Yoga has swept the nation over the past few years with studios popping up from coast to coast. This fitness craze is here to stay with an average of 15,275,000 practitioners in the United States. The ever-progressive city of Columbus has hopped on the yoga bandwagon with several unique studios. One of my absolute favorites in Columbus is Balanced Yoga.
I began my practice about five years ago in Cincinnati, Ohio at Simply Power Yoga. I credit this studio for igniting my passion for yoga. The hot yoga classes were challenging both mentally and physically and I lost a pant size around my waist through regular practice three days per week. When I moved to Columbus a little over a year ago, I was determined to find a yoga studio that matched the intensity of Simply Power Yoga.
I tried about four different studios and while they were all great, there were missing that special touch. I prefer to leave classes physically and mentality exhausted and I wasn’t able to find that until I took a class at Balanced Yoga in Clintonville, Ohio.
Note: I would consider myself an intermediate yoga practitioner for the purposes of this blog post.
I drove to the North High Street studio one Monday evening, which is a convenient five-minute drive from our place in Clintonville. Parking can be a little tricky and there is no designated lot. If you take a class after seven, you’re permitted to park in the Jiffy Lube parking lot. Otherwise, you have to park on a nearby street and walk. It’s not too time consuming and it’s also very easy to find a spot, but I’d recommend leaving a little early so you don’t have to rush.
Upon walking into the hot yoga studio, I immediately noticed the beautiful space. Open windows let in the natural light and the wall to the left of the doorway showcased paintings from local artists. Candles filled the space with warmth and a fresh, vanilla scent. There are two studios (one for hot and vinyasa yoga and another for other classes) a few doors down from each other so make sure you check the studio number on the website. The friendly staff will also help direct you if you get lost.
When I walked into the Hot Baptiste yoga class I had pre-registered for online, I was surprised to see only a few other people there. The other students were very friendly and chatty with the instructor and I later learned that the Monday evening classes tend to be pretty sparse, so you receive a lot of individual instruction!
Our class of five students began the hour and fifteen minute class. The instructor led us through a brief meditation and breathing exercise to kick off the practice and before long, we were moving through intense vinyasas. The heat was set to about 90° and it’s safe to say that I’ve never been so sweaty in my life! I was sliding all over my mat, so I’d highly recommend bringing a towel and a large water bottle. We were instructed to hold chair pose for what felt like an eternity but I’m thankful I did it because I got a great workout in.
After several challenging sequences including balance, strength and breathing exercises, the instructor took us through a quick ab series. We wrapped up the class (which turned out to be about an hour and a half) with some deep stretches including dragon, lizard pose, and my all-time favorite, savasana, which basically involves laying on your back and doing nothing until class is over.
The class was so intense that I failed to notice the fact that the instructor didn’t play any music throughout the entire hour and a half practice, except when we were in the final pose. I did notice the lack of music in other classes and this is one critique I have of the studio, although clearly not a deal-breaker.
I’ve taken many classes at Balanced Yoga since this first class and I’ve been impressed with every single one. I always leave with a clear head and a physically exhausted body. Each instructor is dedicated and brings their own unique style to the practice.
The studio offers vinyasa, Baptiste, pre-natal, Forrest and many other types of yoga I’ve never heard of, so there really is something for everyone. I would highly recommend Baptiste with Morgan, Greg or Nicole. These instructors are very popular and classes tend to fill up quickly so try and arrive about 10 minutes early to get a spot.
While I love pretty much everything about this studio, there are a few other notes worth mentioning. The cost of classes is high. If I weren’t so impressed with the studio I probably wouldn’t pay close to $12 per class. Memberships run pretty high as well but offer bundled deals so the cost of single classes decreases by a few dollars. Yoga in Columbus can be pretty expensive, but based on my experiences I’d say this studio is a little on the high end. You can explore pricing options here.
The studio also charges an additional $5 fee to use a mat. I found this to be highly discouraging to new students who could be trying a class out for the first time and may not have a mat. It’s also a pain for regular practitioners who give the studio a lot of money but may have forgotten their mat on a given day. Regardless, while slightly annoying, this has not deterred me from the studio.
Lastly, some instructors can be very particular about students arriving late. I’ve taken a few classes where I’ve had to wait at the door until the instructor has ushered me in. I found this to be understandable since yoga is a highly focused practice, but definitely a bit extreme. I’ve never been disturbed when someone has come in five minutes late.
While there are a few minor things I would change about this studio, I always like to end on a positive note. If you want to practice a variety of high intensity yoga classes at a beautiful studio with dedicated instructors and a welcoming community, I would highly recommend Balanced Yoga.
- Experience = 5/5
- Instructors = 4/5
- Atmosphere = 4/5
- Price = 3/5
- Location = 3/5
- Community= 5/5