A Space to Breathe in Ivy City

Bikram Yoga Works Location Guides Students Towards Self-Discovery

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Co-owner and founder Kendra Blackett-Dibinga transformed her life through hot yoga and began her teaching career in Northeast (NE) DC before opening her Bikram Yoga Works (BYW) network of studios, which includes an Ivy City location at 1510 Okie St. NE.

“Ivy City is a rapidly changing community that has many amenities. We are anchored by MOM’s, but on a fitness row with Planet Fitness, CrossFit and Bicycle Space,” Blackett-Dibinga said.

Here, Blackett-Dibinga has assembled an instructor cadre that is unrelenting in their commitment to form, function, and overall well-being for studio goers. “We try to hire the best instructors who are compassionate but firm and who push their students towards self-discovery,” she explained.

Home Grown Talent

The Saturday morning 8 a.m. hot Pilates is led by home grown talent. “Knowing that this facility is available injects a level of seriousness about health and fitness into a community that lacked that awareness in previous generations,” said Jay Houston, a studio favorite hot Pilates instructor who was born and raised in NE DC.

The class is held at 90 degrees and can feel hotter than advertised, but his well-curated play lists, low impact burpees, and squats on planks on squats has a way of keeping me distracted from the sweat pouring.

“For me as an instructor, ensuring our clients get a full body workout while enjoying the community aspect of each class and genuinely having FUN are all paramount,” noted Houston. Other hot Pilates classes are offered throughout the week at different times.

While Houston has won me over, I’d be hard pressed to find something bad to say about any of the instructors and the approval-seeking side of me strives to not break form in any class –even in savasana.

The location offers traditional Bikram, which is a 90-minute class held in a room heated to 105 degrees or more, but also has a 60-minute Express class over lunch for a work day break. They round out their repertoire with a Bikram blend set to music, warm vinyasa, and an advanced Bikram class.

The entire space is well-maintained and has showers on site, something I think anyone can appreciate in a place where sweat is encouraged. Even the studio flooring has been upgraded, though the space has only been open since 2015.

BYW Ivy City is also investing in health and recovery tools for those looking to up their wellness game. The studio now offers fascial stretch therapy which is a form of assisted stretching with a trained specialist designed to unlock fascia and improve mobility. This summer they also debuted Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC), which is a ‘cold therapy designed to promote rapid recovery, decrease pain and inflammation and boost metabolism’ that has even celebrities jumping in the chamber and is one way to beat DC’s heat wave.

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF), which creates a series of pulsing electromagnetic fields that help recharge cells will be available starting in August. Admittedly, I scoffed the entire time I laid on a table with 2 PEMF pads on top of me and I’d have to try it again to completely silence my inner skeptic, but the next day I did feel mentally and physically lighter. Looks like I won’t have to wait much longer to try it again…

A few things to know:

  • Appointments for FST, WBC, and PEMF can be made through the website: https://bikramyogawellnessworks.com/rates-and-packages/
  • You’ll need a mat, towel, and water if you are taking a class. You can bring your own or rent a mat and towel
  • The studio offers a new student special, $49 for an unlimited month. Arrive early for class so you can get registered, put your stuff away, set up your mat, and adjust to the heat. Doors are locked at the start of class

Find out more at the studio’s website at: https://bikramyogawellnessworks.com/locations/ivy-city/

Scarlett Salem, M.S., MPH has written in local publications covering area events and happenings. She enjoys public health, fitness, learning, and all things wellness.