Let’s be honest: while we wait with anticipation for the holidays every year, they always end up being one of the most stressful times of year. Family. Presents to buy. Baking. Decorating. Parties galore. More presents to buy. More family…
That’s why I decided to check out the Hill’s yoga studios for you this month. There are plenty of options on the Hill, including in some unexpected locations. (Disclaimer: while I’ve taken several yoga classes, I am by no means a yogi. Therefore, my reviews are mostly of the studios and not the classes themselves. I’ll leave that up yo you!)
Bikram Yoga Capitol Hill (410 H St NE)
When I set out to try the Hill yoga studios, I decided to push my own boundaries and try Bikram yoga for the first time. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Bikram, it’s a series of 26 yoga postures and two breathing exercises that are performed in a more than 100°F room for 90 minutes. Ok yes, when I put it like that it sounds scary. But, what’s appealing to me about Bikram is that you perform the same sequence in every class so you’re able to track your progress. I also went on one of the first really cold days of the season, so I was looking forward to the heat.
I surprised myself with how much I loved the class and the studio. I took the Wednesday 6p.m. class with LaShone. The class was pretty full and comprised of people with a variety of experience levels, which was nice for the new people like me. LaShone encouraged me to take it easy since it was my first class, and sit out sequences if I started to feel dizzy. I noticed a lot of people took breaks throughout practice.
Afterwards, I felt relaxed, stretched, strong (and sweaty!). The studio has a locker room upstairs with showers, which you’ll definitely want to take advantage of after the class. Be sure to bring your own mat, large towel and several water bottles, but if you forget the studio provides mat and towel rentals.
I interviewed the studio’s owner, Elizabeth, over email about what sets her studio apart. She’s proud that the studio has been a cornerstone of the H St community over the past eight years, and praises the support of its neighbors. She believes the studio offers many great teachers and opportunities for all experience levels – oh and Lady Gaga even practiced at the studio!
Yoga District (526 H St NE)
I had a good feeling about Yoga District before I even took my class because of the great interview I had with the owner, Jasmine. With several Yoga District locations throughout the city, Jasmine has a special place in her heart for the H St studio. Because of its residential location, people who come to the studio tend to be neighbors and the teachers all live in the area.
“I really see it as an extension of the community,” Jasmine told me.
Overall, Jasmine tries to ensure Yoga District classes are economically reasonable. You can purchase a three-class pack for $30 at any time, and she offers sliding scale applications for anyone who needs a reduced fee. She also offers “by donation” classes at least once a week and free weekly meditation groups.
“It’s aimed at being accessible, friendly and open because that’s a result of what yoga does for people,” Jasmine said.
I took the 6:30p.m. class on Thursday night with Klydie. The class was packed – I’m not sure we could have fit another person in that room. Many people seemed to know Klydie as everyone was wishing her a belated happy birthday! Klydie was personable and made us laugh – I enjoyed that it wasn’t as serious as other flow yoga classes I’ve taken in the past.
The studio offers mat storage, but I’d recommend bringing your own mat and water. I’d also change at home before coming to class if I were you since there is really only one changing room and not much time to change in between classes.
There were two other classes I wanted to check out on the Hill, but didn’t get the opportunity. If you live closer to Eastern Market, Capitol Hill Yoga (641 Penn. Ave SE) is one of just a handful of official yoga hour studios nationwide. And I also discovered that the Hill Center (921 Penn Ave SE) offers adult, kid and family yoga classes throughout the week!