Breathing Room, a boutique yoga studio located in Federal Plaza, took me by surprise when I went there to attend a class Monday. I didn’t expect to find a trendy yoga studio in a somewhat-unmarked stairwell behind the courthouse. The décor features a mixture of urban grunge elements, such as an unfurnished brick wall, uncovered scaffolding and exposed piping, and more typical yoga fixtures, from Japanese lanterns to bamboo plants. After a long, stressful Monday, I appreciated the familiarity of soothing music and ambient candles, but that was the limit of the similarity between Breathing Room and previous yoga studios I had visited.
Breathing Room describes Yin Yoga, the style of the class I attended, as “a complementary yoga practice to the other more dynamic and invigorating yoga styles offered.” Yin Yoga emphasizes deep stretching and passive floor postures. At first glance, this just seemed like normal yoga stretching, but the class was much more than that. The instructor introduced a series of poses, urging us to hold each one for slightly under 10 minutes (which felt more like half an hour in my head). Due to a combination of inexperience and clumsiness, I often got these poses completely wrong on my own, but the instructor made an effort to check each student’s posture before leaving us to hold the pose. The session I attended consisted of only four students, including myself, which led to an incredible amount of personal attention.
The charm of the session was supplemented by its meditative elements. While we held each pose, the instructor read inspirational passages from a book. If you need silence to meditate, this may not be the best place for you, but the guiding nature of the passages helped me to focus my thoughts. The last segment of the class gave us an opportunity to meditate independently as the instructor rubbed a soothing oil, which she referred to as a “life force,” on our heads and necks, relieving the tension that had built up over the previous hour.
I left Breathing Room feeling refreshed and ready to do my innumerable hours of reading. The studio made me feel at ease and offered a smaller, less intimidating option than Payne Whitney. The majority of classes are held after 5 p.m., and the studio allows participants to pay for each session individually, allowing flexibility for busy schedules. The studio also offers class packages, such as five-class or 10-class cards, and provides a discount to students. Yoga supplies, including mats, blankets and props, are provided free of charge, and water is available for purchase. With its chill attitude toward achieving inner peace, Breathing Room provides an experience appropriate for busy students and professionals alike.