On December 28, I saw a post on Facebook that said ClassPass had come to Charlotte. I’ve been interested in the service since I first heard about it, so I signed up as a late Christmas gift to myself. I’m very easily intimidated when it comes to trying new gyms and workouts, and I figured that this buffet-style option would make it easy for me to try new things in my neighborhood.
Since signing up, I’ve been to 10 classes with ClassPass. At $79 a month, that shakes out to around $8 per class – better than the drop-in rate for most studios in town. My plan is to find two studios I really want to stick with, and then transition to the (hopefully) more economical option of just buying packages at those studios. So far, I’ve found a couple of classes that really work for me, and one that really REALLY doesn’t.
One class I loved immediately was Chillax Flow Yoga at Okra Yoga in Plaza Midwood. I knew as soon as class started that I would be back, and I have been – every Saturday for the same class, as a matter of fact. The studio is exactly what I hope for in a studio – not too shiny, not too grungy. People of all shapes and sizes are in the class each weekend. My flexibility and joint strength are about on par with the average grandmother’s, so I’m often self-conscious in class – but I haven’t felt that way at all in my practice at Okra. I can feel my body getting stronger each time I visit, and I feel at home enough to really relax and benefit from the actual yoga when I’m there.
With ClassPass, you can only visit the same studio three times in one month. I’ve already used up my three Okra visits, but I love the atmosphere there so much that I’m already signed up and pre-paid for another class there this month.
Another class I have really enjoyed is the Barre Class at Xtend Barre. I was really nervous about trying barre for the first time – not only am I inflexible, but I’m uncoordinated and just generally not in awesome shape. My first class at Xtend definitely kicked my butt – but in the very best way. I’ve used all three of my visits at this studio, too – and I can definitely tell that I’m getting stronger each week. I had to stop so many times during my first class – and while I definitely still can’t do everything the instructor does, my endurance has come leaps and bounds from my first attempt. I’m still uncoordinated – but Xtend is another studio where I feel challenged without any judgement – free to mess up and catch up as often as I need to.
I mentioned I found one class that was definitely not a fit – and that was AIR Foundation atAIR Aerial Fitness. Like Okra and Xtend, the atmosphere at this studio was fantastic. I walked in to Beyonce blasting over the sound system and was greeted by a super friendly instructor who got me set up with my hammock and showed me the basic moves I would need to know to keep up. I remember thinking “This is going to be great!” just like the sweet, naive child of spring that I was. Ten minutes into class, my feet were slung up into my hammock three feet off the ground. I was facing myself in the mirror, red-faced and chubby with a dozen lithe, strong classmates in view behind me. My arms were shaking. My legs were swinging back and forth. As I struggled for balance, sweat dripping from my hairline onto my mat, I was thinking “This is it. This is how I’m going to die.” as the instructor called out “OK, we should all be warmed up now – let’s get to work!”
Yes. That was the WARM UP. Ha.
At the end of class, we were supposed to “relax” into an inverted lotus pose, hanging from our hammocks like windchimes in a gentle breeze. Here is what we were supposed to look like:
I managed to get into the pose with a little coaxing. But once I was down there, I felt a little panic when I realized I was going to have to get back UP. That involved heaving my hips back and forth in a manner that was probably JUST as graceful as you’re imagining until I had enough momentum to pull myself up with a little help from my pelvis and God.
Picture Elaine dancing in Seinfeld. Now picture a fish flopping around and gasping for breath on a wooden dock. Now combine those two images into a person, and put her in a fabric hammock, hanging upside down in a small fitness studio in Meyers Park.
I’m never, ever going back.