Posts Tagged ‘Stuff Smurf Loves’
After 13 years in PR, I still get a good chuckle out of being “pitched” for this blog. But, every once in a while one comes my way where I say, “Why, thank you, PR Person! That actually *is* relevant to me and my readers!” In fact, I let out a little squeal of joy that the Mrs. Dash people included lil’ old us on their news distro list…*
I’m a sucker for a free sample, so, when I saw the ads on a few running websites about Secret Sport, I figured, “Why not?” Now, I know the whole “women in sports” angle has been used to market a number of things that don’t need a “sport” upgrade- Like, say, a tampon that has a sporty lime green applicator and toughskins grip, I would assume to help you insert it roadside on mile 64 of the Western States 100. But I’m not the only FitLifeSF contributor who can attest to the fact that tech fabrics + sweat + sunscreen = Not so fresh smelling clothes and bodies.
1336 Polk @ Pine
My favorite Yelp review on Funky Door Yoga went something like this, “Funky is the smell of the dude’s sweaty ass next to you and Door is where you’ll want to stand so you don’t pass out from the heat.”
Funky Door has two locations in San Francisco and one in Berkeley. I took classes at the one on Polk Street occasionally, but I was a regular for about a year at the one on 2nd and Howard, but it has closed. There is only one thing more awesome than sweating your ass off in 117 degree heat, and that is doing it in a swimsuit with your leg in the air five feet from a wall of windows overlooking the sidewal where all your coworkers are walking to BART.
I’ll start by saying that I am kind of torn on Bikram Yoga as a whole. For starters, I have a big issue with the cultishness. First, this guy Bikram Choudhury decides he is going to try to trademark yoga poses and basically say you need to pay him a license to do poses that have existed for thousands of years in a room above a certain temperature? What a crock of shit. Then, when you get into it, you realize that Bikram people are ONLY Bikram people, whereas most practitioners of other styles of yoga switch between them. And, to keep your instructor status, you have to do 2 classes a day (3 hours total). And, there is a secret-ish invite-only advanced class that only special people can go to. It’s kind of Scientology-esque in some ways- like you need to get to a certain point before they let you in on their secrets.
The classes are pretty mind-numbing. 26 poses, done in the same order, to the exact same instructor script, every single class with no music. “Your body is like a Japanese ham sandwich!”
Specific to Funky Door Yoga (which, to be fair, is the only place I’ve ever done Bikram), the instructors can be very combative with students, essentially cajoling them into doing poses even after the student has explained that they have a health problem keeping them from doing it. The only time I have heard a teacher accept that a student couldn’t do something was when I was practicing with a fractured arm. As a student, it was uncomfortable to be in the room while some teachers were calling out students and berating them.
The information you find on the internet will tell you that Bikram Yoga is done in a 105 degree room. The instructors at Funky Door, apparently, believe that more is more. An instructor once brought a thermometer into the room and we got up to 117 degrees. Funky Door is somewhat notorious for packing students into the rooms, mat-over-mat, so prepare to get dripped on and have your space invaded.
Funky Door has an introductory offer that is appealing, but keep in mind that classes after that are about $16 each.
Despite all the negatives, though, I really enjoyed doing Bikram at Funky Door when I was injured and couldn’t do “real yoga.” (Bikram has no poses that involve bearing weight on the arms, like Down Dog or Crow, so it was a godsend when I had a broken arm.) It also gave me quite a glow for several hours afterwards and a general feeling of calm and health. But, MAN, getting though those classes was an exercise in mind-over-heat/stink/sweat/douchebags!
THE FINAL WORD: Funky Door is great for a healthy glow and low-impact workout, but prepare to be brainwashed, basted, broiled, berated and, possibly, broke.
848 Folsom St. – San Francisco, CA – 94107
I discovered It’s Yoga about 2 years ago when working a few blocks away. What a gem. First, the studio is lovely- a huge warehouse space that looks like it used to be a garage or something. It is very minimal – the kind of yoga studio where go to work, not the kind of yoga studio where you go to let your nails dry while soaking your toes in a lavender-scented fizzy-bath. There are no locker rooms, so change before you get there or change in one of the bathrooms. If you don’t have a mat, they have them, but some are of questionable olfactory suitability. The studio is carpeted and can get a little wet-dog smelling when it’s warm out, but you won’t notice it once the practice starts.
With the exception of a few Ashtanga primary series and conditioning classes, all of the classes offered are Rocket series, which was created by the studio’s owner, Larry Schultz, and draws from Ashtanga. It is a very vigorous practice, and a testament to the intensity is the large percentage of men in the classes. The practice includes loads of handstands, headstands, arm balances and backbends… the kind of poses that make you wish there were a class photographer just so you can show all your friends the crazy shit you did.
Larry is a phenomenal teacher, as are all of the teachers at the studio. Reid and Marie are great, and the community of knowledgeable yogis and yoginis are very down-to-Earth and always ready with help and encouragement.
In a refreshing change from other SF studios I’ve been to, they don’t hit you over the head with the spiritual side of the practice- granted the practice itself is spiritual, so there is really no way to take that OUT of the practice. They allude to it, and it’s there, but you definitely don’t feel like you’re standing on your head during mass at Grace Cathedral.
The studio also offers a wonderful teacher training program, so there are always practitioners from around the world coming to learn the way of the Rocket.
Check out the website for their beginner’s student special; It’s a great deal at $180 for 3 months unlimited. If you want to experience It’s Yoga in all its glory, you really need to go to the 4:30 Friday Happy Hour class- just arrive early to get a place for your mat against the wall if your handstands aren’t rock solid… You’ll be doing about 20 of them.
THE FINAL WORD: A true gem among a multitude of SF yoga studios. I regret that I’m not able to get to the studio as often as I’d like, but it’s comforting to know the crew at It’s Yoga will be there when I am able to make it back.
Ps. They also have a Rocket 2 dvd available, which I have ordered and will be reviewing soon.
THE VERDICT: Smurf loves it!
Normally, I’d start a review of a Beachbody product with a reminder that Rob is a coach and you should buy your products through him because he can give you a discount. But, that point is moot in this case, because you can get this undulating eyesore for only $3 used on Amazon.
I have actually heard good things about the Yoga Booty Ballet line of products, but, let me tell you— Cardio Cabaret is nearly unbearable.
First: The instructors. I’d take a scoop of what they are having and sip it through a straw… up my nose… if this weren’t a health and fitness blog. They are so busy heaving and hamming for the camera that they give nary a real instruction. Luckily, I have a background in dance, so was able to flail my way through most of it on cue, otherwise, I’d surely have pulled something. Here’s hoping I wasn’t supposed to perform any move in any certain way for the sake of safety or conditioning.
Third: There is nothing burlesque about this workout, at all. I think there is may be one move they toss in where they reference a stocking and one spot where they have you shimmy. If they would have written the title more appropriately, it would have been: Booty Live: Ballet Yoga! Cabaret Burlesque Style. It’s a shame to see such an obvious attempt to squeeze as many trendy buzzwords into one title, when it really speaks to none of them well.
Fourth: Intensity. I was able to push myself enough to feel like I’d gone for a brisk walk. It was an OK way to get my heartrate up for a little while (though 34 minutes of it hardly counts as a full cardio day for me.)
THE FINAL WORD: For me, doing this workout again would be like watching Two Girls, One Cup a second time. You’d have to be nuts to know what’s coming and still subject yourself to it.