Friday, September 29, 2023 Sep 29, 2023
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Shape Up

Forget Downward Dog, I Attempted a ‘Dolphin’ at We Yogis

On a recent visit to the Lakewood yoga spot I attempted seemingly every variation of lunge and down dog in a mirrorless studio.
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Yogi's House
Catherine Wendlandt

If there’s one (inane) thing I’ve learned while doing this Shape Up series, it’s that studio lockers are almost always janky. The lockers at We Yogis are no exception. When I arrived at the Lakewood studio, I fumbled to find a locker that actually locked when I set it. One of the employees smiled apologetically as she helped me. They’d been having issues due to a recent storm. We found one that worked, and I shoved my stuff inside (it did have a USB port to charge your phone, which was nice).

I was then handed a block and a towel, and I walked to the second studio on the right for my morning “We Flow” class. Surprisingly, this space didn’t have any mirrors. Instead, we were surrounded by creamy white walls and two windows to the hall. While doing yoga in a plain white box sounds a bit One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the actual practice was calming. Without mirrors, I didn’t have to worry about anyone watching and judging how bad I am at yoga in the reflection. 

However, I was still hyper aware of my awkward movements. The class was listed as “all levels.” Meaning: I, a relative novice, stood on my cheap pink mat on one end of the studio struggling and grumbling through downward-facing dog while others did headstands. 

We started with warmups and low impact stretching. This felt good—I hadn’t worked out in a while and needed a good stretch. Then, we focused on various versions of downward dog. It began with a simple down dog. I grabbed the provided block and got into position. Next, instructor told us to “walk the dog” instead of “pedal your heels,” which I thought was funny. 

I wasn’t laughing, though, when downward-facing dog got complicated. The instructor had us do a three-legged dog, then bend a leg and circle it out in a “smiley face” and bring it up to our chest. We twisted out into a falling star pose—right hand on the ground, left foot on the ground, right leg is twisted under the body and extended out. This whole section was rough for me. I’m not good at transitioning between positions like these smoothly because I lack the physical strength to push myself up gracefully. But I did it as best I could, or just stayed in downward dog when I could. 

For the first part of class, the lights were dimmed and the music soft. Then, as we transitioned to sun salutations, the lights got brighter—like we were entering a new day—and the instructor blasted hip-hop. She walked us through the various salutation moves a few times, then allowed us to go through at our own pace. I liked this as I didn’t have to worry about getting from position to position quickly and gracefully. 

The moves got more complex deeper into the class. We did lots of planks, twisted side planks, warriors, and what felt like every type of lunge that’s ever existed. At one point, it just felt like she was calling out animal names. There was the lizard, a lunge variation. The camel, where we were on our shins and knees and arched our backs—this I didn’t have to modify. And the even the instructor hinted the dolphin—down dog but on your forearms—was hard.  I found myself modifying most positions or stopping to take a sip of water while everyone else did a pose too complicated for me to attempt. 

The music got poppy the latter half of the class, then it quieted again, and the lights dimmed as we reached the final stretches. The instructor turned off the lights and let us do whatever move we felt we needed. We finished in the dark and started rolling up our mats. 

I didn’t mind this class, but I think an “All Levels” class can be too intimidating for new yogis or for people like me who must make modifications. The instructor didn’t give many. Later in the class, she announced we could return to child’s pose if needed, but it felt half-hearted. She did offer harder variations to the more advanced yogis. I wish the beginners got the same treatment. That said, I did notice the instructor making adjustments on the regulars, so I think if you came to class often and got to know your instructor, it would be a better experience. And the studio does offer beginner-level classes, too, which I’d definitely consider next time. 

Final Thoughts


This isn’t the most Instagrammable studio I’ve visited. There isn’t a ton of ornamentation, and there are white walls everywhere, even in the studio. However, there’s something calming about the space, like they’ve somehow eliminated much of the noise. Plus, every single employee I met there was incredibly friendly, the music was invigorating, and the lighting was on point.  


The class wasn’t horribly hard, but it got more complex as we got deeper into the class. There were some positions that I point-blank couldn’t do. And then later, there were some positions that I might have been able to do, but was so tired, I just stuck to downward dog. You will be sore the next day. 


We Yogis strives to be “non-intimidating.” I did feel a bit intimidated by my class, and I was slightly frustrated by the lack of modifications. But I do think I would have felt better had I taken a class more suited to my skill level. Besides beginner sessions, the studio offers a bunch of kid, tween, and prenatal yoga classes, so there’s something for everyone, which I appreciate. They even have a kids’ play area so parents can take a class and not worry about childcare. The online schedule lists the heat and humidity of each class, which is helpful, too. 

The Cost of It All

A single adult class is $25. For that same price, you can also get two weeks free as part of We Yogis’ new client offer. Five-session class packs are $115, and 10-class packs are $210. Unlimited monthly memberships, which also gives you access to online classes, begin at $150. 

Would I Go Back? 

Yes, but for a beginner level class. 


Catherine Wendlandt

Catherine Wendlandt

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Catherine Wendlandt is the online associate editor for D Magazine’s Living and Home and Garden blogs, where she covers all…

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