Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A beginner's guide to Yoga Six classes

Yoga Six Des Peres, Yoga Six Community Ambassador, Tree pose
Tree pose
Outfit details--- Tank: Fabletics Eiffel Tank | Sports bra: Fabletics Lyra BraShorts: Target (option here and here) | Socks: Toesox | Mat: Gaiam ---

As a community ambassador for Yoga Six, I have agreed to attend class at least once a week, bringing at least one guest with me every other week in exchange for free classes. It's been about 6 weeks or so now, and I am really, really loving it. I'm confident that I will continue to practice at their studios well beyond my ambassador agreement. I would definitely classify myself as a beginner to yoga. While I've taken a few classes in the past and am familiar with the basic poses, I'm far from being able to do head or hand stands! When I first started trying to recruit people to practice with me for free, I thought it would be easy! Who doesn't like free stuff? I didn't get crowds of people knocking down my door to come with me and I was getting the sense that many were intimidated by the class descriptions, especially since there is no reference to "beginner yoga" anywhere. Now that I've had a chance to attend a variety of classes, I wanted to put together a post describing each class type I've attended and their level of difficulty for me as a beginner.

Yoga Six Des Peres, Yoga Six Community Ambassador, Triangle pose
Triangle pose

The first thing I wanted to note about the classes is that they keep the studio temperature warmer than typical room temperature. This was new to me. If I had to guess, I would say the temperature is in the 80's. There is a noticeable increase in temperature from the lobby to the studio and I've had a few people who've come with me panic and ask immediately, "Is this hot yoga?!" It's definitely not even close to the 100+ degree hot yoga temperature, and while I don't sweat in this temperature if I'm not moving, it really doesn't take much movement before I do break a sweat. I really like that though because it gets my heart rate going and working up that sweat makes me feel lighter and invigorated after class. Just be sure you bring a towel and hydrate yourself throughout the day before you practice!

Yoga Six Des Peres, Yoga Six Community Ambassador, Standing hand to big toe pose
Standing hand to big toe pose

I always hate showing up some place and you can clearly tell that I have no idea what I'm doing. I found this page on their website really helpful as it walks you through what to expect for your first class. For example, there are little "mat markers" on the floor, which basically serve the same purpose as parking lot stall lines except for your yoga mat. You should make sure your mat aligns with these markers to ensure that there is a spot for everyone should there be a full class. My usually time to attend class is after work on Tuesdays through Thursdays or on Saturday mornings. Each class I've attended has been anywhere from 70-90% capacity. 

The only other thing you should know before your first class is to plan on arriving about 15 minutes before class. This will give you plenty of time to fill out new member paperwork, sign a waiver, get a super quick tour of the studio, and then put your stuff away so you can get settled into class. They have mats, towels, and water available at the studio if you forget or need anything. Oh and the fact that their website is so thorough and professional can be intimidating in and of itself because you would expect everyone to be crazy good (aka better than you.) All of the Yoga Six employees and instructors have been extremely friendly, and non-judgy I might add! That is important to me as I don't want to feel pressured to be the best or feel as though someone is looking down on me because I'm not as good as them. I've had nothing but positive interactions with staff and fellow classmates. If you can't do something, just don't do it! If the pose doesn't feel right, skip it! No one will look down on you or call you out on it. It's a very relaxed atmosphere. Ok, so now that the basics are covered, let's get into the classes!

Yoga Six Des Peres, Yoga Six Community Ambassador, Crow pose
Crow pose

Yoga Six Deep Stretch Class: The term "deep stretch" sounds pretty hard core to me! Almost scary! But, this class is most closely similar to the "beginner's yoga" classes I have taken in the past. It was still challenging, but it's definitely slower paced, and the focus is more on holding the pose to get that deeper stretch than on fluid movements from pose to pose. If you are on the timid side in terms of your yoga skills, this would definitely be a good starter class for you to try. It's great though because the instructors prompt you to do more advanced poses if you're able, so you can really get as much out of the class as you want even though it is slower paced.

Yoga Six Des Peres, Yoga Six Community Ambassador, Dancer's pose
Dancer's pose

Yoga Six Flow Class verses Yoga Six Vinyasa Class: I couldn't really tell the difference between these two classes based on their descriptions alone other than the fact that Vinyasa had the term "advanced" listed. Before I signed up for my first Vinyasa class, I called to get more information about it because I wasn't sure if it would be too advanced for me. The gal I spoke with said that it was one of the first classes she tried as a beginner and she was able to get through it, and since I regularly work out, she especially didn't think I would have an issue with it. She also reminded me that you can stop at any time and if there are any poses you cannot do, you can always do a modification or simply pause. That pep talk gave me enough confidence to sign up.

