Which positions come to mind when you think of vinyasa yoga? Probably a downward dog or a child’s pose, right? Or there’s always my favorite, savasana.
We worked on all of the above positions in my Hot Athletic Yoga class. But this class differentiates itself by introducing exactly the moves you don’t think of when you’re asked about your yoga practice – namely, burpees, push-ups, and mountain climbers. Hot Athletic Yoga is a hybrid conditioning-yoga class; and while you’ll feel the stretch, you’ll also feel the burn.
My grading system is from 1-10, with 1 being either the worst and 10 being either the best. For difficulty level, my assessment is subjective. For class size, small is less than 10 students, medium is 10-25, and large is more than 25.
QUALITY OF hot athletic yoga WORKOUT: 8
I’m not going to lie – this class is a little weird, but not in a bad way. Taught by Serena Tom, the session manages to pack every type of workout you can think of into an hour — including yoga, core conditioning, and HIIT.
As in a typical vinyasa class, we started with sun salutations. However, about twenty minutes in was when the class diverged dramatically from a typical yoga practice. For about six minutes, we alternated between push-ups, mountain climbers, and burpees. Keep in mind that the room is hot – when I took this class, it was about 95 degrees. While six straight minutes with only ten second breaks between high intensity exercises is already challenging, the heat makes getting through that section of the class truly difficult, even if you’re in shape.
After the HIIT section, we worked on some more traditional vinyasa flows and core conditioning. We worked a fair amount on balance, doing moves like Warrior III and standing splits several times throughout the session. Although I felt almost completely spent after the cardio section, I pushed through. Serena provides a great deal of individual attention during the class, making it difficult to check out — which could be easy to do otherwise, given the difficulty of the class. Never had I ever felt more grateful for a savasana.
SIZE OF CLASS: MEDIUM
Although this class requires pre-booking, it wasn’t completely full when I went at 8pm on a Wednesday. This is something I appreciate during yoga — otherwise, there’s a high likelihood that I will inadvertently touch the person in front of me or behind me while attempting balance poses.
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: HARD
This class was extremely challenging, particularly from the perspective of endurance. Serena pushes students to the max in all dimensions of the workout, whether balance, cardio, or strength. Since the room is heated, I definitely do not recommend this class to students who are not in good cardiovascular shape. It also helps to have some prior knowledge of vinyasa flows, since a lot is packed into an hour. If you can make it through one of these classes, it’s fully worth it — you leave with both a great workout and a great stretch.
- Wear yoga socks and weight lifting gloves during the cardio portion, or use a blanket. Yoga mats aren’t really made to be jumped on, and I ended up with some uncomfortable blisters.
- Don’t be afraid to stop in the middle and drink water. You’ll need it.
- If you feel faint after class, I highly recommend Nuun. While not exactly as paleo as I would like, it will alleviate the electrolyte loss.
Like Hot Yoga? Check out my Equinox’s Hot Power Yoga review.