It was only about a year ago when I decided to try out YogaWorks. (You can read my review here). Overall, I was “meh” about yoga in general. It wasn’t as exciting as I wanted it to be and I just wasn’t having any fun.
There was one class that I did enjoy, and at that was a “Hot Sonic” class taught by Rochelle. Hot Sonic means that the room is hot, but the “sonic” part means they play music. Rochelle made sure the music was fun. It was not uncommon to hear people singing along as they did their practice.
For me, her class just wasn’t often enough for me to continue, so I passed. Then COVID hit and I stopped doing all mobility work and stretching on my own. I also realized that yoga was a great addition to taking care of my health and my spine. After some, (cough cough) subtle encouraging by my lovely wife, I decided to give it a try again. When we heard Rochelle had opened up her own place, Dr. Natalie Cordova was at the front of the line to sign up again. It still took me a couple of weeks.
Now it’s been a couple of months and I have really started to notice the difference in how I feel. While some people don’t like the heat aspect of it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how that can make all the difference in your ability to move. You get used to the heat. I don’t even notice it anymore ( at least not in a negative way).
Dr. Natalie and I have really enjoyed getting to know Rochelle and love going to her new place, Yoga2Gather, in Bellaire. I sent Rochelle some questions so we could do an interview. Here you go!
Please tell us more about you and how you got started teaching yoga.
I first discovered my own practice when yoga offered me an alternative path to healing from conventional medical treatments. In the years that followed, I managed a yoga studio in Bellaire for 5 years and developed a love for all things yoga especially teaching. I experienced every day the magic and transformation that yoga brings to so many. I knew this was my forever career path. To provide opportunities of healing and movement on so many levels to so many people.
Why did you start Yoga2Gather?
I was devastated by the closing of my beloved studio in Bellaire permanently due to COVID-19. I hurt for myself but mostly for the amazing community that was built on love and progress in Bellaire. I knew I couldn’t give up and soon thereafter students began having conversations with me about opening my own place! Because of their compassion and support, I decided to take a huge chance and open a yoga studio probably in the worst and best time for yoga was needed by all. I wanted to create an inviting space with mixtures of nature, calm, serenity and most of all a place to call home.
What do you think makes Yoga2Gather special/different from other yoga places?
Yoga2Gather offers more than 40 heated yoga and barre classes every week, taught by a team of 16 rockstar teachers who bring their diverse array of talents, passions, and gifts to our studio. We bring our focus to alignment, mindful awareness, and to the deeply nourishing practice of having fun; you’ll find upbeat music and sweaty, laughing students in more than a few of our classes!
Whether you are looking to challenge yourself in your established practice, try something new, or simply reconnect with your body, mind, and spirit, we invite you to take a deep breath and join us as we move forward together with the values that define Yoga2gather. When we meditate, motivate and collaborate as a loving, strong, and inclusive community, everyone thrives, everyone grows, and everyone knows that when they come through the doors of our studio, they’re home.
What do you think stops people from trying out yoga?
Intimidation of the unknown; folklore ideals of yoga – tree-hugging hippies, have to be super, hyper flexible to do the poses and chanting foreign tongues. So far from the truth!
What are the benefits/drawbacks to doing hot yoga?
Heat and more heat! Moving your body through yoga sequences in a heated space provides a more intense workout for your heart, lungs, and the rest of your body. And unlike many methods of cardio, hot yoga is low impact – your joints will thank you! However moving through a yoga sequence in high heat can be extremely challenging.
When you first join a hot yoga class, it’s important to start where you are and check in with how your body feels. Drink lots of water and give yourself the chance to work through the process. We do offer up warm yoga classes for folks that have issues with high heat however can still gain all the benefits. Either way, if you commit to your practice, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish each and every practice!
What should someone wear/bring to their first yoga class?
Comfortable clothes that you would wear on a run/walk/bike. Make sure to bring a mat, towel and lots of water. Remove your shoes/socks and any thoughts or ideas of what you think yoga LOOKS like – Be Open. Do what feels GOOD! You don’t have to look, act, or subscribe to a certain type of lifestyle to practice yoga. Yoga is for EVERYONE!
What would you want a beginner to know about starting yoga?
Honor your limits and work from where you are, not where you think you should be. Never force to hold or attain a pose.Trust in the process and listen to yourself FIRST. Don’t skip Savasana – the final pose of resting. The BEST part of the practice is saving space at the end to completely RELAX. Give yourself permission to let go and let your body receive the full benefits of yoga. Make your practice a journey AND a priority. It’s an amazing act of self-care. Your mind and body will thank you. Most of all… have FUN!
How often should someone attend yoga classes?
A regular yoga practice can reduce stress, ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety, and foster a greater sense of connection between your mind, body, and spirit. Setting aside the time to pay attention to your breath, your body, and your inner self is an incredible way to commit to self-love and self-healing. 3 to 4 classes a week is ideal however even 5 minutes on the mat can be beneficial.
Who is the ideal person to start yoga?
The variety of teaching and class styles we offer ensures that we can welcome students of all abilities, ages and identities. We believe in the power of a heated studio to deepen our practice, build our strength, and facilitate greater mobility, range of motion, and stress-reduction. No energy? Trouble sleeping? Difficulty with flexibility? Bored or in a rut with your current exercise plan?
Yoga is a beautiful start and compliment to your current exercise regimes. Higher temperatures allow for a greater range of movement, giving your body a chance to stretch and reach further than in an unheated space. Practicing this way can lead to less pain and tightness and a healthier, stronger YOU.
Who should not try yoga?
As with any new exercise regime, it’s important to check in with your doctor first. If you have any injuries, let your instructor know to make sure this practice is right for you. Yoga truly is for everyone for every single yoga pose can be modified to give you power and deeper connection. Yoga is about doing what is available to you right now and no more. We want to challenge your body; not punish it.
Anything else to add?
Yoga encourages using postures to be an invitation- an exploration; not an expectation. There is no judgement; no competition just an opportunity to move your body, feel your breath and connect. Let yoga emerge. It’s a time to be soft, forgiving, to comfort yourself and to be compassionate.
Deliberately creating space to leave the pressure of your busy day-to-day life behind allows you to bolster your resilience to chronic stress; when you walk out of a hot yoga class feeling sweaty, accomplished, and more at peace than you’ve felt all week – that’s a win for your mental, physical and spiritual health. Time on the mat is right EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Yoga2Gather is located at 6700 Ferris St Suite 100, Bellaire, TX 77401. You can call (713) 540-8986 or visit their website at https://yoga2gather.com/
NOTE: Rochelle is keeping class sizes small, masks are required until you get on your mat, and temperature checks are done when you enter. Social distancing is currently in effect in all classes.