It’s been a while since I’ve tried a new type of exercise. It’s also been a while since I’ve made time to go to yoga. So when I was invited last week to take a free yoga class at Epic Yoga in Dupont Circle, I jumped at the chance to try it out. Even though I’m a relative beginner to yoga and am not wicked skilled or anything, I wanted to try a class outside of the realm of just regular, good old fashioned yoga. Lucky for me, Epic Yoga offers a wide range of unique classes that put cool spins on your classic yoga class.
Intrigued by the recently trendy barre workouts I’ve been seeing all over the place, I signed up for a barre yoga class. The class description on their website reads:
Yoga-based class that incorporates ballet barre work, cardio and Pilates.
Simple description, but I decided to go for it. I’ve only been exposed to barre work by way of that one year I did ballet way back in the day and the short unit we had on it in the fitness class I took senior year at AU. All I remembered was that it didn’t feel like a workout when it was happening, but the next day I was sore sore sore.
The studio is new and it’s absolutely beautiful (and full of sweet amenities- free yoga rental, a relaxing cool down room, a room with lockers- it was too nice/pretty to call it a locker room). The design of the inside was calming, inviting, and I loved all the exposed brick in the design of the whole studio.
I was nervous to not only get back into yoga, but to try out this whole barre yoga thing. Yoga classes for me tend to get really emotional because they always bring this great awareness to how I’m feeling and the needs of my body and mind. Yeah… that sounded REALLY yogi of me… I know. But it’s true. It scares me sometimes how intense yoga classes can make me feel. Which, is part of the reason I tend to opt for workouts other than yoga when I’m going to the gym.
The other reason I’ve been dissing yoga and ignoring it a little is because honestly, sometimes I don’t want to think about all my thoughts and emotions and all that jazz. Usually I just want to leave all that at the door because I over think all day anyway and am with my own head. The strength and cardio workouts I end up doing allow me to stop thinking about everything that plagues me and just focus on pure exercise. Which is nice for me. BUT as I am forever seeking balance, I definitely recognize the benefits yoga has in my life (physically and mentally) and I really should make the effort to go. Hey- my gym isn’t called “Balance” for nothing- its name alone should remind me to swap out some of my Body Pump, Bootcamp, and Spin classes with their yoga classes.
OKAY I promise I’ll talk about the actual workout I did last night. It was definitely different and interesting. It also reminded me how badly I need to work on my actual physical balance- yikes! All the one legged action and toe pointing was a real challenge for my coordination skills. The class was pretty fast paced- faster than your standard class, and it really was a fusion of yoga poses and ballet moves. Definitely a cool way to change up yoga. At the end we even did a set of crunches and a little focused ab work.
The instructor was passionate and her music was AMAZING. While it included yogi tunes (with indecipherable words), she also had slow- acoustic versions of Pete Townshend’s Let My Love Open the Door and David Gray’s Babylon. Below isn’t the version she used I’m sure, but I had to include that song by Gray- it always touches my heart.
Overall- great experience. It won’t be a regular thing because classes are expensive and I already pay for a gym. But I definitely don’t think it will be the last time I go into this studio.
Class was followed by the greatest dinner I’ve had in a long time. Stuffed Portobello Burgers with Caramelized Onions. I altered the main recipe a bit (primarily because I was only serving myself)- but the idea remains the same: portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, mozzerella cheese, carmelized onions, and eggplant. Holy crap was this good. Although, caramelized onions could make anything taste like heaven (in my honest opinion).
Lately- and by lately I mean the past couple months- I’ve really gotten into mushrooms. I used to SWEAR that I didn’t like them. My Mom used to try to get me to eat them but I was thoroughly convinced that they were not for me. I don’t know what happened but all of a sudden I started leaving them in recipes or meals I would order out. Then I started craving them. And now I’m just going balls to the wall mad for them! Especially thick, meaty portobello mushrooms (I know, that description sounded a little gross/creepy- but it’s accurate!)
I decided to read up on their health benefits last night and found an old Reader’s Digest article featuring the pros of one of my new favorite foods.
Here’s what I learned:
- They are linked to cancer prevention and protection.
- One portobello mushroom cap has the same amount of potassium as a banana! (Uh oh- watch up bananas, mushrooms are in competition with you now for my choice of potassium intake. I joke. bananas forever).
- They provide your body with selenium and copper which are apparently hard nutrients to get a hold of.
- They don’t lose any of their quality nutrients and benefits when stir-fried, grilled, or microwaved (perfect for us quick and healthy “chefs”)
- For those watching calories- in a study swapping ground beef for mushrooms, participants ate 400 fewer calories a day.
It’s always a good thing when an obsession is something that is beneficial for your body! I’m hoping to see the prices drop on mushrooms as spring gets closer so I can continue this love affair.
Back to dinner!
Like I said, I improvised on the original recipe. I already had roasted eggplant in my fridge and chopped onion. I also didn’t want to eat my burger with bread (instead I had a side of brown rice and butternut squash). Plus, I don’t have a grill so I utilized my oven. I preheated it to 400 degrees to cook the stuffed mushrooms.
Tonight it’s back to Body Pump which I’m excited for- especially because I haven’t been since last Wednesday! Although after incorporating chest presses and shoulder work in my circuit I did Monday and all the yoga-ing last night… I am definitely feeling some soreness. Foam rolling this morning before work definitely happened.