As I confessed in last issue, my arsenal of gym memberships, old and new, spans the geographical landscape of Hattiesburg. I've played racquetball at the Payne Center, swam at the Wesley, moved through difficult Zumba choreography at the Y, and even enjoyed the luxury of a personal trainer at the dearly departed Body Bar. So, it should be through no surprise that I found my way to yoga by the usual suspect: – torturous exercise.
It was 2011 and I had decided to take a break from the gym and instead invested in (read: borrowed a bootlegged copy of) the P90X DVDs. If you're unfamiliar with the program, it's a catalog of muscle targeting workouts led by everyone’s favorite yelling fitness guru, Tony Horton. Among these grueling 50-minute daily workouts, the DVD that filled Thursday’s spot posed as a much-needed reprieve – a 90-minute long power yoga class. By no means less challenging, in fact, in some ways more so, from the first Thursday, I was hooked. Unlike traditional strength training, the difficulty of the postures didn't lie in the amount of muscle that was required, but instead in the maintenance of good form and strong, steady breath as you tested the limits of your hamstrings and your willpower. And while my old pal Tony Horton was admittedly a little too aggressive at leading such a peaceful practice, I was up for the challenge of learning more.
Fast forward six years, one 200 RYT certification, two years of Hot Yoga studio ownership (another story for another time), and 900 some odd classes taught, I am still being challenged. And now my practice has a new home – Greenhouse Yoga.
Nestled just on the east side of Highway 49, the studio sits among a blend of residences and houses that have been converted to commercial space, such as the studio itself. Take a right on South 25th Avenue and you can’t miss it – it's literally a green house. Inside, you'll find cubbies for storing your wares along with displays of tenderly-crafted artworks and essential oil blends by one of the instructors. Owners Courtney Chunn and Jaime Ray (two longtime friends who lovingly sign their newsletters “of like mind and spirit") have cultivated a radiantly peaceful place – soft original wood flooring, soothing walls of lavender and teal, ambient lights and even (electric) candles create an inviting and calming space.
Opt for a single class if you're curious, or dive in with the $30 entry special, granting you access to the entire schedule for classes all month long.
While I definitely impart some of my characteristic intensity into my practice, which is a 75-minute sequence done at 90 degrees every Wednesday night, I've actually been told by more than one reliable source that my “yoga voice” is soothing (those of you who know me and are doubting this, I challenge you to check out a class and see!). Greenhouse Yoga embodies the beauty that is the inclusivity of yoga – a class to suit any age, body or level.
Yoga can be intimidating – but it doesn’t have to be. Suit up in comfortable clothing, grab a mat (or borrow one from the studio), and leave your shoes and expectations (for the practice and more importantly, yourself) at the door. Beginners workshops, guest practitioners, and free weekly meditation are just a few of the offerings seeking to recognize the light within you. Whether you’re a diehard yogi or getting ready for your first class, Greenhouse has a class that will make you say, “OMMMMMM.”
For The Beginner: Happy Hour | Wednesday @ 5:30PM:
Unfortunately, no beverages included, but you can move through gentle and creative beginner friendly flow for only $7 (half the cost of a standard drop in). Or face your fears with a friend and get your down dog on for only $5 each.
For The Athlete: Yoga for Runners | Monday @ 5:45PM:
Enjoy a quick paced hour-long sequence designed to strengthen your core and joint stabilizing muscles as well as stretch tight legs, hips and feet.
For The Thrillseeker: Hot Yoga | Wednesday @ 7:15PM
The name says it all. Yours truly leads you through the same series of movements each week to help increase body awareness and mental endurance. Don’t forget your towel.
For The Lunchtime Warrior: Garden Flow | Tuesdays & Thursdays @ Noon
Have yoga for lunch with a 45-minute slow flow followed by an optional 10 minutes of meditation time to nurture stress release and rejuvenate you midday.
For The Wild Child: Aromatherapy | Friday @ 6:45PM
More than just asana, Friday nights include exploration of the origins and health benefits of essential oils. Every other week, Free Flow Fridays takes over and meets you where you are, throwing out the lesson plan and evolving with the needs and desires of those in the room.
For The Netflix & Chill Crowd: Evergreen | Sundays @ 9:15am
Grab a bolsters, yoga blocks and as many blankets at you want from the prop wall and settle into a guided practice that stretches muscles, promotes healthy sleep, and develops stress-resilience.
Whitney Miracle spends her days as the graphic designer at Signature. When she’s not practicing her yoga voice, she enjoys discovering new ways to perspire and convincing her friends to join her in those pursuits.