Dear Yoga, Downward dog is a lot harder than it looks. Love, Gina.


In fact, cane giu  (as they call it in Italian) doesn’t look that hard in the pictures.  What IS hard is trying not to crack up or fall over as you put your nose to a sweaty Yoga mat, stick your butt up in the air and try to breathe without farting, as Gianna and I found out during our first class at 19R Yoga & Pilates.
G and I have been talking for ages in the office about finding a positive hobby to do in our free time.  After a certain amount of time in Florence, you tend to find that the only things to do at night are a) go out for drinks or b) go out for dinner. And as neither of us have the metabolisms of a Victoria’s Secret model or the willpower to resist a good pizza, we figured that working out would be a good way to burn off those late-night kebabs and Autogrill dinners while we’re on the road traveling.
So after G had a nice email chat with Melissa, the owner of 19R Yoga, we decided that we’d give it a try. I picked Gianna up after work at 6:30, and we walked across the river to try and find Via dei Bardi. 30 minutes and a few cursewords later, we finally ended up on the right street and walked into the small, warmly-lit studio. We left our shoes at the door, grabbed some mats, and set up shop at the back of the class, and waited for our instructor Shari to begin the class.
And holy crap, did we ever get a workout from this class. For 75 minutes, me and G attempted to twist our bodies into the positions as Shari demonstrated them, looking like wobbly pretzels and sweating like polar bears in July. As the positions got more and more complicated,  I caught a glimpse of Gianna’s face, eyebrows furrowed in concentration, as she lunged forward and tried to wrap her arms backwards around her thigh in some sort of leg-hug asana and starting laughing… Which of course made me lose my balance and nearly knock out the girl to my left. I can only imagine the domino-like effect THAT would have created.
After our class was finished, we hung around to talk to Shari and thank her for not ridiculing our horrendous yoga abilities. Shari was incredibly sweet and kind, and after a little talk about the benefits of attending a class with no men (read: garlic farting. enough said.) we were excited to come back on Wednesday for another session at 19R.


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