This Peloton yoga review is part of our Class Action, FLEETSTREET’s workout review series. We get sweaty to give you the low-down on what the workouts are really like.
The list of things the pandemic has made me both miss and rethink is long. Forever changed as certain aspects of travel, socializing and public washrooms. But firmly in the the “most missed the way it was before” section is practicing yoga, sometimes hot yoga, at a studio dedicated solely to it.
Even on a tight budget, trying out a new yoga studio (particularly ones with great welcome offers) was a low-key hobby prior to 2020. I loved the practice of going to the studio, locking up my phone and getting down to business. Everyone felt so zen, and it was nice to workout with a sense of community. I also, admittedly, knew that if I tried to practice at home, I’d be more likely to stop. The subtle encouragement of the person next to me holding his crow pose for an impressively (weirdly?) long time was as much an added benefit as the essential oils wafting through the studio.
Luckily, I found Yoga With Adriene to help with both my hunched WFH body, my stress levels and my fitness during the pandemic. And, I liked it! So, when I got the chance to try Peloton’s yoga classes, I thought “What more could I need?” I mean, YouTube is free! How could I be swayed? To my surprise, I found myself enjoying the classes more than I ever expected (though I still love Adriene). Here’s my experience with the infamously bougie brand’s take on yoga.
The brand — Peloton
Launched in 2012, these at-home-bikes (that-cost-as-much-as-some-pre-owned-cars) have become increasingly popular. I have a few friends who invested in them and have found it to be totally worth it. (Read our review of the Peloton Bike Bootcamp for more on the brand.)
In 2018, the brand started offering yoga classes, as well as strength, running, meditation and more. You don’t have to own the company‘s stationary bike or treadmill to take advantage of their thousands of classes. You can access them all through their app, if you have a Peloton digital subscription, which is $16.99 per month, too. Plus, your first month on the app is free, which is pretty sweet.
The workout — yoga (galore)
There are literally thousands of classes. The day I wrote this, there were six classes released just that day. It’s basically like if someone recorded every single class in your local studio, and uploaded them. It sounds a bit overwhelming, but, the Peloton app makes it easy to sift through them to find the exact one you’re in the mood for. You can filter by length, with classes ranging from five to 75 minutes. You can also filter by instructor, music, difficulty and new or trending classes.
There are also a plethora of types of classes available. There’s the traditional flow, focus flow (focused on a certain post, intention or area of the body), restorative and power yoga. Then it has both pre-natal and family classes. So you can practice with your kids, if you want. There are even music-themed classes, where you practice from everything from Post Malone to broadway show tunes. There are other types of classes, which cater to a time of day (morning or evening) or mood (calm, sad, happy).
It also offers yoga for you to do anywhere, so you can do a 10 minutes chair, desk or standing class (perfect for back to office). You can also learn the basics of yoga with classes focussed on learning (or mastering) any of the core poses.
We tried it
So, yes, variety is the name of the game for Peloton yoga, so naturally, I tried more than one singular class.
I tried an intermediate power yoga class to start, and it was challenging. I also didn’t have the required equipment, so I had to improvise with some books for a block. A few minutes in, and “intermediate” felt like a bit of a stretch (see what I did there), and I thought it should have been categorized as advanced. Either that, or the average yogi has much more flexible hip joints than I do. I did work up a nice sweat and ended up trying some poses I never had done before. I’ve been doing yoga on and off for about 10 years, so I didn’t think that was possible.
I also tried a a 20-minute restorative class. I think because it’s a fitness-focused app, I didn’t feel as relaxed as I do with a dyed-in-the-wool yogi leading me. But, as I said, it has a huge roster of classes, so maybe I just picked a not-so-relaxing apple. This is also where the filtering by instructor feature would come in handy, so you can choose the right instructor for the mood you’re going for.
I also decided to do some classes on my WFH lunch break. I did a 30-minute yoga flow with a focus on arms. I seriously felt that class for the next few days. (Who knew you could consider a plant a rest pose?) I also did a 20-minute calm mood yoga flow, on a particularly busy day, and was happy I did it immediately afterward.
These classes are extremely varied, but each had one thing in common: It left me feeling that unique post-yoga sensation, where both stretched but strengthened, with a familiar sense of calm that I used to get from going to my local studio.
All of the classes, save the restorative one, gave me the impression that you could get in seriously good shape just by taking their yoga classes. I had muscle soreness after every class, and felt a little stronger each time I stepped onto my mat.
Something I never considered when I started forgoing a studio in favour of YouTube was the lack of variety. Yes, there are a million instructors online, but if you’re a creature of habit, you find one instructor you like and rotate through the same couple of videos for months, like I did.
But every time I opened the Peloton app, with its setup and constant stream of new yoga classes, I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone. And even though I’m still too wary to step in an IRL yoga studio right now, that made me feel like I was walking into a new class, ready to be taught by a new instructor, with a fresh perspective, working different phsyical and mental muscles, all over again.
Peloton, onepeloton.ca, unlimited workouts; $16.99 a month (first two months free); package pricing available ($64 a month with the bike, or $2,495); app downloads available at the App Store and Google Play.