Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fluid Yoga: One Less Human To Worry About

I'm always delighted to discover ways studios are making their services more accessible ("recession buster" classes, special offers for new students), and when yoga friend Daisy mentioned the $5 community classes at Fluid Yoga in the Inner Sunset, I had to check it out (and a post-bikram free outdoor screening of Dirty Dancing was just the icing on the cake).  Daisy had never been to a hot yoga class and wanted to give it a shot, and at $5, I wasn't complaining!

Alas, a full week had elapsed between my most recent Mission Bikram yoga class and joining Daisy for Fluid, during which time I drank like a fish in Tahoe over Fourth of July weekend, caught a sickness that put me out for a few days, and got utterly slammed with work.  I don't know about you, but when I get really busy, I tend to eat crapola (because I "deserve" that Take 5 candy bar or toaster oven pizza, dammit!).  So given I had a belly full of cheese and chocolate, lingering illness, and a week's worth of no yoga at all, I rode the bus to Fluid with a certain amount of trepidation....

First things first - Fluid is TINY.  I don't know if it's the low ceiling, the hard ("antimicrobial") flooring, the old white wood framed windows lining one side, but it felt like one of the smallest studios I'd ever been in.  The locker room fit maybe ten people if you stood shoulder to shoulder.  The shower is one of those hand held doohickies that makes it really hard to be quick.  One bathroom...need I go on?  But it definitely had that sort of homey, oh hello for stopping by my old Victorian home, while you're here why don't we do some sweaty yoga together feel, much like Funky Door in the Haight.

Second things...second?  Fluid is PACKED.  Daisy and I got there a little early and I closed my eyes in savasana.  When I opened them again, fellow bikramites had bred like rabbits.  They were still squeezing in by the time class began, and the teacher had us move mats here and there until we were only a few inches apart.  From reading the Yelp reviews, I take it Fluid isn't always this crowded, and I imagine that when people are only paying $5/class you wanna pack 'em in, but still!  Given the close quarters, Fluid was also HOT.  I was doing my man-sweat thing within twenty minutes (Me: "I told you I sweat like a man in bikram class." Daisy: "yeah, you weren't kidding!"  This, my friends, is why I'll never pick up a date in yoga.  I turn into this guy).

One nice thing about community classes is the range - there were men, women, chubby people, old people, bodybuilders, skinny people, people in fancy bikram shorts and people in ratty old t-shirts, all crammed together.  I thought to myself as I bumped into sweaty neighbors and found my nose in someone else's toes - this is probably what teacher training would be like!  Packed, hot, kinda gross...and pretty awesome.  Admittedly, people going in and out was kind of annoying in such a small space, and I developed quite the love/hate relationship with the door right next to which I happened to be situated (the teacher would leave it open and gusts of cool air would wash over the class...amazing at first, then utterly disorienting and distracting and turning my towel cold and clammy - but that's my own fault for setting up next to a door in a tiny room).

I had a strong class (and Daisy was a rock star - I don't think I've ever brought someone to bikram who did every single pose, every time, without flinching, and even got a few "nice, Daisy"s from the instructor!), and afterwards that lingering hangover/sick feeling/self pity had completely dissipated.  THIS is why I do bikram!  And when followed by a picnic in Union Square and an outdoor screening of Dirty Dancing?  The best.  (Speaking of Dirty Dancing, how much do I want this DVD?  SO much).


Fluid Yoga
$5 community classes on Saturdays, or $30 for first 30 days.

Image taken from this article about Geri Halliwell in the Daily Mail.  Yeah, I have no idea either.

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