Monday, July 30, 2012

Class Review: Strala Yoga's RELAX with Heidi Kristoffer

"Don't be so serious, it's just yoga!"

Yesterday I had a wonderful introduction to Strala Yoga when I took Heidi Kristoffer's RELAX class. I was honestly unprepared -- I had run 4 miles that morning and was sort of out of it (my sleep schedule was off this weekend which results in me having mush for brains), so I didn't check about whether they took credit cards and I didn't know how long the class was. In a last minute fit of "blah I don't want to carry my yoga mat on the subway," I didn't even bring a mat!

But it was ok. My friend Eva spotted me for the $10 student fee ($10, people!!! And only $15 for regular drop-ins!), I had $2 to rent a mat for the class, and I got there with enough time to find a nice middle-of-the-room spot.

The class was an hour and a half, it turns out. I don't normally go to a class that's longer than an hour because I get bored and fidgety (I know, I know... so not zen!). But without knowing it was an hour and a half going in, the class seemed perfectly timed. So maybe it's all in my head!

check out this handstand pic from her website!!
Heidi was such a positive presence. She made her way around the room, offering adjustments here and there, pushing me further into hip bends (twice!), and giggling at times. Heidi encouraged everyone to do what felt right in the pose for their body. At one point during tree pose, she encouraged us not to be so serious, laughing that "it's just yoga." I loved that! I'm not a serious yoga person. I love how calm and centered I feel after a great yoga class, but I also don't like to treat the practice like a sacred ritual. I loved how Heidi taught with such a light approach. I definitely want to take her STRONG class, though, since she seems like she'd have no problem putting you through your paces!

The RELAX class was also a great close to the weekend. The first hour or so was spent in flow, so you definitely got your sweat on, but then spending 30 minutes in relaxing, slow stretching poses was wonderful. On a weekday I might have been itching to get out and get home, but at 4:30 PM on a Sunday afternoon, I could really enjoy the time spent on deep breathing in corpse pose. I left feeling SO calm and yet rejuvenated. I'll definitely be back to the studio to try more classes, even though it's all the way down in SoHo, and I might try to make that 4:30 PM Sunday class a habit.

Class - RELAX
Site Description - Strala's RELAX class releases tension in the body and mind simultaneously through a gentle flow that settles your attention softly on the breath. Each inhale creates space in the body and mind. Each exhale moves you into that space. *Open to all levels*
Instructor - Heidi Kristoffer
Length - 1.5 hours
Cost - $15 drop-in, $10 for students, $2 for mat rental, $2 for Smart Water (but you can fill your bottle in the bathroom for free)
Location - SoHo (632 Broadway b/t Houston & Bleecker, 6th Floor, enter on Crosby St during construction)
Skill Level - probably not for absolute beginners since there wasn't guidance from someone doing the poses at the front of the room at all times. If you have some experience, though, you can follow those around you without any problem.

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