk panic whenever the weatherman threatens snow.

Now is the perfect time to take things down a notch with yoga. Turn that Downward Dog upside down and check into these studios that will help you namaste calm when winter woes hit you like a snowplow. It’s time to get your om on.

Bikram Yoga: Sometimes I need more than just a Sun Salute, especially when the freezing temps make me want to salute the sun in a not-so-friendly fashion. Enter hot yoga at Bikram Yoga. Held in a room heated up to 105 degrees, the discipline loosens tight muscles while profuse sweating flushes toxins. You’re 26 postures away from increasing strength, flexibility, and balance. And who doesn’t like a good toxin flush? They know what they’re doing here, since every teacher is certified by Bikram’s Yoga College of India. They gave me two towels at the beginning of practice, so I figured I was going to sweat. That was the understatement of the decade. By the end of the 90-minute class, I had worked every muscle, tendon, joint, ligament, internal organ, and gland while also moving fresh, oxygenated blood throughout my entire body. You might say this is the hottest thing around. Perform this fantastic workout enough, and you might just gain that description yourself. Wink, wink.

Om Warrior: One of my favorite poses (the Warrior) gets props here. It’s everything I can do to not yell out a battle cry and frighten my fellow yogis when I am holding this strength-building pose. And it’s more than welcome during a season that has you slumped over against the cold, shoulders around your ears, covered head to toe in fluffy down. Last time I checked, warriors don’t wear fluff. Another tempting aspect of this studio is the Tune Up class. This is yoga-meets-massage as you use therapy balls for deep-tissue work throughout the movements. A nice massage to decompress? Yes, please, even if I’m the one doing it. And since I’m a commitment phobe, it’s nice that Om Warrior has drop-in classes.

Sports Club/LA: Consider this the haute spot for fitness. This is one see-and-be-seen spot for workouts, so I would obviously have to forgo my Old Navy pants for some Lululemon (not the see-through ones, of course). The club’s calming mind/body floor has two huge studios, Water and Fire, with high ceilings that overlook the city. You can wave bye-bye to Boston’s bustle with every deep breath. The big mirrors gave me a chance to check out my poses, and I’ve discovered I need to work a little on my triangle (looks more like an octagon). You can practice Vinyasa or Hatha, go full steam with Power Yoga, or relax with Gentle and Restorative. I was intrigued with the Yin practice, during which you hold poses for three to five minutes.

Equinox Franklin Street's chic yoga studio

The chic yoga studio at Equinox Franklin Street. Photo courtesy of Equinox.

Equinox: When I heard my friend Rebecca Pacheco (known as OMGal to local yogis in the know) was teaching their Thursday afternoon Vinyasa class, I said sign me up. Unfortunately, everyone else in Boston said the same thing. This is one of the gym’s most popular times for this athletically driven practice, so get there early. They also offer Power, Core Vinyasa, Flexibility & Strength, and Basics classes, and the space is über chic. And if you want to look chic, check out the gym’s downstairs store. It prides itself on exclusive-to-Equinox pieces like women’s wear from Beyond Yoga and Zobha. It’s open to the public, so feel free to stroll in even if you don’t belong to the gym.

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