Saturday, January 21

Yoga Downtown Tampa | Tampa, FL

Hello travel + yoga—I've missed you both so.

LOCATION: And GPS—I miss GPS too (mine broke, and I borrowed my mom's to get to yoga). This was an easy drive to downtown around the lunch hour (and this is the start of Gasparilla to boot). I just got off at the exit, took an immediate left and parked. I paid for street parking, but once I went in I realized they have a lot in the back—I guess you grab one of their business cards and place it on your dashboard so the owner knows you're taking a class at the studio.
COST: $12.50—they take cash, check & credit cards (all but Amex)
STUDIO:  I had the opportunity to take a few pictures—a small space with great design and they packed in 10 set-ups for Swing Yoga, which was the perfect amount of space for each yogi. The entrance was bright with big windows—and the practice space was calm and urban. 

CLASS DESCRIPTION: Flying Asana/Swing Yoga—Take your practice on and off the mat. We won't be swinging from the rafters, we will be using the yoga swing to get deeper into postures, increase balance and strength, and to pattern inversion. Everyone is saying it's nothing like what they expected... It's lots more fun! Of course just like our Swing Core Class, savasana is the best you've ever experienced, as you hang weightless in your personal cocoon. Please have a nutritious snack a half hour before class. We recommend a granola bar, banana, or peanut butter. Bring your mat and a towel—or we have mats for rent for $1. 
INSTRUCTOR: Francine Messano is the founder of Tampa's first urban yoga studio, yoga Downtown Tampa. With a Masters in Architecture and intense study into the practice of yoga, her devotion to design, urban life, and yoga led to the opening of the studio. It has enabled her to bring the benefits of yoga to those who live and work in downtown in a creative and unique setting. She is dedicated to improving both the quality of life of those who practice at the studio and the vibrancy of downtown. Yes. She likes hanging upside down.
CONTACT: Yoga Downtown Tampa

First off—Laura—where ever you are/whoever you are—thank you for not showing up to class today. It allowed me the chance to check out this studio. I should have known better than to do a drop-in on a Swing Yoga class, because unlike traditional yoga where you can always fit one more yoga mat in... there are only so many swings set up. So! Thank you, again, for hopefully taking time to do other kind things for yourself, I really appreciate it. 

I checked out swing yoga before, in Chicago at I.D. gym, and I loved it. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to get back to this practice and play some more. The music wasn't traditional yoga music—but modern picks by the instructor (that she'd charmingly sing to every once in a while). Being that this class is a little more intense, the music seemed appropriate—but when it came to savasana I would still opt for the new age-y chanting gongs sounds o' nature music (I think it's track 7, lol)... Especially while you float freely in your blue, silk cocoon. <bliss!> 

We did a nice warm up, including the wrists for  longer than usual, and now I know why. This class focused more on arms than the last class I did—starting with some plank work and crunches. Once we switched up to more standing work we also had to depend on our arms to hold us up as we did (or as I attempted) crunches again. We did some stretches once we were standing—folding into one leg at a time and what I would say is some great prep work for splits. There was the opportunity to go into Svarga Dvidasana (Bird of Paradise) from a different position using the swing—I always like new ways to enter a pose—it's good for my brain, more than anything—having to rethink how my body can work. 

There were quite a few of us that were new to this class, so we did some modified flips into inversions and then watched a few other girls do more challenging poses. So exciting to witness someone else do the work I will be able to do in the future—helps for seeing myself there. Honestly, you should go to my last review of fly yoga—to get pictures and detailed descriptions of this type of yoga. These classes were very similar in poses. As for this location to check out a new class—yes! Francine was a wonderful instructor (who leaves tomorrow for some aerial silk rope training in NY, so exciting—happy and safe travels Francine!), the space is quaint and comfortable for a new experience, it veers towards a gym sort of personality in the sense that we didn't open up with chanting om or any sort of meditation... the closest we got to those pieces of yoga was a simple namaste from and to the instructor at the end. 

I'll continue to dream of/wish for fly yoga classes in Champaign-Urbana—it would be fantastic to have this in the mix of my classes each week to really push my strength forward. I believe I said this in the last fly yoga review, but definitely worth repeating—this doesn't replace traditional asana in any way, but definitely compliments it. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me—I'll have two more reviews coming up for you while I'm visiting in Tampa. So grateful to be traveling and reviewing this weekend! *heart*

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