I am definitely not a runner but the endorphins I got from last Wednesday’s YogaSculpt class at Acorn Yoga in Brighton’s Oak Square caused a legal high I certainly want again. Everything about the class— the pace, the music, the room, the instructor and owner Kevin Groenjas— set the perfect environment to make me thoroughly enjoy having my butt kicked within the first five minutes.
Acorn Yoga was high on my list of studios to try around Boston for two main reasons. Acorn Yoga is most known for its GlowFlowYoga classes, a glow-in-the-dark yoga dance party held Friday (intermediate) and Saturday nights (‘beginner friendly”) that I hear is not only a great way to relieve stress but a great opportunity to make and strengthen friendships. However, I chose a Wednesday as my introduction to the studio because, nursing a shoulder injury that has kept me away from BodyPump at the gym, I was craving a full-body weighted workout. I figured a studio offering me both a party and a workout was somewhere I wanted to be!
Acorn is a diamond in the rough, the rough being the studio’s less than exciting and totally incompatible exterior. First glance across the threshold, Acorn feels like a passion project. The colors on the walls and seating cushions as well as the wooden shelving for shoes and bags confirms this isn’t a commercial space in any way. It’s clean, dimly lit, homey, and in no way intimidating (compared to those brightly lit franchise studios with merchandise hanging in your face).
Walking into the front studio, I simultaneously understood and questioned how Acorn hosted GlowFlowYoga in such a small space. I’m still not entirely convinced they do, and from the pictures online I believe there might be a second studio in the back. Mats were set up in four wall-to-wall rows that could make a yogi of any level anxious about spacing. But the room, completely aglow in neon purple and pink light, effectively erased any worries you might have had about space, or your job, or anything else for that matter. Really, I’m inspired to read up on the effects of light therapy now.
When Kevin walked in and sat down right next to us in the front row, facing the room as his only distinction, I knew this class was going to be different. And so good. A good yoga class is made or broken by its instructor. Kevin explained what YogaSclupt was (a power yoga class with cardio and weights for those of you who like me, didn’t know)emphasizing that the class was meant to be high energy and encouraging us all to push through the intensity to get the best workout we could.
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much so quickly in a yoga class! Our warmup was a very basic salutation with chaturanga but we picked up speed quickly and suddenly I was drenched. There were modified mountain climbers (my shoulder happily thanked the yogi gods), planks (shoulder was less happy about those), jacks and jumps, weighted squats and lunges, and burpees. The stereo bumped funky techno beats loud enough to make you forget what exactly it was you were doing to yourself and just how much sweat was stinging your eyes. It was a great and terrible beauty that class, only it really wasn’t terrible at all. The perfect amount of intensity. The neon purple and pink overhead lights, switched to blue during savasana, kept the vibe in the room light and fun. Best of all, the sense of community and intimacy is strong and encouraged in this studio. We were all in this small space together yet moving around and with each other was seamless.
Fast-paced high energy classes are a refreshing break from a regimented yoga practice. Sometimes you just need to let loose and have fun too. Kevin energized the small room with crystal clear instructions pairing the music with the intensity of the movement and working out with us. Assistance was offered to anyone who requested but the pace made it difficult to concentrate too much on form. (For that reason, I don’t recommend the class to newbies). Still, there was no sense of judgement— switch weights when you wanted, drink as much water as you needed, or just take a break. It was hard and we all understood.
I swear I walked out of that class on a cloud.
I highly recommend this studio to anyone in the Brighton area, and I can preemptively say that GlowFlowYoga is probably worth a trip out there if Brighton isn’t your neck of the woods. The studio overs a well-rounded, vinyasa-based schedule including heated flow (Vinyasizzle), restorative flow (ChillFlow) along with sculpt. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can try all three on Wednesday nights. The studio also has some of the most accommodating class packages that lets you pay per class, per month, all up front, or in class sets. Private sessions are also available. Don’t worry if you forget your mat at home because they have them free to rent.