Friday, December 28, 2012
Class Review: RELAX Download by Tara Stiles
I've written before about how much I love Strala Yoga. The warm, open vibe that permeates the space makes it my favorite yoga studio in New York. Unfortunately, it's all the way down in NoHo, so it's too far for me to get to as often as I'd like.
Enter Strala downloads! For $15--the price of a class--you can download the two main classes the studio offers, Strong or Relax, both taught by Tara Stiles and both an hour long. Both the classes were filmed at Strala, too, so it's basically like taking a class there. I don't really use exercise DVD's, but the idea of having a yoga class instantly available on my computer really appealed to me. Plus, since I have a hard drive connected to our TV, I can play the class on our TV for a bigger screen version. And over the holidays when you're traveling, it's great to have a gentle yoga class that you can do anywhere you go.
I really love the Relax class when I need a restorative yoga practice. It's a gentle flow that leaves me feeling totally refreshed, loosened, and limber. Being able to have a Relax class in my living room is amazing. I've used the download several times when I've felt like I need some yoga but don't have time for the train ride to Strala.
The class itself is just like a Tara Stiles Relax class. You start with some breathing, move onto all fours, then slowly go through the Relax flow, which spends a lot of time opening things up and lengthening your muscles. If you're looking for a flow that focuses on strength and cardio more, then download the Strong flow -- Relax is mainly concerned with ... well its title. Getting you relaxed!
Tara narrates the class, walking around the room, while Strala guides (their word for instructors) and members follow along. This means that if you're ever confused about what you should be doing, you can just watch the screen and figure it out.
Just like a class at Strala, you're encouraged to move in every pose, doing what feels right for you at that particular time on that particular day. And you see the students in the class doing the same thing -- some will take one option and others will stay basic. It's perfect if you prefer to have a visual guide rather than just a teacher narrating the flow.
The class also includes alternate nostril breathing which I love as part of a restorative yoga practice. I find that having to concentrate on my breathing makes me much more focused on something and helps keep me in the present rather than making mental to-do lists. It's great to have that included in the class.
One thing that can get irritating with a video workout is that if an instructor makes a joke, you hear it over and over again. But one thing I love about Tara's teaching style is her dorky little jokes, like when you're in tree pose and she says "you can be any kind of tree, there are lots of kinds of trees in the forest" and giggles. A happy, giggly yoga practice is what I like. And since she doesn't make many jokes, I never found it annoying to hear a few again. (I say dorky with love, by the way, since I am a huge fan of dorky jokes. When my trainer texted me that she was bringing the TRX to our session a few weeks ago, I texted back that that would be "TRXtremely awesome." She was polite enough not to mock me openly.)
I really love Strala Yoga and I'm so excited that I can have Strala with me wherever I take my laptop. I highly recommend this downloadable class to anyone who wants to have a restorative yoga class available to them whenever they want.
All photos are screenshots of the Relax Class download.
Length - 1 hour
Cost - $15 to download (and keep)
Location - Wherever you want it to be!
Skill Level - Anyone! Since you have both a visual guide and Tara's voice leading the class, it's easy to follow along.