Last weekend, I stayed in Bethesda, MD with my friend, WesBAM! co-founder, and fantastic wellness entrepreneur R. Working at a camp/summer school makes it challenging for me to make it to yoga classes during the week. Thus, Friday, Saturday and Sunday hold as serious priorities yoga classes (i.e. I obsessively plan the rest of my days around them).
Now, let me clear on something as well: R and I are friends, but we are also co-workers/colleagues in this beautiful field of wellness entrepreneurship. Three years ago, we started WesBAM! (read about how and why we did that here) and last weekend, we reconvened in order to accomplish the bittersweet task of passing it on to our capable successors (i.e. we sat across from one another at the Le Pain Quotidien a mere walking distance from the hot yoga studio we practiced at beforehand simultaneously typing away on GoogleDoc). Here is that weekend summed up so that if you’re ever in the D.C./Maryland area, you won’t be remiss for activity on and off the mat!
My Bolt Bus (shocker) arrived late to Union Station. I timed it so that I was on that bus from the minute I got out of work straight up until I’d have to get on the Metro to make it to my workshop at Tranquil Space Dupont Circle. I wrote about that workshop in this blog post, but now I would like to take a holy moment to talk about its setting.
I have been reading about Tranquil Space for the past three years. I am not ashamed to admit that I have read every single blog post Kimberly Wilson (owner) has ever written for Tranquility du Jour. Yet arriving in this space off the interwebs felt truly, deeply magical. The staff there was absolutely fantastic (which I figured because earlier that day I received a loving email from the studio manager reminding me of the workshop and to bring a pen and journal and because when I called from Bolt Bus telling them I might be a half hour late, I was greeted with warmth and a welcoming-no-matter-what attitude). When I arrived, I was not rushed into the workshop I was already late for. No, instead I was given a welcome packet that was stamped with Tranquil Space’s adorable logo and filled with a bag of yogi tea, a studio schedule, postcard detailing Tranquil Space’s mission, and little pamphlet about yoga etiquette. Someone who worked there gave me a tour of this rather large space, which, unlike NYC yoga studios resembles more of a house/three-story cottage than an apartment or set of offices.
Everything in Tranquil Space has a place. There is a tea bar/lounge with comfy couches and cushions, a very large boutique when you first enter that has TranquiliT clothing items and more. The space where the workshop itself was held was their “lab room.” It used to be the studio’s spa, but honestly, when I entered, I thought this concept of yoga studios having “labs” for more intimate scholarly settings was genius! If our mats are supposed to be small individual laboratories for life, why can’t a studio be a large communal one? And not only that – there was a little fireplace in the front and, having grown up in New York wanting what I do not have in my beloved city, fireplaces enamor me and instantly make me feel cozy and warm from the outside in. Tranquil Space immediately felt like home and I look forward to returning one day to its welcome arms.
Let’s just say that Saturday was the opposite of Friday in terms of physical activity and focus. R competed in the Spartan Race (i.e. a glorified obstacle course) somewhere in Maryland a few hours outside D.C. The race was a whole new world of fitness for achievement and community, but still a far cry from what I know yoga to be like (well, to be fair, it never claimed to be anything like yoga so…)
Okay, so this was about the polar opposite of Tranquil Space. CorePower in Bethesda was located on the second floor of a corporate building with an elevator down that deposits you inside a Petco. CorePower itself is rather corporate and the last time I went to a CorePower class was when I first got my tattoo and I had to leave because of the heat, but this time, the corporate simplicity of Ashtanga was kind of just what I needed. While CorePower brands itself as heated yoga, the Ashtanga consistency (just what I like when I travel) was real and the studio staff was warm, even in a rather corporate space, which is not my usual yoga studio taste. Oh, and the plus with going to CorePower in another city? The first week is FREE!
DOWN DOG YOGA CENTER
R reserved this day with me from the get-go. We planned to go to the 11am class (whoohoo sleeping in!) since I planned this D.C. yoga trip. R works at this yoga studio as a karmi so I immeditately felt the friendly atmosphere when I walked in. The front desk staff was great and you could totally tell that there was a thriving cOMmunity inside this very small space. It actually reminded me A LOT of the Modo Yoga (formerly known as Moksha) in NYC that I once did a month at; they are small, eco-friendly, personal, have a very particular way of doing things, are heated, and rigorous and vigorous. The class was packed (which I always love) and we MOVED (which again, I always love). The vinyasa was fast-paced, also a bit of an Ashtanga-style, and we OMed without any preface or dharma talk. It was urban yoga, busy yoga, and cathartic yoga. I highly recommend this center to anyone in the area, especially for busy travelers who need to move before getting on a bus for five hours…
So that concludes my 72-hour guide to yoga and pre-yoga and post-yoga in the D.C. metro area. Enjoy!