When I first moved to New York about 6 years ago I immediately started nosing around for a good yoga class. After some fits and starts, I stumbled upon a class at a studio not far from my apartment and became a regular at this one particular teacher's classes. At the time she boasted that she hadn't found any other teachers in New York who taught the kind of fast-paced, über-challenging yoga that she loved to practice and loved to teach. We're talking an hour-and-a-half wherein you lose count of how many upward dogs, downward dogs you do. Where you get your heart rate pumping and your sweat pouring, without having to go to a Bikram yoga class. Yoga for people who get antsy in "regular" yoga!
The room was full of athletes of all types (runners, bikers, swimmers)—people who appreciated both the centered and calming aspect of yoga but also wanted some bang for their buck, so to speak. It was a great community of people, and one of the few classes I went back to over and over again. Well, unfortunately, the teacher had a baby and then cut way back on her teaching, so I've been a bit adrift from yoga in the last year or two…until now! I've finally found a class that rivals—if not exceeds—that experience, and the best part is that it's something you can do at home.
It comes from the minds and bodies behind Exhale—a posh studio that has locations nationwide as well as DVDs of many of their workouts. They're best known for the Core Fusion classes, which combine ab-centric work with total-body moves that whittle your waist and chisel all of your muscles—all while getting your heart rate up, too.
The class, called Core Fusion Yoga, has been up and running for months, but now they've released a DVD of the workout, so people everywhere can check it out. Just as the name implies, it focuses on strengthening your core while also going through a wide range of traditional vinyasa yoga poses! It's the perfect mash-up, really.
I went to my first class a few weeks ago, and simply adored it. I consider myself a tough audience and a skeptic—I get bored easily, for one thing, and couldn't really imagine how special this class could be. But the time flew by, the instructor was both sweet and vicious (making us hold some poses so long that my thighs were trembling, or do a few extra push ups while cycling through an ordinary vinyasa), and I left with the same feeling of vigor and zest that I did after discovering that yoga class six years ago.
While I can't always get to the studio, the best thing is that the DVD is just as fabulous as the on-site version. (And way more affordable!) Only problem? When I do it at home, there's no teacher standing in front of me yelling "boom shakalaka laka." (Don't ask me why she was yelling that, but it cracked me up and kept me entertained as my muscles quaked!!)