Like most exercise instructors, Amanda McCarroll has no trouble leading an active lifestyle thanks to teaching multiple classes a week at Buddhi Yoga, which she has co-owned with Carolina Vivas in La Jolla since 2014. But even with the constant classes, McCarroll said she and Vivas were still finding themselves going to other gyms and studios to get in their workouts.
“We had vinyasa, slow-flow, and yin, so very much a yoga studio,” McCarroll said. “So both of us were going elsewhere to work out. We were just like ‘Why don’t we try to make up our own sort of workout class?’”
After experimenting with various ankle and hand weights — and making some of their earlier participants very sore in the process — Vivas and McCarroll “nailed the recipe” with lighter weights and nonstop yoga-style movements. Three years later, FlowLIFT is one of their most popular classes, with students both in-studio and online.
The not-so-secret recipe? A combination of yoga, Pilates and weight training that helps to improve balance and develop core strength as well as mental sharpness. And it all happens within a 45-minute class that has virtually no breaks.
“They’re all full-body moves,” she said. “So you’re always using your core, your extremities, and your back muscles. You’re really using your body in this integrated motion. It’s lunges, squats, planks and then these intricate floor moves where you start on all fours.”
Those combination moves can include anything from a traditional tree pose to a squat to a plank or a lunge to a warrior pose to a bicep curl with hand weights starting at 2 pounds. Oh, and don’t forget the ankle weights. It’s what McCarroll believes sets FlowLIFT apart from other strength-training yoga classes.
“There are other yoga sculpt classes, but nothing else uses angle weights,” she said. “And it’s nonstop flow whereas a lot of workout classes, you stop to switch out your equipment or move to a different station. This has nonstop movement for 45 minutes.
"I wouldn’t even call this a yoga class because of the cardio element."
While there are several FlowLIFT classes on the Buddhi Yoga schedule every week, they’re also available online (as well as the studio's other classes) for $18 a month. In-studio memberships are $130 a month.
For more information about Buddhi Yoga, visit buddhiyogalj.com.