Back Bay Yoga – Vinyasa Flow with Jess – by guest blogger Kathryn DeFilippo

This is our first post by a guest blogger and we are thrilled that it’s our friend Kathryn DeFilippo! Kathryn is the true definition of beauty and brains. She is a Senior Investment Associate at Northern Trust and a bubbly blonde who we love. She is very active, in addition to yoga, Kathryn enjoys running and horseback riding.  

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She will be training this Summer for a 21 mile run in October in the Grand Canyon with her family to celebrate her dad’s 60th birthday (how cool is that)?!  She is studying for the CFA exam and has been hitting the books hard, so was very ready for a Sunday evening yoga class and din.  We had a great time and we welcome her to join us Starving Yogis whenever she’d like! Here is what Kathryn has to say about Back Bay Yoga!

This write up is about the 6pm Sunday evening Vinyasa Flow class with Jess.

As an aspiring yogi, I was thrilled and honored to be a Starving Yogi guest this week.

We started the evening by meeting at Back Bay Yoga for the 6:00pm Vinyasa Flow class with Jess.

Back Bay Yoga studio is a lovely space on Boylston where you are welcomed by a very nice staff of fellow yogis.   The studio itself is spacious and comfortable with a nice combination of bright décor and natural light from the windows over looking Boylston Street.

The instructor, Jess Ray, is a true yogi, and she made the 90-minute class feel like a total mental and physical cleanse.  I enjoyed the flow of Jess’ sequences throughout the class.  It was a great mix of instructed flow, as well as some time to explore our own comfort and challenges in exercises like inversions (which I need more practice doing!).  She also introduced a handful of new hip-opener poses that felt awesome after a long workweek!  We also got to horse around a bit after class and Jess helped direct us into this cool 3-person downward dog pose, the first photo is our “take 1” pic and the second photo is our “take 5” version…not too shabby!

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There is a cute boutique in the lobby area with yogi apparel essentials (I was tempted to do some shopping!), and a nice clean locker-room perfect for a quick change after class before dinner, where we headed to the Met Bar Back Bay (a short walk from the studio).

I would highly recommend this class, as the $15  (drop in price) is well worth the cost – I can’t wait to go back!

Studio Information:

Back Bay Yoga

364 Boylston Street, 2nd Floor

Boston, MA 02116

617-375-YOGA (9642)

http://www.backbayyoga.com/

Thanks to Jen and Andrea for hosting me as this week’s guest!  Cheers to great yoga, great food and great friends! 

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The Starving Yogis hit the Lululemon Window

We met the lovely and talented Lisa at her 10am Sunday Warm Gentle Flow class at Inner Strength Studio in West Roxbury back in the Fall. In chatting with her after class we told her all about our Starving Yogis blog. Lisa also worked at Lululemon in Natick and mentioned our blog to her co-workers and reached out to us to see if we would like to do a “window workout” in the store’s window. The rest is history! We lined up a date in early February and started creating a flow that incorporated a solid traditional base of poses, mixed in with some creative partner poses. We started up a Pinterest board to pin our pose ideas to, being mindful of poses that a certain member of the Starving Yogis is a tad limited in her yoga bag of tricks due to preggohood.

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We crafted a pretty comprehensive and fun flow and were ready to rock it out on our mats (followed promptly by food intake of course).

Saturday February 7th rolled around and we made our way out to the Natick Collection for the window workout. But before we hit the road, we each had a sizeable plate of leftover takeout Indian food for lunch…probably not the wisest thing to eat less than 2 hours before doing an hour yoga flow in a small enclosed space, but hey, they don’t call us “Starving” for nothing.

We arrived, met the Lulu staff (all super nice girls and fellow yoginis) and started up. We had a lot of fun with it while also getting a good workout in (as indicative of our water breaks throughout). We had lots of passerbys stop and watch, many snapping pics of us, groups of adorable kids standing outside the window imitating (well trying to anyways) the poses we were doing, along with some friends and family that swung by as well. We wore matching Lululemon tops, the Run Swiftly Tech Racer Backs.  Andrea’s pants were Wonder Unders Full-on Luxtreme; and Jen wore the Ebb To Street Pant

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After an hour, we wrapped things up and headed on over to the California Pizza Kitchen in the mall, where we enjoyed a fab meal    and replenished our energy stores for our next sweat sesh.

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We had a blast and what a great way to spend a wintery February Saturday afternoon.

 

 

Milton Yoga – Heated Power Vinyasa with Matt

This write up is about the 1:00pm Heated Power Vinyasa class with Matt.

