Some yoga classes at DC area gyms: Donavan Wilson comments

Donavan Wilson and I have been exchanging e-mails for a while, ever since we both attended a master Ashtanga class at Thrive Yoga and did not introduce ourselves to each other. He has sent me his comments on taking yoga classes at Bally’s Total Fitness, two locations, four teachers. Since gyms are where many people get their start with yoga, I thought it would be helpful to include his remarks here. In fact, he’s so positive about the experience, I’m tempted to try them out. So this is the first experiment with an outside contributor on this blog (not counting the comments that crop up once in a while).

Bally’s Total Fitness, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Sherry Rubin and Mireille “Mimi” Lafontant

Mimi: Tuesday and Thursday at 7:30 pm

Mimi’s offers a very demanding Yoga class. This class combines elements of Pilates, Power Yoga and Hatha Yoga. She begins each class by asking each participant, “What would you like to work on your body today?” She adjusts the class accordingly to the needs of her students. Mimi’s emphasis on core training is consistent from week to week. She pushes her students to there limit, by holding postures very long time. However, with each posture Mimi offers options and modifications for beginner, intermediate and advanced students. Mimi’s passion for pushing her students and developing their strength is very clear. You will work up a sweat in this class.

Sherry: Wednesday and Friday at 9:30 and Sunday at 10:00 (all morning)

Ms. Rubin has four years of teaching experience. Sherry’s teaching style is a blend of different styles of Hatha Yoga. Rubin injects humor and pleasant outlook into her classes. Unlike Mimi, Rubin does not push her students as hard.She offers modifications depending on the experience of each student. Also, Sherry is very good at correcting students regarding their form. This reviewer can tell that Ms. Rubin has spent years in a Yoga Studio as practitioner. Rubin often demonstrates new postures before students attempt them. Rubin is very user friendly and outgoing instructor.

Bally’s Total Fitness, Wheaton, Maryland

Peter Gibbon and Diane Brown

Peter: Saturdays at 11:45-12:45

An instructor and Co-Director of the Peaceful Path Yoga Studio [no longer exists / MLS] in Silver Spring, Maryland, Gibbon has a background in Kripalu Yoga and has 500 hours of certification as an instructor. Gibbon’s Saturday Yoga class at Bally Total Fitness at Wheaton is a mixed-level approach. Gibbon covers the traditional postures (Warrior I, Triangle and Plank). Gibbon is walking across the aerobic room to check the form and posture of each student. Also, Gibbon is in front of his class demonstrating proper form. For individuals looking for traditional mixed-level class in a gym setting, I highly recommend Gibbon. Throughout the course of the class, Gibbon injects his brand of humor with a very thick New England-Massachusetts accent.

Diane: Thursdays at 7:30

This review can not capture or describe Ms. Brown’s joy for teaching and life. Brown incorporates both Yoga and Pilates into her class. Brown is often wearing a smile and talking up a storm to distract students, in her efforts to push them. Brown’s energy and enthusiasm is contagious. She does not push as hard as some instructors. What Brown lacks in pushing, she makes up in an interesting blend of Yoga postures and Pilates moves.