Family, friends, yoga = a day of bliss

All photos by Ashley Avilez / PlanBreathe

A few weeks ago, Stacey and Meghan and I decided to check out a new yoga studio. Called PlanBreathe and located in Plaza Midwood, it’s a tiny brick building tucked among homes, and you might miss it if you don’t know where to look.

If you find your way there, however, you’ll be glad you did. When I first saw photos of the place online, I wondered if they were stock images because they almost looked too good to be true. Luckily, the photos are all real – including and especially the fireplace in the yoga room.

The 3 of us have attended two Friday classes and love it. The instructor, Christina, says she reads our vibes when we walk in to determine what type of class she thinks we need. I always leave feeling exactly as if I got what I needed.

So, when PlanBreathe announced they were having their official grand opening, complete with a whole entire day of yoga and massage, I was all over that. I told Meghan and Stacey and they were all over it, too. The three of us signed up immediately. It did not take a lot of arm-twisting to get Andrea, Ana, Susan and Kris to sign up as well.

Wanting to be fresh for our day of yoga, we took Friday as a rest day (I have to admit, I was really missing Christina’s class), and instead attended Thursday night’s fireside yoga class. It was my first yoga experience in front of a fireplace (unless you count the time a few months ago that I was showing my dad and my brother some yoga moves at Mia’s house in front of the fire. Kevin was doing them with me and was commenting on how hot it was. Of course, I took the opportunity to brag about Arrichion’s 102 degree temperatures.)

And wow, what an experience. Everyone should try fireside yoga at some point. Is fireside yoga even a thing? I wonder if they just happened to rent a place with a fireplace, so they thought it a good idea, or if they sought out a fireplace as a requirement because of fireside yoga. Either way, it works. The instructor and co-owner, Alicia, was amazing.

So, Saturday morning, Meghan and Stacey and Andrea and Ana and I gathered for our day of bliss. And I have to say I fell in love with the first class and the super-cute and very pregnant yoga instructor, Amani. What’s so amazing about these women is not only are they dainty and slim and graceful, but they are strong. I can feel it when they are moving me into the form that I should actually be doing, not just the one I think I should be doing. And trust me, that happens a lot – I am really no good at yoga. Why I should keep taking it, right?

Amani guides Ana through a pose.

I won’t go through every single class in detail, because I’m assuming if you weren’t there it might not be as exciting to read about. But this first class, hot yoga detox, was amazing. It was challenging and hot (not as hot as Arrichion’s hot, and I might like it a little hotter, but the fireplace heat was wonderful.)

Amani helps me do the pose correctly. From left is Meghan, me, Stacey and Andrea.

Sweating it out in downward facing dog.

Some of our group headed for the chair massages and then left to do other things after class, and the rest of us went to the second session – deep stretch, taught by Ashley, which was the perfect complement to hot yoga detox. After the second class, everyone else left except for Meghan and me. The two of us decided to take a quick break from yoga to do a chair massage, knowing they’d said we could sneak in late to the classes if we wanted. Unfortunately, the third class filled up so we lost our spots – no big deal. So, Meghan and I decided to take a break and get some lunch, come back for the 2 p.m. class.

I’m so glad we thought to ask Alicia for a food recommendation in walking distance. She told us Krazy Fish was about a block up Central, so we headed there to check it out. Amazing food. I had a lemongrass tofu roti and some chamomile tea. We headed back for the next class, which was originally to be tai chi, but because of some scheduling issues, ended up being Aikido. The instructor, Jason, was really awesome and patient with all of us, who were barely aware that Aikido was a thing. I knew the most about it, probably, because Jeff practiced it for several years, but my knowledge basically consists of him saying “pull my wrist” and then showing me how he could take me down, and/or demonstrating how to fall gracefully. Aikido seems to be one of those things that takes a long time to really get down, so we practiced a few basics and I was reminded of how ungraceful I really am. It was fun, however, running up to Meghan saying “Give me my purse, bitch” and grabbing each other’s wrists.

Susan and Kris came to the last class, fireside flow, taught by Alicia. It was the perfect class to introduce them to the studio, in my mind. The interesting part about this class was not only the live gong music, which was amazing, but also the live didgeridoo playing. I really enjoyed it.

They finished the day with a raffle, in which our group won a couple of cool things –  Kris won a “yoga therapy set” and eye mask and Stacey won 5 free yoga classes. Score.

I made it home, barely stayed awake through dinner, fell asleep sometime around 8 p.m. and woke up feeling super refreshed at 3 a.m. I went with it.

Bottom line: I won’t forget this day for a loooong time. It was so amazing on so many levels. Learning about new things, such as Aikido and didgeridoo, being surrounded by great friends and family (the super-flexible “I haven’t done yoga in a year in a half but you wouldn’t know it” Andrea is my cousin), getting to spend time with Ana, who I met for the first time yesterday and I haven’t mentioned is Creative Loafing’s new news editor (she starts a week after I do), so I have a feeling she and I are going to be great friends. And of course, having the comfort of “older” friends Stacey and Meghan and Susan, who I trust to laugh with me when I fall out of a pose and keep yoga as fun and unserious as it should be … great food, great company, and 7+ hours at a yoga studio.

Bliss to the max.

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