I can count my hot yoga experiences on one hand and most (read all) of them involved a room full of college students sweating out whatever they imbibed the night before. Now, as an adult, I felt ready to step back into the hot yoga scene, and I am so glad it was at Illumin8.
Illumin8, which is unique to DC, prides itself on being an all-inclusive studio and encourages people at all levels of practice to come partake in classes. The studio provides Manduka mats, yoga mat towels, and bath towels for a much-needed post-workout shower. Illimin8 offers four class formats: power, hotter26, HIIT, and indulge. The heat levels of the classes vary by type of class.
After sitting in a desk chair all day, I thought nothing sounded better than the “indulge” yoga class. The indulge class is a 60-minute class meant to relax the body and improve flexibility. The room is kept at a cooler temperature and the music is divinely mellow. The first part of class focuses on flowing through positions and the second part on holding more indulgent postures for one to three minutes to ease the body into new areas of flexibility and mobility. And did I mention this would all take place in a room in the low to mid 90s?
I arrived at Illumin8 after work – ready to decompress. I was met by the manager (who kindly invited us in for a class) and shown around the immaculate studio. It’s light and bright upstairs and mellow and serene downstairs. I was told to select my yoga mat on an iPad, handed a yoga mat towel, and instructed to put my shoes in a cubby (shoes are not allowed downstairs). I stored my workbag in the combination lockers and met my instructor, Sarah, at the studio door.
When the studio door opened, I was shocked to find it even warmer than a swampy DC summer (I was warned). The room is beautifully lit by candles around the perimeter of the room and relaxing indie music was gently piping through the speakers. I laid my yoga mat towel down and joined the rest of the class in a relaxing posture.
Sarah led the class through a variety of vinyasa flows encouraging us to sink deeper when we could or modify the position with supplied yoga blocks when needed. I was reminded that balance is not my strong suit, but tried (wobbled on) none the less.
At the beginning of class, Sarah noted that we could choose to opt out of hands on assists by placing a stone at the top of our mat. I opted for help, and I’m glad I did. Sarah came around to each student and helped stretch the body further or correct posture when needed. The assists were helpful, not just for the class but for future practice as well.
After the active flow, we began to settle into some longer, deeper stretches. My hips were thrilled by an extended hold of pigeon pose on each side. The 60 minutes seemed to melt away along with my stress levels and before I knew it, Sarah was coming around with cold towels for our foreheads. After a final namaste, we were welcomed to stay in the studio for as long as we needed to ready our bodies for the outside world. After class, I walked out into the streets of Penn Quarter feeling relaxed and relieved that the night air was slightly cooler than the studio.
Illumin8 offers memberships at different levels ranging from three classes for $29 to a monthly membership for $99. A single class is $27, and Illumin8 is currently available on ClassPass.
THE BITCHES SAY: FOUR SWEAT DROPS
D.C. is a stressful city, and Illumin8 offers an escape for those looking for an indulgent yoga class to relax the mind and the body.