Nestled in the heart of Baxter, Om is across the street from a maternity store The Bump, on the upper level. A fairly new yoga studio (it opened in January 2011), Om boasts an average of 8-15 students per class, depending on day versus night classes. Van, one of Om's employees, told me: "Honestly we feel very blessed that we get to be a part of this great little community (Baxter Village), and the fact that we get to come in everyday and do what we love by offering a service... that we get to make a difference and positive change in people's lives."
As soon as I walked into the studio, which my friend and I discovered online, I was instantly feeling at ease. I should have been a little apprehensive, seeing as how heaters were circling the room like a school of sharks waiting to turn my newly styled hair into a hot mess. However, I found the studio's naturally lit atmosphere to be calming and soothing, unlike the florescent lights of most gyms. So, I felt very relaxed as I rolled out my dusty mat and prepared to find serenity.
A gentleman named Dar, the instructor, started class with a quotation about silence. This helped me to remember that yoga is not only a form of physical exercise, but it strengthens the mind and encourages peace and tranquility within as well. As an out-of-practice, often sporadic yogi, I found the class to be extremely challenging, and sweat began to form in tiny beads, soon turning to a flood (not to be gross, but more sweat than a 5K induces). Dar suggested reverting to child's pose whenever a move or stretch felt too difficult. There were several newbies in the class, and I noticed many of them following his advice, as not to tire out too quickly or experience an injury. The instruction was on point, and I learned a variety of new poses that I hadn't ever tried (Eagle and Reverse Warrior).
Throughout the class, I appreciated the soft, hip background music (Foster the People, etc.), the open blinds (which allowed for a glimpse of the setting sun and filled the room with warm, orange hues), and the reassuring voice of Dar, as he moved through each pose, in a quick yet didactic manner. I never felt rushed or forced into a pose, and at times, I paused so that I could watch others and try to emulate them. This patient, nonchalant vibe carried me through the class, when I would have considered giving up (remember, it had been a while since my dog faced downward).
The class ended peacefully with a cooling, lavender-soaked towel, and the same quotation about silence. I felt relaxed, and yet I felt a genuine sense of self-satisfaction and accomplishment. Sadly, I live about an hour away from the studio; otherwise, I would have to go back weekly to feed my new addiction for hot yoga. I will definitely make the trip once a month... but until next time, "Namaste".
For those of you thinking of giving hot yoga a whirl, Om is offering new student rates at $60 for 1 month unlimited and they always have discounts for students, teachers and seniors. I highly recommend this hot spot for hot (and any other) yoga! For yoga information, the phone number is: 803 396 0493. Om is located in Baxter Village and it's website is: www.omyogasc.com.