Sunday, June 15

Review: Power Life Yoga

After my first class! Red-faced and sweatier than I've ever been ever.
I'm not really sure how to describe my health & fitness right now. I'm not really overweight, but I'm not athletic. I can maintain my weight, size, and shape by eating well and watching my portions (which I pretty much do naturally), so I can go months without working out and be fine.

But I think it's safe to say I'm out of shape.

By that, I mean that I'm not particularly muscular or strong or toned. And that's okay. I have a history of poor body image, and although I feel so happy with my body and soul right now, I've always wished that I was strong and toned. That's totally feasible. I feel good after a good workout.

I started looking for a gym almost two weeks ago. It turned out that the one I used to go in Urbandale has closed down. Then, on the way home from work one way, I spotted a place on High Street - Power Life Yoga. It had a studio that faced the street, so I could see people doing yoga while I drove past. I googled it that night. It turns out they did heated classes so that you get extra sweaty and work harder. They also had barre classes. I was hooked.

When I first went inside to scout the place on a Thursday, I talked to a very adorable, very small blonde girl at the front desk. She was super friendly and explained that they do a week free trial, so you can test the place out and see how you like it before you commit to paying for classes. The place smelled like incense and was pretty warm and muggy inside. I agreed to the free week and filled out some paperwork. I decided I was going to go to my first class the next morning - a "power sculpt" class at 5:45 in the morning. Ooof-ta!

Power Sculpt:
Friday morning, I got up bright and early at 5am so I could get ready, eat something, and make it to the studio on time. I arrived, put my stuff in a cubby in the gorgeous, clean women's locker room, and got my yoga mat and water bottle set up in the room with the windows. I didn't even think to bring a towel. No one was very chatty, but it was before 6am, so it was understandable. About 10 people showed up. I was not prepared for how hot that room would be... before we started working out, even.

I can easily say that it was the hardest workout I'd ever done. "Power Sculpt" is a mix between yoga, weight-lifting, and cardio. We started out with some yoga, then added in small weights (I used 3lb weights). Between exercises, we did some cardio bursts. Needless to say, it was intense, especially for 5:45am.

There was probably 30% of it that I couldn't physically do because either (1) my legs were literally giving out or (2) I was about to faint or throw up from the heat and exhaustion. I was not going to be the girl who threw up in class. Nope. So I listened to my body and stretched on the mat when I felt like I was going to be sick until I felt like I could join the class again. I pushed my body further than I thought I could, and I have never been sweatier in my life. 

After class, I showered off in the locker room and got ready for work. There was plenty of room and everything was so clean.

Power Barre (Express):
The next class I went to was the next day, on Saturday at 11:45am. It was pouring out rain, but despite that, J went running around Sherman Hill while I went to class. I got there super early, and set up in the smaller room while I waited for people to show up. The class was filled with all girls, and they were much more talkative. A ton of them were really nice and friendly, and no one seemed to look down on me for being a beginner.

The instructor of the class was amazing. Her name was Satine and she was a real-life dancer with this tiny little dancer body. Along with clearly knowing her stuff, she was so encouraging and happy! She constantly complimented us on being so tough and her attitude totally made the class. 

The barre class itself was great. It was an "express" class, which meant it was 45 minutes instead of an hours. Definitely one of my favorites. I made it through the entire class without stopping, and I was sore for days afterwards! The class had a great vibe to it and it was a great mix of yoga and barre/pilates moves. I got a really great workout, and it was a really great fit for my expertise and strength level.

Cardio Barre (Express):
I took Sunday off, and went to this class on Monday at 5:45pm. I was expecting it to be a lot like the Power Barre class, except with more cardio (therefore waaay harder for me). Like the other barre class, the ladies in the room were super friendly and we talked a lot before class. It was really fun to meet new people who were so open and friendly!

I made the mistake (once again) of forgetting my towel. All the classes I had taken so far were heated to about 90-95 degrees, but this one seemed especially hot. Afterwards, someone else asked the teacher if she had made it extra hot in there, and she said she'd actually lowered the temp to 90. It was just a muggy, hot day outside and made the room seem even hotter. Lucky us, haha. It turns out I had also chosen the hottest spot in the hot room. I pick 'em well.

The Cardio Barre class was definitely a challenge for me. About 3/4 of the way through the class, I started feeling light-headed and dizzy, so I stretched on the mat for the few minutes. Like with the Power Sculpt class, I tried to keep it even on both sides, but also tried to do minimized forms of the exercise if I felt like I was going to faint. I'm taking time out of my day to do this - I might as well finish, right? The instructor was less warm and fuzzy than Satine, but still really great. She definitely pushed us all, which was awesome. She thanked me afterwards for listening to my body instead of fainting, and fanned us all down during the cool-down.

Like the Power Sculpt, this class really pushed me, and I even though I couldn't finish every exercise, I really like that I was being encouraged to work past my comfort level.

Power Yoga 1:
This was the last class I took (do to some scheduling conflicts later in the week), which I did on Tuesday. It was right after work at 4:30pm. This was easily the least challenging class I took. It's the lowest level yoga class they offer, and it's unheated. I thought I might as well experience the "basic" class before I decided to move on to the harder yoga classes!

The instructor for the class was a sub, and she was very sweet and kind. She helped adjust my form in a few poses. Most of the time, I really hate when strangers touch me, but I don't know what it is about yoga: I can't get enough of people's touch during yoga. She helped adjust my pose, helped me sink deeper into another one by pressing on my lower back, and gave everyone in the class little neck rubs during our cool-down. Freaking heavenly.

