Back in my first-year, grad-school house, we had a buddy system. If you overslept and risked missing a seminar or lab, you would be saved by roommates placing speakers around your pillows and blasting Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" at maximum volume.
And while this wasn't what Bonaventour founders Esteban Rodriguez and Eduardo Padilla had in mind when they created their signature hybrid yoga and cycling class called Pedal to Nirvana, memories of Cobain's adrenalin-triggering opening riffs rushed through my system as Rodriguez delivered the supercharged instructions, "You work your bike, don't let the bike ride you!"
At this unique yoga and interactive cycling studio, Bonaventour's class combines a 40-minute RealRyder cardio ride with 30 minutes of yoga. And while the name Pedal to Nirvana suggests a movement from high intensity to calm stretching, whether you're on the bike or on the mat, the challenge level is cycling-yogi's choice.
The RealRyder bikes have core balance technology to simulate turns and engage muscles. Rodriguez guided our class somewhat like a vinyasa flow - circulating and adjusting bikes and riders while offering verbal cues to change pedal rate, resistance, and riders' positions from seated to standing. There were even occasional hints that if we pedaled a little faster or worked the uphills a little stronger, we'd get to the Zen part soon.
By the time we got to the cool-down phase - that's cycling for Savasana-I think I had already reached nirvana state and somehow floated through the instructions to remove our shoes and grab a mat.
This is where yoga instructor Katie Beroukhim took over, suggesting that we also grab a block. With visions of slow breathing in a comfortable seated position, I set up my mat.
"There is a yogi's edge to the cycling class, and an athletic tone to the yoga class," Beroukhim said. "Their pulse is high and muscles are tight when they get done, so we start out slow. It's a lighthearted, fun class balanced with options for students to challenge themselves, too."
That became quite clear as we held a modified half moon using our blocks, when suddenly, she gave us the option to flow from a bound half moon into bird of paradise. With calf muscles still shaking, I opted to stay in my half moon but noticed that others were pacing themselves just as they did while cycling - some in the one-legged bind, others relaxed in child's pose.
So whether or not you have ever cycled or done yoga, grab your water and check out Bonaventour, where beginners to tri-athletes can pedal and flow their way to whatever they define as nirvana.
5-in-5 FitN borough of the week: Carmel Valley
5 fitness playgrounds in a five-mile radius
Try all five: touch.groupon.com/deals/fitn-1
BONAVENTOUR: Interactive Cycling and Yoga Studio
(858) 365-7416 / bonaventour.com
13857 Carmel Valley Road, San Diego
LEASH YOUR FITNESS: Workout with your Dog!
(619) 822-3296 / LeashYourFitness.com
CROSS FIT OTW: High-Intensity Training Regimen
(858) 751-4494 / CrossFitOTW.com
11211 Sorrento Valley Road, Suite D, San Diego
XTEND BARRE CAMINO DEL SUR: Barre and Pilates
(858) 304-0636 / XtendBarreWorkout.com/new/xtend-barre-camino-del-sur/
14677 Via Bettona, Suite 115, San Diego
THE TRAINING CLUB: Gym, Weights, Boxing, Spinning, Yoga and Zumba
(858) 793-0665 / thetrainingclub.com
12264 El Camino Real, San Diego
Anna Mueco has been a student of hatha, kriya and raja yoga since 2003. Mueco currently lives and teaches yoga in Pacific Beach. Send your thoughts about the yoga world to her at anna@HyperNinjaYoga.com