Screw hot yoga, if I’m going to be sweating in Downward Dog (or working out in general), there better be a pool involved. That’s why I was beyond excited when I heard about the hot new workout trend that’s been popping up privately around town – poolside yoga! But I’m definitely not just talking about your average backyard swimming pool, I’m talking about the gorgeous Hollywood Hills homes’ perfectly designed pools that offer surreal views of LA from atop their hillside perches.
To make things sexier, these poolside yoga classes are held in the early evenings, just in time to make your Warrior 2 focus point the sunset. But these yoga classes aren’t just something you can buy a membership in a sweatbox to. They are organized by the owners of the houses who either teach the class themselves, or bring in freelance yoga instructors to lead it. Friends and friends of friends are invited either through word of mouth or the private Facebook group, and only asked to make a donation to keep the classes going.
I obviously HAD to try this amazing workout phenomenon so yesterday I headed over to the house that fellow blogger Alexis Castañada (@xplorela, xplorela.com) invited me to where the poolside yoga was being held. As expected, Siri got me lost trying to find the house up the narrow, winding Kings Road just above Sunset Boulevard, and as also expected, when I finally found it, it was a beautiful, chic, modern two-story house with a fabulous pool and breathtaking view of the city.
One of the many awkward poses I prefer never to do in public
There were about ten colorful yoga mats already set up on the wooden deck, all facing the corner where both the yoga instructor and prime view of the city were. Alexis introduced me to the owner of the house and creator of Re/creation, Nick Spano (@recreationla) who said that he wanted to create the group to bring people together in a healthy, energetic way. Nick said that Re/creation is a double play on the words “recreation” and “re-creation” because he aims to do events that are both recreational and that inspire self re-creation. Just in case you didn’t catch that on your own.
“Re/creation is the idea that we rediscover and recreate ourselves through play. When we are at play we are in a creative space that allows us to discover new ideas, and a new way of being. Re/creation is where we share these experiences with others.” – Nick
Anyway, I dusted off the cobwebs and set up my yoga mat next to Nick and Alexis on the terra cotta colored tiles of the patio just above the wooden deck, since there was no way I was about to embarrass myself by downward dogging in front of them. The yoga instructor, Claire Grieve (@claire_grieve) taught a mixed level class, but it didn’t matter if you were a beginner, you made damn sure you held those advanced level poses because you knew those photos that the photographer (yes, there was a photographer) was taking were going to go straight to Facebook.
When the sun finally set, I got an entirely new experience that I loved more than I expected – star light yoga! At the end of the class when we were all (supposed to be) laying on our backs with our eyes closed meditating, I was so mesmerized by one of the rapidly twinkling stars (and restless from the Redbull I decided to drink before class) that when Nick appeared over me to adjust my neck and back, he literally scared the crap out of me.
I like to tree pose in the back.
Just because the class was over, it didn’t mean that the night was. As with all things we do in LA, the workout sesh also doubled as a social gathering and networking event where guests exchanged contacts and tips for a wide array of creative professions. One of the girls, Sarah Butler (@myintent), whose company, MyIntent makes handmade inspirational (and charitable) jewelry, sat cross-legged on the furry white rug in the living room where she carefully used the metal stamps and a mallet to engrave “intention words” on the brass ring of a bracelet for everyone to take home. Mine says ‘aspire’.
After I got my bracelet and Nick taught me the correct way to hug someone (you lean to the right so your hearts touch) I started to say my goodbyes, but that quickly changed when wine was offered! Of course it was the local, sustainable, Saddle Rock Ranch merlot, and it was accompanied by a strange vegan Italian taco salad that Nick created which had all the fixings of a taco…but with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. He’s Italian, and his dog is now well fed.
The sultry night continued when the yoga bodies shimmied down into swimwear to enjoy the red wine and a late night swim and sauna under the starry sky. The city lights mimicked the twinkling stars, making me fall in love with the City of Angels all over again. After attempting to do an underwater GoPro photoshoot with my empty wine glass (and failing), I decided it was probably a good time to head home, but will definitely be attending the next real hot yoga session next week! Namasexay.
Underwater GoPro fail…especially since I’m not even under water.
Alyssa is a self-made, full time travel blogger who loves adventure and typically travels the world solo. She's been to 53 countries and 6 continents so far, and believes she has mastered the art of chasing waterfalls, traveling solo, wine drinking, and making budget-traveling look good. Curious to know how she started this career? Check out the About section above!