I LOVE the Vinyasa class. It's hands down my favorite. Much of the time you are transitioning through poses with each inhale and exhale, so you cover a lot of ground in class. And holy sweat! Who knew I could sweat that much practicing non-hot-yoga! My Apple watch tells me I burn around 600 calories during the one-hour class. To put that in perspective, I normally burn about 350 calories after being on the elliptical for 45 minutes, and I'm lucky if I can break 500 active calories in an entire day! All that being said, I do think that Flow and Vinyasa are very similar but that the Vinyasa class is a little bit more fast paced. If you're unsure about Vinyasa, start with Flow. Though, if I can survive Vinyasa, I really think you can, too!

Yoga Six Des Peres, Yoga Six Community Ambassador, Twisting prayer lunge
Twisting prayer lunge pose

And last but not least is the Yoga Six Hot Yoga class. My first two classes at Yoga Six were both hot yoga. I've taken a few hot yoga classes in the past at a local studio - that class was 75 minutes with the same sequence of poses for every class and I survived it just fine. I didn't have to take any breaks, and at the time I wasn't really even working out regularly. Those instructors yelled out transitions like you were in military boot camp! At Yoga Six, the hot yoga classes I completed were an hour long and the instructors speak to you as you would expect yoga instructors to speak to you - calm. The sequence of poses is also the same set for every class, though it was a different sequence than what I experienced at the other studio. 

The first hot yoga class at Yoga Six was pretty rough for me; I ended up having to step out and catch some cooler air because I felt like I was going to pass out, even though I stopped and sat for a few seconds between poses. I did much better during the second class, but  I felt light headed again during the same transition of poses as the previous class! I realized after class that I was locking my knees, which is obviously no bueno. If I ever take hot yoga again, I will have to be more mindful to keep my knees slightly bent!

I get so much of a great, sweaty workout with the Vinyasa and Flow classes that I don't feel the need to rush to practice hot yoga again. The sweat in hot yoga can get really distracting and while it is absolutely a great workout, I feel like I'm able to get more out of the Vinyasa and Flow classes because they're challenging but I'm still able to keep my focus.

Yoga Six Des Peres, Yoga Six Community Ambassador, high plank pose
High plank

The only other two classes I have yet to try are Power Yoga and Boot Camp. I will likely try Boot Camp before I try Power Yoga as the description for Power Yoga talks about a lot of inversions and hand balances, which I am unable to do at the moment! Never say never though! The main reason why I haven't tried Boot Camp yet is because of my gym workouts and Pilates classes I already take so I'd rather focus on good old fashion yoga. It does sound like a great alternative to my normal gym workout!

Lots of information in this post, but I hope it's helpful! With several studios around the country, I figured this post could benefit a lot people vs. just my St. Louis metro readers!  It's fun (and humbling) looking at these photos because I can see opportunities for improvement. It will be even more fun to take similar photos a few weeks from now and compare progress back to these! 

If you are a St. Louis metro reader and I've convinced you that you should attend class with me, please let me know and we can coordinate schedules! Finally, I will be hosting a yoga workshop/styling event on Saturday, July 16th from 2-3:30pm. Details coming soon, but please save the date!



  1. I wish I could go with you, you look sooo good.


  2. I'm with Rachelle - I wish I could go with you! I know I would love the Vinyasa class and I am all about getting a good stretch. I have never done hot yoga and I'm still not sold! Also...funny you mentioned how hard it is to get people to go to a FREE class with you. It is hard! I can't give away free dance classes to save my life!
    Gina || On the Daily Express

  3. I wish I could come to your class! You have great form! I take yoga at my local Y and I love the Vinyasa and flow classes. I try to do hot yoga a few times a month because I feel like I sweat out all my toxins! I also do power yoga once a week, but I do not think it is as intense as yours sounds. We mainly just hold the poses for a long time, with a couple of inversions mixed in. This was a very informative post!

  4. Free yoga classes! Yes please! We have weekly free yoga classes where I work and I love having that option available to me. It helps me make yoga a regular part of my wellness plan!

  5. I would of went with you! but you are very far from me! LOL. It sounds great. The things you liked about it are the very things I am worried about going to somewhere that's not like that. Crowe pose!!! You go girl!

  6. This post is so timely! Hubby and I are looking to try out the Des Peres yoga six, but never got around to it... (new yoga studios are intimidating!)
    The class descriptions are very helpful and will help us pinpoint what class we may want to try.

    Which location do you go to?

    1. I practice at both locations depending on whether I'm coming from work or from home. Both studios are great. I may actually favor the Des Peres location because parking is easier. But both studios have the same, non intimidating atmosphere. Good luck!!

  7. I recently tried Y6 and I love it! I live close to the Des Peres location. Not sure if you can bring people that already have been, but I would be happy to meet up some time. I can PM you my info if interested. I really like the Deep Stretch class and Bootcamp. I really want to try Flow, but I haven't made the times work yet. My background in yoga sounds a lot like yours and I would really like to do it more to get the mental/physical benefits. Great post!

    1. i will find out! But regardless, it would still be great to meet up! I heard they are adjusting class schedules allowing only 15 minutes between classes, so maybe the times will work out for you to try Flow! Email me! Carylee@morepiecesofme.com