Sunday, November 11, 2012

Yoga studio: Laughing Lotus

Laughing Lotus is a studio I'd been meaning to try for a while, so I finally bought a three-class pass. That means that my comments below are based on a very small subset of classes, and I can't comment on most of the teachers. However, I am sure I will be back.

First off: It's a very owner-driven studio. They actually have two studios, the other being in San Francisco, and both of the owners still teach and are very visible.* The studio reflects their style. I know at least one yogi that would hate it, as it's definitely an American take on things. If you like a meditative, traditional, music-free class, this definitely isn't the studio you are looking for.

The space itself looks as if it was decorated by the love child of Betsey Johnson and Ganesh. (It advertises that it has the world's only glitter bar.) While your taste may vary, from a practical perspective the space works well for yoga - hardwood floors, lots of light.

One of the classes I went to was fine, but nothing worth writing home about. The other two were taught by Dana Flynn, one of the owners. She has the kind of oversized personality that makes most of the people she meets want to sleep with her, be her, or follow her around Phish-style. Both classes were her Sunday Revival/Gospel Flow.

Despite the name, there isn't much gospel music; it's upbeat pop, mostly. (Think "Walk This Way" and "Dance Hall Days.") The class is a nonstop flow until the very end, and the focus is very definitely on moving rather than alignment. I don't know if this is true of all of Laughing Lotus's classes. If it is, I wouldn't want it to be my sole studio. But the class is what it aims to be: uplifting. I wouldn't be entirely shocked if someone started speaking in tongues in the middle of class one day.

The class is billed as a level 2 (of 3), and it includes quite a few optional arm balances, but most of the poses are less notable for their innate difficulty than for being strung together into fast-moving sequences.

If you like to use the words "yoga" and "party" in the same sentence, you'd probably enjoy Laughing Lotus.

*I'm working on a theory of yoga studios that divides them into owner-driven, guru-driven, and investor-driven.

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