Diva Flow Yoga: Stretching on Silks, With a Side of Feminism

Categories: Culture, Lifestyle
It's always summer in Miami, which means our population is just a little more fitness-obsessed than the denizens of the average flyover state. We're also a city obsessed with the shiniest, latest trend. So we're putting our asses on the line (literally) and sprinting, swimming, and suffering through the world of the latest designer group fitness classes in the Magic City.

The Class: Diva Flow Yoga, a ladies-only yoga fusion class that ends with some upside-down acrobatics.

The Venue: The Sweatshop, 4200 Laguna St., Coral Gables. This boutique gym, steps from the Village at Merrick Park, largely functions as a private training facility, but hosts a number of weekly classes open to the public. You can attend classes a la carte, buy class cards, or buy various memberships that get you unlimited classes and gym access.

Duration and Schedule: An hour and 15 minutes, once a week on Saturdays starting at 9:30 a.m.

The Concept:

Instructor Sari Velar, a yoga practitioner for the past 15 years and an instructor for the past four, created this yoga/acrobatic fusion class in an effort to create a fitness environment a little less focused just on the exterior.

"I am the survivor of a long battle with an eating disorder and body image issues. With so much pressure on way we look, I thought it was high time to focus on the way we feel and what our amazingly strong bodies can do," says Velar. "I wanted to create a class that celebrates the female form and its abilities regardless of shape or size. Although I am a purist at heart when it comes to my own yoga practice, I thought I'd mix it up."

In other words, it's an an empowering take on the current "aerial yoga" rage, which takes the practice into the air with poses done on aerial silks -- you know, those long loops of fabric usually reserved for circus people. In this particular class, the first 45 minutes consist of a beginning/intermediate yoga flow, and the final 30 minutes focus on the silks.

The soundtrack does away with the usual Enya/Bjork snooze-fest of many yoga classes and instead goes for a more energizing, all-xx-chromosome playlist of greats like Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan, and Beyonce.

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