Image Via Yoga Trail
We all wish we could skip right on over to that exercise class everyone has been talking about, the one your friends keep recommending and you keep jotting down in your calendar, only to have to cancel last minute each time (thanks, post-work exhaustion; thanks, babysitter who cancelled; the list goes on…). Whether it is a crazy underwater spinning class or a plain mat Pilates class, you wish you could get there, stat. I know the feeling all too well.
I recently took a proactive (key word: active) step towards getting there. My there was a lunch-break yoga class at Your Movement Wellness Center in midtown Manhattan (43 West 46th Street between 5th and 6th Ave.). I headed over for an exclusive look at the boutique fitness studio’s class offerings and an interview with owner, yoga/Pilates instructor, and health coach, Viktoria. (Yes, she does all of that.)
Image Via Viktoria’s Balance
I was fortunate enough to take the center’s “Core Yoga” class with just five other ladies. While the space allows for a maximum of 15 participants, the small class size made our practice feel intimate but comfortable. The 50-minute practice was not your average Vinyasa flow-shmo deal. Here’s why: the teacher, Nicole, began the class by remarking that handstands have suddenly become all the rage. Her proof? “All I see on my Instagram feed these days are pictures of your dinner…and handstands. That’s it.”
She’s right: handstands have suddenly become the “it” pose. And so we followed suit, the smart way: slowly but surely, starting with the basics. The class consisted of poses that primarily addressed arm strengthening and alignment, both of which serve as the foundation of a handstand. Nicole had us in poses that required constant “activation” of the exact muscles one uses to complete (or, in my case, attempt) a handstand.
SEE ALSO 5 Yoga Poses for Pain Relief
Image Via Your Movement Wellness Center
Of course, all of our positions built up to the biggie: the handstand. The verdict? Well, not one of the six of us made it all the way up, but with Nicole’s close supervision and knowledgeable guidance, everyone attempted. In a larger class, I may have sat back, taken child’s pose, and let the more advanced students give it their all, but the judgement-free environment at YMWC enabled me to try my hand (pun intended) at the admittedly intimidating pose, and I was thankful for that. I expressed my gratitude to Viktoria, the owner of the studio, when we got to chat after the class. A communal experience – like the one I explained to her – is exactly what she says she aims for:
“This is not a commercial place: we are here to help each other.”
Viktoria said her goal is to provide alignment-based classes that simultaneously stretch and strengthen participants. The YMWC owner clearly seeks to give clients her utmost attention — “I want to know the name of every person in my class,” she said. Somehow I have a hard time envisioning a SoulCycle instructor saying the same thing.
As a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Viktoria also offers health coaching: one-on-one meetings in which she provides clients with personalized nutrition and exercise plans depending on their body type. Her aim is not a get-fit-fast one; Viktoria maintains that her approach is not about dieting, but a long term lifestyle. I couldn’t agree with her more.
Image via Your Movement Wellness Center
My overall experience was purely positive. My only reservations concern the center’s layout — with such an intimate class setting comes spacial issues. For example, the elevator and the center’s reception desk are located in the studio’s classroom, which undeniably makes for distractions. Nevertheless, if you’re in the NYC area, I do encourage you to check out this small but mighty wellness oasis (see the center’s schedule and pricing here). If you’re located elsewhere, I still encourage you to follow through with whatever workout lingers on your to-do list. Commit, complete, repeat.