Studio: This is one of Starving Yogi’s favorite studios.  It’s quaint, conveniently located, and offers a wide variety of class types and times.  The studio itself is very simple – small welcome area and a standing desk flanked by two studios and two bathrooms (key for changing into dry clothes, splashing some body spray and making an acceptable sweat bun with your hair before heading out to dinner).

The classrooms themselves are just as simple. The heated vinyasa class takes place in a room with nice wood floors, muted red walls, and minimal decoration that is truly relaxing. There are also windows in the front and back of the room (don’t fret over being window art – you cannot see into the studio from the street!). While seemingly not all that common in a lot of heated studios, having some natural sunlight can really brighten up your practice (pun intended).

As for other amenities, there is bottled water on hand for $1 if you forget to pack your own and a mat rental option for $3. They do not have an in-store boutique, so make sure you pack dry clothes for dinner afterwards.

Class: (This write up is about the Heated Power Vinyasa class with Matt on Mondays at 1pm)

Temperature: 90-95 degrees

Humidity: 60%

Duration: 1 hour

As the preggo one of the two Starving Yogis, I have been opting for the “less heated” classes (i.e. those that keep to 98 degrees and below). I recently tried out Monday’s 1pm Heated Power Vinyasa class taught by Matt Rutkowski.

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This class was a beautiful flow. Matt has great knowledge of human anatomy which as a personal trainer I can appreciate.   His flow was fluid and a perfect dichotomous balance of relaxation and breathwork mixed with a rigorous physical challenge for the body. He offered up some excellent modifications and alternative options for me in my “Preggo condition” and brought me over a variety of props including bolsters and blocks. As I progress in my pregnancy, certain poses are just physically impossible to get into any longer, i.e. side crow, and even child’s pose is starting to feel uncomfortable, not to mention poses to avoid altogether in the third trimester, like deep twists, anything that requires you to lie on your stomach, inversions, deep backbends and anything that requires you to lie on your back on on your right side for an extended amount of time, (Phew… that was a mouthful…what a list!) so modifications are always welcome and much appreciated!

 

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Is this class for me?

I would recommend this class for all levels, the modifications offered are great and you can take it at your own pace in a comfortable heat range. Highly recommend! When checking out the class, tell them the Starving Yogis sent you and that you would like a cookie upon completion of class 😉

Tips:

Lot and street parking is a breeze.

Price Point: $18 per class

 

Studio Information:

Milton Yoga

12 Brush Hill Rd.

Milton, MA 02186

(781) 534-9642

http://www.miltonyoga.com/MiltonYoga.php 

 

Inner Strength Studio – West Roxbury

Class: Warm Gentle Flow with Lisa

This is Starving Yogi’s first review of Inner Strength despite it being one of our regular stops for getting our sweat on… a lot of sweat on.  We decided to try the Warm Gentle Flow as the lower heat (80-85 degrees) was more suitable for the Starving Yogi baby on board.  For those who like it hot, like really hot, Inner Strength flows not designated otherwise are typically in triple digit temperatures.

The studio itself has just completed a renovation to create a second studio for specialty classes and teacher training, in addition to the large heated studio already in place.  There’s a small welcome area with snacks (Power cookies – delish…) and some gear (mostly mats and towels).  Once you enter past the reception desk there is a changing area with 3 changing rooms, 2 bathrooms, lockers with keys and a wall of cubbies.

The Warm Gentle Flow was a great class.  For starters, while this starving yogi enjoys the challenge of high temperatures, there is something much more “enjoyable” about a warm flow.  Do not be offended, heat seekers – we love the heat – but every once in a while it’s nice to be able to enjoy relaxing into a pose without sweat dripping into your eyes or, my personal favorite, up your nose in a nice Humble Warrior…  This class allowed us a little more time to reflect on our practice and alignment, which is always a great thing to indulge now and then.

Our instructor, Lisa, was great.  I always think it’s a challenge to teach an “all level” class without leaving someone disappointed, but Lisa provided various substitutions that enabled everyone to make the best choice for their practice.  I also appreciated that she took the time to encourage us to take some of the easier options.  I personally am a chaturanga addict (totally helps my crossfit push-ups, bro), but a slower version – lowering fully to the ground, with a sphinx pose as opposed to an up dog and a pause at table top en-route to down dog – was extremely relaxing for my lower back and shoulders.  Even though “yoga isn’t a competition” is repeated all the time it’s easy to get caught up in thinking that if you’re not pushing yourself to your limit, it’s not a good workout… which is not true.  I thought this class was a great opportunity to relax and stretch and really focus on my poses and body as opposed to powering through from start to finish.  Note:  This is not to say the class wasn’t hard…  it was!  but this is most certainly a class that allows you to choose your own adventure – with the guidance of a knowledgeable instructor – to get the most out what you’re feeling that day.

