photo copyright Dancing Mind Yoga

The following post is by guest blogger, Kia Guarino.

Yesterday morning I woke up pleasantly sore, feeling it in muscles I had forgotten about, and thanked our newest discovery, a local hot yoga studio! On Tuesday, we tried out a Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga studio located in downtown Falls Church and were thoroughly impressed. Dancing Mind Yoga uses a heated (90-95 degrees) yoga studio and the Baptiste style of flow yoga, a relatively fast-paced class that works to create stamina and improve overall health and wellbeing. The high temperatures are designed to increase the benefits of yoga, and to improve circulation and eliminate toxins from the body. It also reduces the chance of injury during the class by keeping your muscles loose. The difference is undeniable – I have found that practicing power vinyasa without heat does not leave me feeling as strengthened and healthy.

I really enjoyed the class, and the studio itself was very pretty and relaxing. The walls are a beautiful, serene turquoise color and their lotus flower symbol captures the feeling that yoga inspires. The instructor was attentive about correcting mistakes, which I enjoyed. There are a lot of benefits lost if the poses are done incorrectly, and she was very good about making sure my arms, legs, and back were positioned for the best results. I really felt good in the morning, enjoying the soreness in my lower back from the Locust pose. We bought an unlimited pass for this month so I will be going as much as possible!

Bikram yoga is a different form of hot yoga in temperature and in structure. Bikram yoga is a series of 26 poses that are very demanding, the first half standing and the rest on the ground, in an intensely heated studio. Bikram yoga was designed for the Western yogi and aims to release stress and help with chronic diseases and injuries. It helps increase focus, stamina and clarity while adding the benefits of exercising (weight loss, increased energy, etc.).

In Connecticut, about 6 years ago, we discovered a Bikram studio in South Norwalk and regularly took classes. Our favorite teacher was Dan Markowitz, who would sing James Taylor songs to us during savasana 🙂 I have attended a number of classes over the years, including in New Haven, Norwalk, and Danbury, CT, as well as in the Boston area. I have learned that the temperature ranges from about 100-105 (usually) to 115 at one studio (which was VERY intense). When I was able to take Bikram classes a few times a week, I felt great overall and found that I had toned muscles that would have been very difficult to get even with strenuous gym workouts. However, if you are not prepared, it can leave you with a pretty intense headache. As they mention online, it is very important to drink a lot of water before entering a Bikram studio and not to eat for a few hours prior.

While the poses and flow of the classes differ, I find that hot vinyasa does have many similar benefits. There is something extremely relaxing about yoga, even in high temperatures. I am very excited to be getting back into it.


A New Way to Do Yoga

DSCN3473This post is by guest blogger, Julia Guarino. 

Yoga is, for me, the ultimate workout. I began my athletic career as a dancer, and later a gymnast and diver, thus it seemed natural that as an adult I would gravitate toward a workout that not only provides strength and stamina, but also balance and flexibility. But, of course, you do not have to be a gymnast to enjoy the practice of Yoga, and over the past 12 years as I have grown as a Yoga practitioner, I have also witnessed the popularity and availability of Yoga practice grow, as it is recognized as an excellent way to increase flexibility and strength, and is actually good for your joints.

For many, the greatest barriers to practicing (as with any other form of excercize), is often time. Additionally, yoga practice tends to be very expensive (often $16 – $20 per class). But for Derik Mills, founder of Yogaglo, this became not a barrier, but inspiration. Yogaglo is a new online studio, where students can take unlimited classes for a membership fee of $18 a month. These classes can be accessed online from anywhere, or can be taken in person in Santa Monica, CA. Classes are offered at varying levels of difficulty, in yoga styles that include Vinyasa Flow, Anusara®, Pre and Post-natal, Ashtanga, Hatha and Meditation. A variety of lectures are additionally offered, and the website,, offers guest speakers, blogs, and information on their nonprofit partners. As a Yogaglo member, you can choose which nonprofit partner 5% of your membership goes to!

As Derek Mills, says, “There is a need for a more accessible, affordable yoga practice that will attract and unify students from around the world who have different experience levels and resonate with different yoga traditions. Under this premise, I built a website and studio that deliver the essential teachings of yoga and a business that makes a social impact by funding non-profits in which we believe.  As we navigate our way financially and spiritually through our current global crises, Yogaglo offers an affordable, time-saving solution and  a much-needed sense of community that is accessible to all.”

 I, personally, find many things about Yogaglo appealing, from its social mission, to the price, to the green nature of the e-commute to the studio. Although I will still often choose to practice in the presence of an instructor – especially important for beginners, I believe – I regularly practice with a DVD, and the chance to practice in my home with a live instructor is a wonderful opportunity!

Mary’s Note 6/16/09: I just heard form Yogaglo that they will be hosting an event along with LA Yoga called “Here Comes the Sun,” a free summer kick-off festival celebrating the yoga community, local businesses and non-profits working together for social change. The event will highlight philanthropic efforts in the Los Angeles community by featuring a marketplace of local vendors who share a passion for giving back to the neighborhood and world at large. Here Comes The Sun is truly a party with a purpose so join us to enjoy great music; shop and sample select products, all whilst learning what businesses are doing to give back. Local vendors will offer food and beverages, and the Hypnotic Gurus and DJ Drez will be providing the evening’s musical entertainment. Sponsors include Lululemon Athletica, Tom’s Shoes, Whole Foods Market Santa Monica, and many more businesses that are working toward social change.

The event will be held on Friday, June 26th from 5:00pm-10:00pm at the Yogaglo Studio, 1800 Berkeley Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404.