Hot workouts are so passé. Between heated yoga studios, toasty spinning rooms, and slightly swampy kickboxing classes, it’s pretty much impossible to work out without melting like the Wicked Witch of the West. Here at Greatist, we pride ourselves on staying on top of new fitness trends. So obviously, we jumped at the chance to try out Cold Yoga, a yoga class that takes place inside a walk-in freezer. You’ve never heard of it, you say? Well, that’s probably because it’s restricted to elite yogis and all-around fitness all-stars. But, since you probably won’t be invited to try it out anytime soon, you should definitely keep reading to at least vicariously experience our bone-chilling yoga sesh.Photo: Bigstock
We made sure to dress to impress (or at least to stay warm). Think parkas, wool socks, heavy boots, sweaters, scarves, hats with earflaps, and the best Arctic-tested mittens Lululemon can make. David Tao even brought his favorite bear Pelt yoga mat to keep cozy on the ground. Our resident Canadian Zack Sniderman, grinning from ear to ear at the prospect of participating in his country’s national yoga style, hunkered down in a red Mountie jacket.
After bundling up, we headed to Gilsfjörður, the studio to do Cold Yoga in Manhattan. We walked into the freezer, sat on the frigid concrete floor, and met our yogi guide. Snowdrop Glacier-Peterson, a tall fur-wrapped woman, described how her childhood playing on fjords in Norway inspired her to create Cold Yoga and bring it to NYC. She explained, “There is just something so graceful about someone falling down an icy crag into a glacial lake. I wanted to recreate the beauty of blue lips, the quiet Zen of a frost-bitten foot, and the transcendent power of being trapped in an avalanche.” We were very impressed, especially when she went on to explain the physical benefits of Cold Yoga.
“Hot yoga…meh,” she scoffed. “Cold yoga so much more challenging because you burn so many calories chattering and shivering Why Being Super-Cold Is Super-Healthy. Boo the Dog et al. The Center for Wool Socks, University of Ice, Lapland, Finland. The Journal of Really Cold Stuff, 2013 Dead of Winter: 43(4):422-45..”. Plus, as we found out, it takes some serious concentration (or maybe just frostbite) to stay in the poses. If you can’t feel your feet, our instructor said, it means you’re that much closer to inner peace.
After the introduction, Snowdrop led us in some introductory Cold Yoga moves. First we cooled down as much as possible by lying down on yoga mat-shaped ice packs. When everyone was chilly and ready to go, she led us in a series of poses. First, we attempted “Precariously-Dangling Icicle,” a pose where we stood up with our arms wrapped around our own torsos for heat. Next, we tried “Resting Iditarod Sled Dog,” which is like downward-facing dog but with chattering teeth. Cold yoga really emphasizes partner poses to get the most out of a workout session, so we paired up for “Penguin Huddle,” “Jack and Rose after the Titanic Sunk,” and “Donner Party.” After a little while, we were all super-exhausted, so Snowdrop led us in some rest poses. My personal favorite was “Just Fell on My Ass on the Ice,” which was a bit like Savasana, but colder.
All in all, we had a great time testing out cold yoga! We wish we could recommend trying out this fitness class in your area, but most likely the Soho branch will be the only Cold Yoga studio in America.
As Snowdrop explained, “Most people don’t have the deep, powerful connection to ice and snow that’s absolutely necessary to appreciate Cold Yoga. Heck, even in New York I keep hearing people say things like, ‘Man, I can’t wait for winter to be over.’ These overly-sensitive-to-cold people have obviously not tapped into their inner winter wonderland, and I can’t work with that.”
Disclaimer: This article, along with all others posted on April 1st, is meant to poke fun at articles you might read elsewhere (or at least close to them). Greatist doesn't actually recommend any of the tips included. Happy April Fools' Day!