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I Tried It: Hip Hop Yoga


Photo by Jay Reilly

You Try It!

First 10 days free for new students; $14 drop-in Spirit Yoga 1559 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach

You might assume someone with a background from the country that created yoga would be more wed to tradition, but even I can’t help but roll my eyes at prayers and over-the-top chanting in class. It’s the right fit for some, but I prefer a practice that’s rooted in proper technique without taking itself too seriously.

That’s the thought behind Spirit Yoga’s Hip Hop Yoga class. In addition to the typical vinyasa classes, the Pacific Beach hot yoga studio offers a traditional 75-minute flow set to untraditional music. During our evening class of about 20 people, Nicki Minaj, Lauryn Hill, and Kanye were just a few of the rappers providing the soundtrack while we shifted from one-legged dogs to warrior two and pigeon. (The class caters to more intermediate students, but is still welcoming to newbies.)

We picked up the pace to quick verses by Drake and slowed things down to Notorious B.I.G. The music helped shift our focus away from the 95-degree heat and balancing poses, keeping the workout fun and lighthearted. Paired with instructor Helen Cloots’s excellent hands-on adjustments, I could bend deeper into poses that were previously a struggle. During savasana, Cloots switched the music to the sound of waves so we could unwind without lyrics distracting us. I left the studio stretched out, relaxed, and ready for deep sleep.

Given the heat, it’s best to wear lightweight clothing, and bring a water bottle and towel, though the studio provides rental mats and towels for $2 each. Get ready to sweat—and be inspired to spit some rhymes.  

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