Photo: Courtesy Of Lyons Den.
We're thinking, yes. Lyons Den Power Yoga, which opened this past November, is the product of many years of combined experience for co-founders (and real-life couple) Bethany Lyons and John Murray.
Chances are, you’ve already heard of Bethany. A classically trained ballerina, she entered the NYC fitness scene at Crunch Fitness, as a Regional Group Fitness Manager and Yoga Instructor. Her fitness fame skyrocketed after she became one of the first ever Soul Cycle Master Instructors. Oh, and she also toured globally as a Master Instructor for Madonna’s gym, Hard Candy. This woman has literally been all the way around the fitness world and back. In the midst of these accomplishments, Bethany discovered Baptiste Yoga (more on that later), and became a Certified Baptiste Teacher.
Bethany still teaches Soul Cycle to regularly waitlisted classes, but has long held a special place in her heart and life for Baptiste Yoga – a specific type of hot power yoga built on the principles of self-empowerment and action through words and poses. Baptiste Yoga, which is named after Walt Baptiste, was first introduced in the 1940’s and its legacy has continued with his son, Baron Baptiste. Baptiste, like Bikram, was also inspired by hatha yoga teachings, however the classes are held at slightly less oppressive temperatures (85-95° versus 105° for Bikram) and employ vinyasa technique and flow (which Bikram does not). The idea behind Baptiste Yoga is to empower yourself outside the class through the actions (i.e. sequence of poses) you hold during the class.
Using very specific language, diction, and emphasis on certain words, Baptiste claims to give you the tools and direction you need to mirror the balance, strength, and flexibility utilized in class in your everyday life. For example, you will undoubtedly find yourself extremely uncomfortable, and that is precisely the point. The room is kept exceptionally hot and humid (yet cleansing) as you are led through a fast series of challenging poses built around a vinyasa flow. You will be tempted to wipe sweat off your face and body or fall out of a difficult pose a few seconds early, but you are encouraged and empowered to hold on. Baptiste believes we can either let the obstacles we encounter in class and in life consume us, or we can commit to tackling them head on. Bethany and John practiced exactly what they preach at Lyons Den when they made the commitment to open their studio.
Photographed By Jens Ingvarsson.
I had the pleasure of taking a few of Bethany’s in-demand, 90-minute Power Flow classes. Years ago, I practiced Bikram regularly, but I haven’t been back since and my body has become very inflexible and tight from cycling and bootcamp classes, combined with a lack of commitment to sufficient stretching. I was expecting to get a good, cathartic stretch (which I did), but was unprepared for the fast pace and challenging nature of the class. One of the reasons I fell off the Bikram bandwagon was that I stopped noticing physical results – while it made me feel amazing and flexible, I wasn’t convinced it was giving me the cardiovascular or strength-building workout I crave.
A Power Flow class at Lyons Den provides cardio, strength-training, and guided time to reflect and meditate. My first class left me sore and achy in the best way possible (I felt my lower back open up in a completely new way), and also left me with the “yoga high” I remembered from Bikram. It was the best of both worlds, and I look forward to the challenge of tackling another class.