The next stop on the quest is Short Hills, NJ. I spent some time at a relatively new studio, POE Yoga. In a nutshell they offer hot power yoga (104 degrees), hot barre and boxing classes (one location also has spin class). I am pumped to tell you about what they have to offer because I see it as truly unique! This is much like a traditional yoga studio but with a twist – you can take more than just yoga!
This studio is a great option for the serious athlete that is looking to incorporate yoga into their repertoire. There are those of us – I won’t name names – that work out hard lifting and running and talk about making time for yoga but do not because they don’t think of it as a workout. This will definitely change your perceptions about yoga.
One might make assumptions about a high end studio that looks like a spa in Short Hills. I have prided myself on working out in a bare bones atmosphere these past few years. We all have ideas of what our gym or studio should look like. There are those of us that equate a good workout with a scene from Rocky. So, one of my first jobs on this journey is to realize that kick ass workouts can come in all different packages. The studio is beautiful, with inspirational quotes everywhere and the staff is extremely friendly and helpful. Oh and the most important part – the workouts are AWESOME! It is definitely a place you will go and feel supported in your fitness journey.
Here are some of the highlights that make POE stand out from the others:
- They utilize a Far Infrared Radiant Heat System. In short, it is cleaner and more evenly distributed than other systems. It helps detox the body while offering healing benefits and stress reduction. It feels quite like a sauna experience. There is not one trace of the smell of sweat I have experienced when I have attended Bikram yoga classes. Oh and my yoga instructor told me it’s great for the skin and acts like botox…hmmm
- The studio is absolutely beautiful with a vibe that makes if feel like a spa. They have exceptionally clean and beautiful showers and bathrooms stocked with lovely soaps and shampoos as well as lockers with locking systems built in. They even have extra hair ties in the bathroom in case you forgot one and plastic bags for your sweaty clothes!
- One of the stand out features is that in addition to hot yoga they also have introduced hot barre. I would guess that in time these classes may become easier to find but as of right now they are one of the few facilities you can find this. It is INTENSE!
- They have the added benefit of boxing classes. Each member has their own bag to work with and it is a great cardio class. This is a nice addition that you absolutely do not find in a traditional yoga studio!
- Their Far Hills studio has spin classes as well. I did not try them out but I am sure they are top notch like the other classes.
- Classes have great music and sound systems.
YOGA – My first class here was POE Sun. This is their signature yoga class. The website describes it as all levels but strongly suggests a basic class for beginners first. I would say the same. If you have never done a heated yoga class this is intense. The room is heated to 104 degrees and you are moving through a power Vinyasa. I had a lovely instructor who was Baptiste trained (the yoga I usually practice) so I felt confident and mostly comfortable.
I generally practice a power flow in about 10 degrees less heat. Bikram Yoga is typically 105 degrees but with more humidity. That said Bikram is a very different practice as there are less poses and the movements are slower. So, be aware this class is not for the faint of heart! You will move fast and SWEAT!
The instructor was top notch and extremely friendly. I felt very welcomed and supported as someone visiting from another studio. I would suggest drinking a lot of water prior to the class. I did not. I have been practicing in the heat for a while now so I did not think about it much. However, the room was about 10 degrees hotter than my typical practice and 10 degrees makes a BIG difference. I brought water in and still felt like I was fading towards the end.
If you are looking for a yoga class that is physically as well as mentally challenging this is for you!
HOT BARRE – Ok, so I am going to tell you the truth – I only did one other barre class prior to this so I do not have a lot to compare it to. The room is heated to about 95 degrees for this class. Barre requires you to perform small dancer like movements as well as utilize props. The key here is that the movements are small and precise to help sculpt the body.
As someone that is used to working out in heat I felt comfortable taking the class but I was honestly VERY CHALLENGED. It was a very tough workout. I would say this a a good addition to anyone’s workout, especially those who are looking to lengthen and sculpt. I prefer to look lean and muscular so this is definitely the sort of class I would like to incorporate in my workout.
It was KILLER!
BOXING – This was a fun, upbeat class with mostly bag work and great music. I usually work with just wraps but the instructor strongly suggested full gloves and lent me a pair. I really appreciated that as I know other places make you buy their gloves if you don’t have any. I never cared for using the big gloves but I was glad he gave them to me as I actually did need them. Even with the gloves my knuckles were a little bruised afterwards.
Boxing gave me the cardio I feel like I have been missing since my knee started to bother me. I have been working out the entire time but modifying and trying new techniques. No matter what I have tried I have felt like a strong cardio workout has been missing. This was easy to work around my knee and I definitely felt like my heart rate went up! I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking to add cardio who is battling a knee or any lower body injury.
Overall this class is a thumbs up. Additionally, I noticed some of my favorite old equipment in the room (rogue box, dyna-max balls, a rope, etc). I asked the instructor if they use that for the class at all. The answer to that is no, but he does do some personal training in there. So, those types of workouts are an option here as well.
THE 411 on Class Schedules – There are a lot of classes on the schedule each day. I find that to be so important! I was able to get a class in at 8:30am on two occasions and one at 5:30pm on a Friday. Each day there are several yoga classes and on average at least one barre and two boxing classes. During the week, classes start as late as 7pm. They also offer the first class for FREE – who doesn’t love that? Pricing is similar to a lot of yoga studios after that. I like the options of being able to buy a drop in, several class cards or a membership. Flexibility is cool.
Don’t take my word for it though- check them out at http://poeyoga.com