Most of the poses were very basic, but I did try and do crow for the first time! I think it's safe to say it was a disaster, haha. The good news is, I now want to learn to do crow SO. BADLY.

I definitely wasn't as sore afterwards as I was with the other classes. Compared to the others, it was much more relaxing and soothing, but hey - it was yoga. It's kinda supposed to be, haha.

Ultimate Impressions:

  • There are a lot of classes at different experience levels, which is great! In addition to the ones I mentioned, they also have Power 1.5 and Power 2 yoga and kids classes!
  • The instructors have all been non-judgmental and very understanding.
  • Anything with "cardio" or "sculpt" in the name is going to be very hard.
  • You will sweat like you never have before.
  • Definitely bring a towel and a water.
  • The people who attend classes are mostly very friendly, especially the barre classes.
  • Instructors each have their own style and will teach in different ways. Even similar classes will be completely different depending on who teaches it.
  • The facility smells great and is very clean.
  • The showers are beautifully clean - a very important point for me.
  • I have heard from a friend that the area downtown is a little rough, and that you should always lock your car and keep your purse safe during class (if you wouldn't already).
  • It's pricey to get a pass, but students get a discount.
  • They offer a free Power Yoga 1 class on Saturdays at 11:30am.
I haven't decided which package I'm going to get, but I think it's safe to say I will be attending classes a few times a week at Power Life Yoga! It has a great vibe to it and I haven't gotten workouts like that EVER in my life. 

I keep joking with J that I'm going to be ripped at the end of this summer. I'm joking, but I'm also not if I keep doing this. After 4 classes, I could feel my body firming up and myself getting stronger. It was a great feeling! And I hope I can keep it up for the rest of the summer. :)

Have you ever been to Power Life Yoga? Do you take barre classes? Which class sounds the most interesting to you?


  1. I haven't been to Power Life Yoga, but I attended the Yoga at the Hub Spot last Wednesday with Ben "Good Vibes" Spellman as the instructor from Power Life Yoga. He was FANTASTIC! We started the practice by hugging our neighbors and ended with him hugging us.

    I'd love to attend more of his instruction!

    1. Ahhh, I met him when I signed up! Again, I usually hate when strange people touch me out of the blue, but he gently touched my arm when he went by and I was totally digging it! I really want to go to a Power Yoga 1.5 with him teaching. :) Was the session pretty easy, or do you feel you got a good workout?

      xo Madie

  2. I haven't been to Power Life Yoga, but I started doing hot yoga classes when I moved to Boston. Getting a towel definitely makes class a lot more enjoyable. I also wear a buff (to keep sweat and hair off my face). I think the heat makes me more flexible, I feel like I can get deeper in poses compared to a non-heated class.

    I'm curious what you thought of barre vs yoga. I finally started to feel comfortable with a lot of the yoga moves (although, I still find myself going to child's pose to catch my breath during intense classes), and have thought about giving barre a try too. Do you feel like it's a similar workout? I don't have anything close to a dancer's body; I am hesitant to make the leap and try out some of the barre studios in the area.

    I think it's cool that PLY offers both barre and yoga. I will have to check it out next time I'm in DSM for an extended period of time.

    1. Hot yoga is so different, isn't it?! I totally agree, I think it really helped my flexibility, but I did have a hard time breathing.

      God do I love barre. I've been practicing pretty basic yoga for a few years now, but I've only been doing barre for a year or so (and these were my first real-life barre classes). I feel like I get much more of a workout in barre classes. It's more defined, small movements, kind of like pilates, versus yoga's long, stretching, breathing moves. I felt so challenged and amazingly sore after every barre class I took. I think I even prefer it to yoga, but it could also just be that it's hard to do downward dog on a sweaty mat. :P

      It IS really cool - that way I don't really have to choose one or the other, haha. You should definitely come check it out when you're in town! :) Any idea when that might be?

      xo Madie

    2. Checking out barre classes in Boston officially - I'm super excited :-)

      A yoga mat towel might be helpful - if you plan to keep up with the hot yoga. It's how most of the yogis at my studio fix the slip and slide issue.

      I will be visiting Iowa sometime in August. I recently got engaged, and my family wants to have a party! When do you head back to New Hampshire?

    3. Ahhh, I'm so excited for you! :) Let me know when you go and whether you liked it, okay?

      That's so smart! I'll have to get one of those - a lot of people in my class had them, but I wasn't quite sure what they were for, haha.

      Early August? I'm leaving for NH in early/mid August, probably around the 13th or so. I SAW THAT, congratulations! I'm so happy for you! :D You're still in Boston, right? If worse comes to worse, we should meet up for coffee in the fall!

      xo Madie

    4. I will definitely let you know - about PLY and my August schedule. We are considering August 9th, but need to check with a few more people before we make any concrete decisions. I'm so excited :-) I'd love to meet up for coffee too - I don't have a car though - so i'm kind of limited to where the train goes - but i'm sure we can figure something out.

    5. Perfect! :) It'd be great to see you either way! I have a car, so I'd be happy to meet somewhere outside of Boston or at least somewhere I could park, haha.

      xo Madie

    6. I just finalized my DSM plans, and, unfortunately, it looks like I'll be visiting August 21 - 25. But I'd love to catch up sometime :-) Let me know when you have a free weekend and we can schedule something when you get back to the Northeast.

    7. Awww, that's too bad we won't be able to see each other in Iowa! :( We should definitely make plans for when we're both back in the northeast!

      xo Madie