Sleuth, looking for an accessible hot flow class, decided to head over to Bikram Yoga LES for Hot Power Flow 60 led by Erin Eloise.
Like many Bikram studios, the yoga room is carpeted with mirrors., but this was not the typical Bikram class. About five minutes before start time, students laid in savasana, acclimating their bodies to the temperature of 102—a slightly cooler temperature than it is for classic Bikram.
Erin came in and immediately clarified everyone’s first name. (She often called us by name throughout class which added a nice, personal touch.)
“This class is a little different than what we normally do,” Erin informed us. ”We will flow, but it will be accessible to all. There will be music, and I’m going to do the class with you.” From there she took her spot up front and center to help provide visual cues to accompany her verbal instruction.
We began on our knees raising our arms up overhead, then brought our hands down through prayer into a child’s pose, and then lifted back up again. After a couple of rounds of this, we paused on our knees for side stretching vinyasas. The warm-up was fluid, as Erin gracefully guided us through the movements, which made perfect sense with her dancer background.
The fluidity of class continued for the standing series which included triangle, extended side angle, revolved triangle and lunge twist. To maintain the accessibility of class, Erin used only English names for the poses, and she explained each posture thoroughly by adding specific alignment details.
“Drop your shoulders. Lower your chin. Look straight ahead,” she said while in dancer’s pose.
In standing hand-to-big-toe pose, she reminded us to keep our extended leg hip level or above as we lifted the arms up by the ears.
After the standing series, we took a brief savasana before getting into the backbending series which included several variations of cobra and salabhasana, bridge and wheel. Throughout the backbends Erin reminded us to reach the chest forward, particularly when we felt like we couldn’t lift it any higher.
Before moving into bridge, Erin had one of the students (who happened to be studio owner, Tricia Donegan) demonstrate the different variations.
“If you can’t reach your ankles, clasp the fingers behind the back firmly on the floor,” Erin instructed all of us.
From there we went into wheel where Erin offered more bridges for those who didn’t want the full backbend. Next was the seated series which included janu sirsasana and seated forward bend where we wiggled our hips backwards to find the posture.
Before final savasana, we came to sit on our heels for a few rounds of bhastrika breath. Erin then thanked us, and asked us to seal in the practice however we chose. After laying in rest a few moments, I peeled my sweaty body off the mat. Feeling cleansed and refreshed, I was ready to return to the cold weather outside.
—Elysha Lenkin for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are: $25. New students can try the intro special: $59 for one month unlimited.