I’ll be honest: When I signed up for a yoga class in an art gallery, I expected it to be pretentious. But once I walked into Yoga Art Music in Lakeridge Village, I realized it was anything but.
The Lake Highlands spot is part yoga studio, part art gallery, and part music venue. It was small and cozy. The lobby was overstuffed with comfy furniture, and the actual studio space was warmly lit, with a small stage and art hanging on the walls. I recognized the row of mosaic guitars by local artist Glass Axes, also known as Amy Voss. Opposite those were a series of mesmerizing abstract floral paintings by Taylor Daum Art.
In the back of the room were spaces for our bags, and cubbies chock full of blocks, blankets, pillows, and more. Even though we were there for just a restorative morning yoga class, the instructor had us grab one or two of each—blocks, a long strap, a wool blanket, and a bolster pillow, which was like a skinny stuffed laundry bag that helps support you in a position.
We waited a few minutes for some latecomers to arrive, and our instructor asked the class if there were any injuries she needed to know about. In most classes, this is typically when I tell the instructor about my disability. But it seemed like we were expected to answer in front of everyone, so I kept my mouth shut. While I’m certainly not shy about my disability, I don’t enjoy announcing it to a crowd of strangers. I would have preferred to have a private conversation.
That said, she also asked us what areas we wanted to work on. People called out various parts of the body: “Hamstrings!” “Chest!” She was giving us a say in what we’d be putting our bodies through. It also made the class feel more like a community. Then the instructor went to the front of the room, and we got started.
Because this was a restorative class, we focused on stretching and loosening the body. When I first sat on my mat and crossed my legs, I groaned at how tight I was. We did lots of forward folds, cat-cows, and rocking in and out of lunges, stretching the hips and legs. As we went, the instructor explained what we were doing and how the movement was helping our bodies. Some stretches we sat in for minutes, like child’s and turtle pose. We did lots of twists, and the instructor called for us to go deeper, if we felt we could. While some positions were difficult, it was clear my body needed this kind of stretching. I could feel myself loosening and releasing tension as we went on.
The instructor integrated the equipment, like the blocks, into the movement. For example, we used the blankets under our bottoms and the bolsters under our chests to help us settle into child’s pose. In other classes I’ve taken, instructors lean more into the, “use equipment if you need it.” While our instructor did make that disclaimer, she’d show us positions with the equipment first, then tell us how to do it without. And she used the equipment herself. I appreciated that she put accessibility at the forefront of the class, especially as someone who needs equipment to be able to do most yoga workouts. Using help was the norm when many times it’s not.
At the end of class, she had us lay on our backs with our legs straight out or in a butterfly stretch. The instructor lowered the light and hit a sound bowl a few times. Then she walked around doing aromatherapy and assisted stretches; we could put our arms on our chests if we didn’t want it. She put an aroma-infused cloth across my closed eyes and a light beanbag to weigh it down. Then she gently pressed down on my shoulders, which are caved in because of the disability, and rolled them back—something doctors are always telling me to do. Between the scent, the weight, and the stretch, I felt zen. I nearly fell asleep.
I liked the community atmosphere here, and that the instructor waited for people to arrive—many studios will rather coldly lock you out if you’re late. It was also clear that many of the students were regulars, and they had friendly chats with the instructor before and after class. It made the art gallery setting of the studio feel more casual and welcoming than I initially expected.
I loved the gallery vibe of this place. It didn’t feel overdone, nor was the art shoved in our face. But as I leaned into a difficult deep stretch, I could look up and be mesmerized by the art. After class ended, I took pictures of my favorite pieces. Overhead, the music was your standard instrumental yoga playlist, but there was a piano in the room and the instructor used a sound bowl. Whether you Instagram your visit or not, it’s certainly a cool place to practice.
This wasn’t a hard class, nor was it intended to be. The goal was just to stretch out and restore our bodies, which was nice. It was very beginner friendly. When we did shift into a difficult movement or pose, we could use one of the tools, like the bolster, blocks, or straps, to help us out.
I did not like that we were expected to speak up about any injuries (or, in my case, disabilities) in front of everyone. However, the actual class was one of the most accessible yoga sessions I’ve attended in this series. I really appreciated how the instructor integrated the equipment, like the blocks, into the movement, and she made it the norm to use assistance.
The Cost of It All
A standard drop-in class here is $21, or $15 if you’re a student. Student unlimited monthly memberships begin at $65. For adults, unlimited monthly memberships start at $135 a month. That equals out to about 50-percent off per individual class, if you do around 12 per month, which is one of the better membership deals I’ve seen around town.
Would I go back?