A blogger from LA kindly offers us the following studio review:
As any dedicated yogi/ni knows, finding a yoga studio while away from home can be quite a challenge. On a recent trip to Boston I was excited to find a very good local studio in the Back Bay area. Sandwiched between the Fens and Berklee College of Music on Boylston Street, Back Bay Yoga is located on the third floor of a nondescript building above a pizza parlor and a musical instruments store. (Neither of its downstairs neighbors provide a very conducive atmosphere for yoga, as I’m sure you can imagine.) A beautiful studio with old hardwood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows, BBY offers Ashtanga, Forrest and Vinyasa-style classes for all levels. They also have meditation sessions and occasional workshops. Although popular with the seasonal college students that live nearby, this studio attracts a wide range of ages and abilities. I saw many older men (a rare sight in many cities) and women practicing very challenging asanas with grace and control.
At this studio I experienced my first Forrest class and my first Primary Series class. Although I found the Forrest style somewhat disorienting, mainly because they have different poses and names for poses than other styles I have practiced, it provided a serious core workout. The real surprise came with the Ashtanga class. This was a led Primary Series, which is what it sounds like — the teacher leads the students through the primary series. It is my understanding that this differs from Mysore-style Ashtanga classes which allow the student to practice at his or her own pace and level. (Mysore classes are also available at BBY.) This class was incredibly challenging as every sitting posture requires a jump back and jump through on each side, every time. For those of us with weak core muscles, this is very exhausting. I have a newfound appreciation for what happens in an Ashtanga class after what I experienced here.
My only complaint about BBY is their use of mirrors in the practice studios. Although it can sometimes be very useful to see yourself doing an asana in a mirror, I generally find myself completely transfixed by my own appearance, and am too distracted by it to really be present. Overall though, Back Bay Yoga is the kind of small, privately-owned studio that I most enjoy. If you are in the Boston area I highly recommend that you take a look at this studio.