So is this class for me?  Yup – this is a perfect class to check out no matter what your experience.

What else?  Parking…  There is plenty of it… but wow is the little strip mall sketchy.  Embrace the chaos, find your zen…  =)

Studio Information:

Inner Strength Studios

1524 Veterans of Foreign Wars Parkway, West Roxbury, MA 02132

Ph: (617) 477-3315

Starr Yoga – Roslindale

This write up is about the Sunday 11am Vinyasa All Levels class with Charles Barone.

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Studio: This studio is located on the Roslindale/West Roxbury line and is brand spankin’ new, opening its’ doors on Sept 7, 2014. This studio is the creation of my good friend Julie Starr, so this studio has a special place in my heart, just like it’s owner does. I discussed with my Starving Yogi partner in crime and we scheduled our yoga date to check out Starr Yoga’s 11am Vinyasa All Levels class.

You walk through the door of Starr Yoga and into an adorable reception area where you are greeted by a smiling Julie who checks you in. There is a funky light fixture that your eyes immediately gaze towards, along with adorable little live plants in cool glass fixtures on the wall. After checking in, you walk down a hallway where there is a rack to leave your shoes on before entering the yoga studio. Beyond the shoe rack there is a ledge that is the “friends and family wall”, where photos of friends and family of Julie’s are colorfully displayed (we LOVE this personal touch!) Julie’s 5 year old daughter and mini-her, Izzy, is also proudly displayed amongst the photos.

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The studio is filled with wonderful natural light that flows through the large front windows, don’t worry about peeping Toms, the windows do have curtains up that allow for maximum light to shine through while simultaneously providing a privacy from onlookers peering through the busy street. There are cubbies to the side of the room to place your bag/purse, along with blocks and other props. There is a restroom at the back of the room as well. The space is small, lovely and charming. White walls provide an airy, crisp, feng shui minimalist vibe to help get you into your Zen space. The studio has a very homey and boutique-y feel to it.

Mats are available to rent for $2, and they have water available for purchase for $1. Juice and iced tea are coming soon.

The studio is unheated and the room is kept between 80-85 degrees.

Class: (This write up is about the Sunday 11am Vinyasa All Levels class with Charles)

The Starving Yogis have taken Charles’ classes at Inner Strength in West Roxbury and Watertown, where he currently teaches a wide variety of classes and we are big fans of his style.   This is an hour-long class (as are all of the classes at Starr Yoga) and every moment is filled with pure yoga bliss. Charles incorporates a philosophical layer throughout the class and isn’t simply instructing you from one pose to the next.   His cueing is stellar, and very clearly explained.   The “flow” pacing is quick so you move from one posture to the next with purpose, meaning, and speed! Although this room is not heated, we were quickly sporting that glowing glisten of sweat that we know and love so much. Hour long classes are typically “efficient” and this class definitely fits that bill. In and out in an hour, yet we still had a great flow to unwind the mind, work up a sweat, and still fit in a thoroughly rewarding savasana as the class came to an end. Not to mention, we had also worked up an appetite for our brunch at Rox Diner.

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Is this class for me?

This class is really is ALL LEVELS as the class title “Vinyasa All Levels” states. If you are more of a beginner you can take the flows at a slower pace. The on-point and ample cueing is helpful for any beginner all the way to seasoned veteran yogis. Charles offers modifications on ways to make poses more advanced as well, for those that are ready to take things up a notch.

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Tips: There is usually ample street parking in front of the studio and it is non-metered.

Restaurants nearby: Check out Roslindale Village or West Roxbury Center, both a few minutes away from the studio. Plenty of options for the Starving Yogis and for anyone looking for great eats post-class!

There is a wide variety of class offerings and class times, along with a slew of instructors to chose from. There is even a kids yoga class called “Circus Yoga”. Starr Yoga boasts a second studio space which is located on the floor below the yoga studio where barre classes are held, “Starr Barre”. Julie is also a nutritionist and the studio doubles as her office. http://jswnutrition.com.  Julie is a Lululemon Ambassador and a spunky ball of light-hearted energy and glow.

