Hall-OM-ween with Down Dog

Happy belated Halloween all. Hopefully you didn’t get stuck in traffic because of the parade in Georgetown, or didn’t trip over a smashed pumpkin in Adams Morgan. While much of DC was enjoying happy hours and parties, I was sweating and om-ing with Derek Waddy and other yogis at Down Dog Power Yoga in Georgetown.

I was really feeling like a needed an uber sweat-fest and Down Dog is the place to get such a class. A few notes on DDY – since I last visited they have done some renovations and it looks great. The new space facilitates a much better flow of people. With a reconfigured upstairs that includes multiple changing rooms, extra cubbies and benches I didn’t feel so incredibly claustrophobic. The studio space looks great too, a fresh coat of paint and reorganization of props does wonders for the large practice room.

As my friends will tell you, I love to sweat. The hotter the yoga class the better. As a teacher myself and a dedicated workout wonk, much of my free time is spent sweating. It just feels so damn good. So if I really need to get my yoga sweat on, DDY is a great place to go. After the second Sun B, I was dripping.

Mid-way through class I experienced the yogi slip-n-slide. Deciding to take a leap of faith and handstand in the middle the room, I held it for a few seconds and slowly descended into a backbend. Well as soon as my feet touched the sweaty wooden floor they slipped right out from under me and I landed flat on my back. What was supposed to be a graceful exit turned out to be the exact opposite. All I could do was laugh and the woman next to me paused her practice to make sure I was okay. Sharing a smile and assuring her that I was fine, just forgot about the puddles of sweat on the floor we laughed and returned to our practices.

Melissa Johnson was assisting the class and having an extra set of hands is always a nice treat. Her assists are not gentle and not for the timid… I love them. The handsier (in a an appropriate way of course) the better. In bridge pose she did a little titibasana on my quads which gave me a wicked psoas stretch. The best however was when she placed her feet on my shoulders, tucked her arms behind my back and by pressing her feet and drawing back my scapula, lengthened my spine. Words cannot neither describe the true amazingness of this adjustment nor how she actually did it. I entered class standing at 5’8 and am pretty sure I left at 5’9.5.

I think the best part of the class was the musical interlude. The classes at Down Dog are typically void of music. During the 12 rounds of wheel (which kept me wired and awake until late in the evening) Derek snuck to the back of the studio and turned on Thriller. Ujjayi breath was accompanied by the voice of MJ and it was a nice Halloween surprise.

Class ended the same way it began, with three collective rounds of om. Powerful in its simplicity, the sound resonated through cavernous practice space. I put on some dry clothes and made the trek home. If you are looking for a challenging practice, with no shortage of sweat check out a class at Down Dog.


DDY Halloween


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