We Tried It: Strala Yoga Double-Header
There are certain yoga practices that you don't ever want to take back-to-back. Sweat-drenched, dehydrating, hot-as-hell yoga, like Bikram for example, isn't something you want to experience—or should—for three hours straight.
Other less strict, free-flowing, room-temp practices, like Tara Stiles' movement-based “Relax” and “Strong” sessions at Strala Yoga in NYC, however, can complement each other quite nicely when taken consecutively, as I recently learned with Shape.com digital director Amanda Junker when we signed up for our first double-header with the famously laid-back “yoga rebel” and her Strala colleague Heidi Kristoffer, a resident yoga blogger at Shape.com.
Excited to wear my “Who Made the Rules” top—one of the signature pieces that Stiles designed for Reebok's new yoga collection—I knew these classes would be both challenging and chill. And they were! I've never met a yoga instructor who suggested that I move into downward dog however way I wanted to, meaning no dreaded chaturanga and upward dog sequence required. I could also just sit in child's pose and hang out if that's what I needed to do at the moment. Not to mention, I got to listen to an eclectic mix of upbeat music (like David Guetta' s “Titanium”) and some super-soothing beats at the end of class that made me forget I was in a studio rather than at home in bed.
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Still, I was a little nervous going into this amazing two-fer workout, so I asked Stiles ahead of time how to best prepare. Considering that she's used to taking and teaching classes all day, every day, I figured she'd have some great insight to share, regardless whether you're taking her class or another's. Here are Stiles' secrets for doubling up—and doubling the fun!
Fill Up Your Tank
Make sure you drink lots of water—at least two liters—throughout the day. One way to stay on top of this is to always keep an H2O bottle with you at all times. Aim to have a healthy, satiating lunch as well because you definitely don't want to eat anything heavy too close to class. About an hour or two before, grab a light snack that's easy on the stomach such as a banana.
You may start to feel slightly tired by the second class. It's cool. Just take it easy and don't force yourself into any postures. You can always back off and relax in child's pose if you want to wind it down. But more often, the energy of the class, fun sequences, and vibrant music tend to carry and pep you up to help you power through.
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Relax and Recover
After a double, you'll want to rehydrate with a big glass of water or coconut water. An awesome benefit of doing so much yoga in a row is that it puts your body and mind in a perpetual state of feeling great. So when you go to grab a bite afterward—because you will be hungry—you'll want to eat something that makes you feel great, such as a yummy, nutritious smoothie or a big salad with veggies.