 

Price point: $15 per class (drop-in rate)

The studio is offering some great introductory deals along with it’s Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday, October 18th, classes are free all day long, along with fun festivities. Details below:

Free classes all day, trunk shows, mini-spa treatments, awesome food, juice “bar”, raffles, music, and HUGS.
Here is the schedule:
8:00 Pranavayu yoga with Laura M Parrott
9:30 Vinyasa with Hannah Landes
9:30 STARR BARRE with Laura
12 Vinyasa with Adena Muncey Yoga
2pm STARR BARRE with Courtney Strakosch
4pm “Pop-STARR” flow with Julie Starr-Wood
6pm-8pm Music by Jordan Lashley, food crafted by the The Traveling Feast, and juice by E.t.c. juicery
Pre-registration is definitely recommended- you can sign up online:www.starryogaboston.com, under events.

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Studio Information:

Starr Yoga

339 Belgrade Ave Roslindale, MA 02131

Ph: (617) 816-2947

starryogaboston.com

Stil Studio – All Level Basic Flow – Legacy Place, Dedham

Class: All Level Basic Flow, Sunday 11AM with Tracy

Studio: This studio is tucked away in the Legacy Place shopping plaza, next to the Make Meaning store, it’s easy to miss from the outside so it helps to scan with your eyes for the parking garage/elevators sign. When you walk into Stil you enter a lovely retail shop with scarfs, jewelry, yoga attire, candles, incense, and other lovely items. If your wallet can stay strong and shut as you walk up to the register/front desk area, then you are stronger than us Starving Yogis usually are! The aroma of incense burning fills the air. Once you check in for class you walk past the register area and you will see some lockers on the left and two restrooms on the right. Then you proceed down a pleasantly lit corridor into the studio. To the right of the studio before you enter there are hooks to hang jackets/bags up and you can leave your shoes under the bench that is located here.

Stil Legacy Place

The studio is beautiful and large. There is a really cool wooden barn-like door to the far side of the studio. It is clean and the lighting is a perfect blend of relaxing dim yet bright enough to keep your senses awake and present. The room is not heated like many of the power yoga studios we’ve visited. Temperature is between 80-85 degrees and is comfortable (i.e., no goose bumps and no sweat drippage). Mats are available to rent, towels are free and they have water and juice available for purchase.

 

Class:

(This write up is about the All Level Basic Flow, Sunday 11AM with Tracy)

Starving Yogis decided to check out this class on a last minute whim during a shopping trip. As we write this blog, we’re really encouraged to try new classes, which in this case was an unheated All Level Flow. This was probably the most diverse class we’ve seen yet – there were men and women of varying ages and skill levels all together in the same room – truly an All Level class.

The class is unheated, but the flow was fast moving and we ended up working into a good sweat after about 10 minutes anyway. While the class was fast moving, the movements were common enough that no one appeared to be left behind at any point. Tracy did an excellent job of demonstrating the different asanas/modifications while talking through the class, which was helpful for us too (everyone needs a demonstration from time to time to check in on good form).  At one point, I looked across the room and there were about 5 or 6 variations of half moon pose happening – everything from the most basic to the most advanced was covered.

The flow itself followed a typical form and used relatively basic movements. We started with some cat/cow and down dogs to high planks to get warmed up, then moved through some standing folds until we were ready for the full chaturanga (again, all modifications were in use…). We then moved through standard sun salutations but with the quick transitions in and out of different poses (think Warrior 2 to Reverse Warrior to Warrior 2 to Reverse Warrior, etc). As the class neared the end, the pace slowed for some twists and mat work, until we finally settled into my favorite part of class… Shavasana.

While this class was great just in and of itself – great studio, great instructor, great variety, great flow – what really made the class most memorable was the music. While we certainly enjoy more traditional yoga tunes, this class was a real mix up with some upbeat Top 40 happening. I know maybe not everyone shares in our (my?) excitement over the latest Enrique song (although everyone should because that is one sweet, sweet jam), but it was really fun to get your heart rate up along with some legit workout music. The cool thing about yoga is that It can be whatever you want it to be – it can be relaxing and cleansing, or therapeutic, or a physical/mental challenge to overcome – or maybe sometimes (like today) it’s a fun workout with some sweet tunes.

Is this class for me?

Yes. Demonstration and modification makes this class a true All Level class. Beginners won’t feel overwhelmed and those with more experience will still find the class challenging. Definitely check it out!

Tips: This is Legacy Place and the parking lot can get crazy busy depending on the time of year and week (i.e., holidays are crazy and also weekends can get very busy). If you can’t find a spot in the parking lots, there is a parking garage and also our back up parking area is in the Costco parking lot which is off to the side of Legacy Place and a two minute walk.

