The Brick has been a household name in the South of Antwerp for years for those who love a highly varied sports environment. Think of strength training, boxing, CrossFit and spinning. But yoga and Pilates also fit within that picture. “In recent months, we noticed that our yoga classes were often fully booked, resulting in waiting lists,” says marketing director Vincent Stevens. “We therefore thought it was a logical step to open a new branch that focuses on that.”
And so it happened. In addition to The Brick Gym and The Brick CrossFit on the Waalse Kaai and The Brick Circus in the nearby Burburestraat, The Brick Satori also opened its doors on Monday. The fourth location in the Museumstraat is an oasis of tranquility for all yoga and Pilates enthusiasts. Or at least, I would think so.
A few years ago I already tried a ten-turn ticket in an Antwerp yoga studio to give the passive yin and the slightly more dynamic vinyasa a chance. The approach? My head that is grinding non-stop to silence for a moment. Without success. In between exercises, I found myself still going through my to-do list in a loop.
Today I venture into a power yoga class at The Brick Satori. A quick Google search tells me that this is going to be a slightly tougher session, described as physical and challenging. I do strength training every week and so don’t expect too much of a loss, but I still pull with a scared heart in my elastic pants to the Museumstraat for the second lesson of the morning.
Once I have arrived, I scan my fitness card and settle down in the white woolen chair. Immediately I take the more experienced yogis out of the people who come in sparsely. Next to me is a man who is also trying power yoga for the first time. “I did it a while ago,” says his workout partner. “Because I do CrossFit, I didn’t expect too much from it, but I was completely exhausted after that,” she says.
With that expectation in mind, I place my shoes on the shelf – once the hall is past, do it barefoot or with socks, as it should be – and rush towards a locker to store my belongings. The parquet floor, earth tones and orange touches in the decoration offer a warm environment and the temperature in the yoga room is also pleasant.
There is no shortage of mats, towels or blocks – phew, because I don’t have one myself – and the lesson is also fully booked. The new location has clearly been welcomed. Instructor Oona is already sitting at the front to lead us through the different yoga positions for an hour. Beyond a downward facing dog, child pose and the warrior pose my knowledge does not extend.
On our knees we start slowly and we left for an hour of power yoga. The pace and intensity of the exercises is quickly increased. After holding a plank position several times, sweat is already starting to bead on my forehead. The combination of strength, agility and balance allows me to use muscles that I have never felt before. While I toil with the other yogis to complete the positions, Oona makes it all look as simple as possible.
A few sun salutations later I spot my flushed face in the mirror. We’re only halfway there and I take a big gulp of water from my drinking bottle. But the further into the lesson, the more dexterous I become at holding out and executing the movements correctly. My hands reach closer and closer to my toes and apart from the occasional slipping of my sweaty feet, I know how to balance where necessary.
With fifteen minutes left on the clock and a clammy back, I even succeed in the king dancer pose – read: balancing on one leg with one foot in hand putting your other leg in the air – smoothly to a successful conclusion. Oona promises we’ll go through one more set of exercises and then it’s time to cool down. When the moment comes to lie down with my eyes closed, to my great surprise my head is completely empty. No to-do list or sing-along to distract me. My body is tired but satisfied. A fellow yogi smiles with relief when disinfecting our mats. We survived.
The Brick Satori, Museumstraat 11, 2000 Antwerp. Subscriptions and info on www.thebrick.be.