Modern-day yogis are widely thought of as free spirited, flexible hippies in $120 Lululemon leggings. Despite this 21st century image, the ancient roots of yoga are far more humble and simplistic, additionally, its an excellent form of exercise.
Don’t get me wrong, I too, am a self-diagnosed Whole Foods addict who buys into every overpriced trend including juice cleanses, top-of-the-line yoga gear, $9 bottles of kombucha and about a million other products, but that’s not the point.
The point is that yoga has undeniably saved and changed my life, in every aspect.
I originally started going to yoga classes because everyone in my high school friend group started doing them. But once I stopped going for socialization and started going for self-healing, I discovered the wonders of this nearly 10,000 year-old art form. The first time that I attended a yoga class was three years ago. I was out of shape, so naturally, my confidence level was low. After about a week of regularly going to classes, I started to see physical results, I found that I was much more levelheaded and that I had a higher level of self confidence. I went from living an unhealthy, self-destructive lifestyle to realizing that I have a purpose. The gratitude and feelings that I developed for yoga were so strong that I decided to train to become an instructor. I’m now in the best physical shape that I’ve ever been in, my thoughts are positive and my will to live happily has been completely restored.
Through yoga, I discovered what it truly feels like to be happy. I owe my metamorphosis and evolution to this ancient art form that changed my existence. I chose to go through teacher training because I wanted to share the magic of yoga with the world.
Most yoga studios teach a style of yoga known as a vinyasa flow. Vinyasa coordinates each asana, or pose, with either an inhale or an exhale. Yoga postures offer an excellent way to stretch, build balance, clear the mind and gain/ tone muscles. Heated yoga classes are in a different category. They too, normally follow a vinyasa flow, but studios are often heated upwards of 100 degrees to promote physical detoxing through sweating.
Now, why is yoga better than say, a gym? For one thing, yoga studios are cleaner and filled with mostly positive minded people rather than the steroid junkies and professional body builders that one would normally find at a gym. Yogis are often less judgmental and understand that everybody starts somewhere. Once upon a time, I had a gym membership at 24 Hour Fitness in Hawai‘i Kai. I mostly ran on the treadmills and did cardio because the weightlifting section was always overcrowded with people whose biceps weighed more than my entire body mass. Going to a gym can definitely help people get in shape, yoga studios are just much more my flow.
If you’ve been offset by gyms or if you don’t feel confident enough to lead your own workouts effectively, try going to a yoga class. Yoga can offer amazing healing powers and can relax and restore every nerve in the body. Here’s a list of some studios that I’d definitely recommend going to:
1.) CorePower Yoga
I practice at CorePower Yoga, a yoga chain with over 170 studios nationwide, three of which are located in Honolulu. The company offers classes that range from 60-75 minutes, all day long. Classes usually start at 5:45 .m., sometimes going until 8:45 p.m. at night, seven days a week. CorePower offers regular vinyasa and heated flow classes, but it also offers a class called Sculpt – which is basically a yoga class that’s half relaxing, half rave. The music is blasting, the instructors and yogis are screaming and everybody is having a blast while getting an amazing workout. If you’re interested in trying out CorePower, go visit one of its three studios on island located in Kāhala Mall, Ward Village or Kailua Shopping Center.
Once you go, CorePower will give you a free week that’s truly, free. All you need to do is fill out your contact information and birthday, then your week of free classes begins. Classes are unlimited during this free week, meaning that you could literally attend every class every day, for absolutely no cost. After your week ends, membership prices for a Black-Tag, or unlimited membership are $165, or $139 if you’re a student. With the Black-Tag membership, you can go to as many classes as you want with no limit. Aside from the unlimited membership, CorePower offers class packs, pay-per-class rates and even a membership where you work at the studio cleaning once a week in exchange for a $30 monthly unlimited membership. Walk-ins are welcome, though it’s suggested that you arrive 15-minutes before class starts if you’ve never gone before to get checked in.
2.) Power Yoga Hawai‘i
Power Yoga Hawai‘i is a donation-based studio, meaning that for every class, you could truly leave any amount that you consider fair. While Power Yoga recommends a $15 donation to support the teachers who pay their own rent for studio time, there is no minimum or maximum donation. This option is probably the most friendly for college students who want to exercise without forking over obscene amounts of money every month. Power Yoga has three studios on island, located near Ala Moana on Piikoi, near Kāhala mall next to Lanikai Juice and one on University Avenue. The company also offers more than 10 types of classes, all of which are at different intensity levels. There are, on average, about five 60-75 minute classes per day, starting at around 8 a.m. going until 9:30 p.m. No reservations are required.
3.) Sun Yoga Hawai‘i
Sun Yoga Hawai‘i is another membership-based studio. With one studio on island in the Aina Haina shopping complex, Sun Yoga offers two free weeks for first timers. What’s the catch? The first two weeks are free as long as you attend at least eight classes during that period. Failing to meet the eight class minimum will result in a $49.99 penalty. There’s more liability with this studio if you don’t go during the free two-week period. This studio offers memberships ranging from monthly prices of $149.99 to yearly prices of $1499.88. Sun Yoga Hawai‘i has seven different classes, ranging from heated yoga all the way to kid-friendly classes. Online reservations are required.
No studio is exactly the same and no studio is any better than another. Any type of yoga practice is an amazing way to destress from school, work or any other part of your life. Practicing self love is one of the easiest and best workouts that you can get. If gyms aren’t exactly your style, go grab a yoga mat and try something new.