There are many restaurant options at Legacy Place for post-yoga dining. Many have outdoor seating options for the Summer time. Here are some of your options: Wicked, PF Changs, Aquitaine, Legal’s C Bar, The Met Bar, Genki Ya Sushi, Yard House, not to mention there is a Lululemon and a Lucy store as well, so not only can you spend your hard earned dough on yoga/ food and cocktails, but you can also be sure you look fab in yoga-wear as well.

There are A LOT of class offerings and a wide array of class times.

Price point: $17 per class

Studio Information:

Stil Studio

227 Legacy Place

(Enter in the middle Parking Structure and follow the sign to Stil Studio)

Dedham, MA 02023

Phone: 781.407.yoga (9642)

http://stilstudio.com

 

Stil Studio – Spa Yoga – Legacy Place, Dedham

This write up is about the Friday 5:15pm Spa Yoga class with Betty, who is also the co-creator of the studio.

Studio: This studio is tucked away in the Legacy Place shopping plaza, next to the Make Meaning store, it’s easy to miss from the outside so it helps to scan with your eyes for the parking garage/elevators sign. When you walk into Stil you enter a lovely retail shop with scarfs, jewelry, yoga attire, candles, incense, and other lovely items. If your wallet can stay strong and shut as you walk up to the register/front desk area, then you are stronger than us Starving Yogis usually are! The aroma of incense burning fills the air. Once you check in for class you walk past the register area and you will see some lockers on the left and two restrooms on the right. Then you proceed down a pleasantly lit corridor into the studio. To the right of the studio before you enter there are hooks to hang jackets/bags up and you can leave your shoes under the bench that is located here.

Stil Legacy Place

The studio is beautiful and large. There is a really cool wooden barn-like door to the far side of the studio. It is clean and the lighting is a perfect blend of relaxing dim yet bright enough to keep your senses awake and present. The room is not heated like many of the power yoga studios we’ve visited. Temperature is between 80-85 degrees and is comfortable (i.e., no goose bumps and no sweat drippage). Mats are available to rent, towels are free and they have water and juice available for purchase.

 

Class:

(This write up is about the 5:15pm Spa Yoga class with Betty)

We will start with the online description of the Spa Yoga class, as this really gave us an insight on what to expect: “SPA Yoga is a great way to end the long work week.

Spa yoga is 75 min slow flow floor based yoga class that is based on the Fluid Yoga Sequencing. This class flows through the body’s senses to discover a deeper awareness. The physical practice spends time opening all energetic points of the body to leave the practitioner with a blissed out feeling.  We will end with a relaxing 15 minute guided meditation. During SPA, you may discover extra hands on assists and massages, a calming candlelit room atmosphere, delightful scents and beautiful music in the background. Be prepared to feel like you just walked out of a SPA!”

And guess what?!, we did leave this class feeling like we had just spent 75 glorious minutes at a spa.

The “mood lighting” in the space was absolutely glorious. Small candles were spread all around the perimeter of the room. The lighting is very dim like in spa. There were also candles placed in a Buddha that is affixed to the wall a bit above by where the instructor is seated in the front of the room, they flicker light flecks that dance around on the wall. Incense burns and there is no smell of sweat or smelly feet like in some yoga studios.

Is this class for me?

This class is really for anyone. This class is all about relaxation, breathing, and imagery. Betty’s voice is calming with a true rhythmic quality to it. We found ourselves feeling so relaxed at times that we could perhaps drift off into a mini nap. A great thing on a Friday evening after the work week. What this class is not about is hard work and a major sweatfest and calorie burn. And that’s A ok every once in a while. It’s nice to take it down a few notches and try something new. We still got some great stretching in, along with working on honing our breath and truly relaxing our minds and slowing things down.

Tips: This is Legacy Place and the parking lot can get crazy busy depending on the time of year and week (i.e., holidays are crazy and also weekends can get very busy). If you can’t find a spot in the parking lots, there is a parking garage and also our back up parking area is in the Costco parking lot which is off to the side of Legacy Place and a two minute walk.

There are many restaurant options at Legacy Place for post-yoga dining. Many have outdoor seating options for the Summer time. Here are some of your options: Wicked, PF Changs, Aquitaine, Legal’s C Bar, The Met Bar, Genki Ya Sushi, Yard House, not to mention there is a Lululemon and a Lucy store as well, so not only can you spend your hard earned dough on yoga/ food and cocktails, but you can also be sure you look fab in yoga-wear as well.

There are A LOT of class offerings and a wide array of class times.

Price point: $17 per class

Studio Information:

Stil Studio

227 Legacy Place

(Enter in the middle Parking Structure and follow the sign to Stil Studio)

Dedham, MA 02023

Phone: 781.407.yoga (9642)

http://stilstudio.com