Crash Course: Mind the Mat is a yoga and pilates studio with locations in Alexandria and Arlington. I visited their Alexandria studio, located in the heart of the darling Del Ray neighborhood. Their robust class schedule includes barre, yoga, and pilates classes in addition to specialized workshops and prenatal and postpartum offerings. The Alexandria location is home to their hot studio which allows Mind the Mat to offer heated yoga and pilates classes in addition to their traditional classes. I tried their signature HOT Pilates class one Saturday morning.
[left]where: 2214 Mount Vernon Ave | Alexandria, VA
bring: water bottle, mat, towel
perks: free parking, changing room, filtered water fountains
sweat score: 10 out of 10
[/left][right]wear: tight-fitting bottoms and tops that can take the heat!
instructor: Laura Rose Schwartz
class: HOT Pilates
cost: new client deal 5 classes for $39; single class drop-in $25 [/right][line]
Mind the Mat might be the only place you can try Hot Pilates in the DC area (I haven’t found another one, but could be out there!) so I jumped at the opportunity to give it a go.
Unfortunately for me, I picked a Saturday morning class on the warmest day of the year so far. Not only did this make the hot studio feel even more steamy, but it also brought the crowds to Del Ray’s farmers market making parking a bit of a headache. However, on ordinary days, Mind the Mat has four spots in the parking lot behind the building which is always a great perk for any studio.
Once I did find a spot, I rushed into class and while it was certainly full, I was relieved that it wasn’t too crammed in there. Nothing worse than hot classes where everyone is also on top of each other.
I haven’t taken many mat pilates classes so I would’ve found that in itself challenging, let alone doing it in 95 degrees – whew! I was sweating before we even got through the warm up.
Laura guided us through a series of exercises that focused on the core, in addition to special sections devoted to arms, buns, and legs – all of which had me shaking in the best way possible. Lucky for me, the heat definitely helped bring my flexibility from nonexistent to just pathetic – an improvement!
I also really appreciated the music mostly because it could have been my own workout playlist on my iPod: Britney, Xtina, Pussycat Dolls. You can’t go wrong.
Throughout the class, Laura offered super helpful hands-on corrections in addition to an approachable, down-to-earth teaching style that I really appreciated. In fact, she might be my favorite fitness instructor to date. If I didn’t already think she was cool enough, I also later learned that she’s a former lawyer turned yoga/pilates/barre instructor. I mean check out her Instagram page – goals.
You definitely need some degree of experience before jumping into the Hot Pilates class, but it was relatively easy to catch on. The leg series was probably the hardest part for me mostly because it involved having to stretch out my unstretchable hamstrings.
By the end of the 60 minute class, I literally had nothing left in me – it was all in the pool of sweat that had collected on my mat. And it felt really, really good.
After class, Laura showed me around the three-level studio which includes the hot studio, barre studio, and yoga studio. There is also an ample changing room – but no showers – and filtered water stations which helped bring me back to life.
Offering over 120 classes a week between the two studios, their schedule includes flow yoga, gentle yoga, pilates mat, pilates boot camp, mommy and me, yoga barre, pilates barre, hot flow yoga, hot power flow yoga, and hot pilates – among others.They also have a variety of specialized 6-weeks workshops include prenatal yoga, postpartum pilates, therapeutic pilates, and more- truly something for everyone. They even offer monthly infant CPR and birthing classes- a real one stop shop for fit mamas.
After the sweltering class, I went to Del Ray’s famous “Dairy Godmother” to refuel – a highly recommended recovery method, especially in the warm weather!
It was clear from my experience and chatting with Laura that Mind the Mat has built a real solid community of loyal clients. Despite that, I didn’t feel like an outsider by any means. Everyone was very welcoming and encouraging.