REVIEW OF MOKSHA (MODA) YOGA
Hot Yoga for Everyone
This is an everyman series of yoga. Moksha Yoga was founded by Jessica Robertson and Ted Grand, yoga professionals from Toronto Canada in 2004. There are now franchised studios in many major centres in Canada and the US bearing the Moksha (Modo in the US) emblem, as well as Sydney Australia. Likely there are Moksha trained instructors teaching in studios around the world in hot yoga studios not officially bearing the Moksha emblem. Yoga teachers tend to get around that way. This is a very accessible series of postures designed to appeal to the general median of yoga practitioners seeking an unintimidating, nurturing kind of practice. Although each studio is independently owned and operated they are all guided by the company core values known as “the 7 pillars”. More about that later. It is difficult to review Moksha without referencing Bikram yoga. Because there is a connection. For an more in-depth comparision of the 2 practices please see our review Bikram vs Moksha.
NOTE: Below is the description of Moksha (Moda) Yoga as presented by their website literature, studio owners, and instructors.
Temperature: 100° Fahrenheit, 35% Humidity
Duration: 60-90 Minutes
Postures: Approximately 40 Hatha Postures, 2 Pranayama (breathing exercises).
Level: Beginner, and all levels
Instructors: All certified specifically to teach Moksha/Moda Yoga. If you’re interested in teacher training please → click here ←
Variations: Moksha, Moksha Flow, Hatha, Yin, and others dependent on the studio
Good to know: Karma classes once at week by donation
MY RATING: ♦♦♦♦♦
Variety is the spice of life. Moksha yoga is based a set sequence of Hatha postures, but they change it up just enough to keep it interesting, yet still keep it consistent for the most part. My very first Moksha class was live music class. They tucked 2 live guitarists/singers into the side the class on a mat and the teacher lead the class at the front with a very minimal verbal cues. I wasn’t sure how this was going to affect my practice, but I went in with an open mind. Well, it turns out that out of all the classes I’ve ever attended at any studio (that would be over 2000 classes) the Moksha Live Music classes may well be my all time favourite. I was not expecting it to happen, but I reached my yoga nirvana that day and now I attend those classes whenever they I can. As well as the music classes there are also Moksha flow, Hatha with reduced heat, Yin, and a number of other classes. Although this is a franchise, the individual studios make their own decisions as to what varieties of Moksha classes to offer so check your Moksha or Moda location to see what different classes are on the roster.
Butt of Course. I am in currently in my 7th month of regular Moksha practice which is usually 5 classes per week. Since starting Moksha I have noticed a remarkable improvement in the tautness of my butt. I say remarkable because my significant other has remarked on it several times starting about 3 months ago. It seems a little unladylike to talk about my own butt, but I think we’re past that, so here I go into detailed butt talk. Examining the Moksha standing series tells me that this is due to cueing method used by all the teachers for the Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1), Anjaneyasana (Crescent / Low Lunge) poses. Specifically they cue you to “try to drag your feet toward one another”. Your feel won’t actually move but if you follow this cue it completes the activation of the adductor, abductor and all your gluteus muscles. I won’t get into too much more of the technicalities except suffice to say I am a big fan of anything that can sculpt my glutes without using a sharp instrument or putting me under general anesthetic. Butt of course, the fifth star in this review can be attributed directly to this fact.
Community Minded. This is all about Moksha’s 7 pillars. They are 1. Be Healthy, 2. Be Accessible, 3. Live Green, 4. Community Support, 5. Reach Out, 6. Live to Learn, 7. Be Peace. I’m not really sure I’ve got them in the right order but you get the general drift. According to the Moksha website information they were the originators of the “karma” class which is a class open to all by donation. Proceeds are donated to various charitable organizations, such at the David Suzuki Foundation, to name just one. Since it’s inception in 2005, Moksha has raised over 3 million dollars from their karma class participants. At our studio the once a week Friday night karma class is always full and that’s when I’ll bring friends or visitors who want to try a class with me. I think this is a commendable way for any organization to give back to the community and the founders of Moksha and their studios deserve kudos for initiating this.
Studio. Technically, Moksha has the most consistent heating system I’ve encountered. All studios are built with infra-red panels which delivers a gentle heat that doesn’t scorch your nostrils when you breath. They also build their locations using salvaged recyclable materials whenever possible. I commend their commitment to the environment and will add that company such as Starbucks should have a look at the way Moksha sets out parameters for their franchise and hang their heads in shame. I have only seen 3 Moksha studios so far but they all had the same vibe. If I could only choose one word to describe that vibe, it would be “inviting”. People working and running these studios are genuine, open, and very approachable. Where I have my membership, everyone seemed to know my name after just a couple of weeks. Surprisingly, not many yoga studios are like this. The first place I ever practiced was a very quiet atmosphere. People tip toed around and there wasn’t much chatting in the foyer or much of a community feel. Not that it wasn’t a nice place to practice but in comparison to the vibe at Moksha, it was just completely different.
Moksha for Weight loss. I will preface this by saying that what my experience has been with Moksha in regards to weight loss may not be typical and/or the same as what may or may not happen with anyone else. Since starting my Moksha practice 7 months ago, I believe I have lost 8-10 lbs. I say I believe because I don’t actually own a scale. I don’t believe in scales (and sometimes I just plain don’t believe them). After the first month at Moksha my pants started to slide down my hips and my love handles (oh yeah, I had’em alright) are now gone. I can actually see my abs in the mirror and yes, there are more than 2 of them. I want to be clear that if you think you can just go to Moksha yoga and the pounds will melt off, you’re probably wrong. So, why did I lose weight? Well, first off, I wasn’t trying to, or focused on, losing weight. If I had been, maybe I would’ve actually bought a scale. What I was focused on was building my practice to a consistent 5-6 times a week and working hard in every class. I believe both factors to be a key if you’re looking to lose weight with any yoga practice. If you are practicing 2-3 times a week, I don’t believe you can expect any weight loss. If you’re only practicing at half mast when you’re in the hot room, ditto, no results. Sure, I have my low days but in most classes I am giving it all I’ve got, using every muscle in every posture, my limbs shaking trying to build strength, sweat pouring off me. I’m not there to look pretty but when I’ve finished the class, I feel beautiful. To read more about hot yoga and weight loss → click here ←.
A little too easy. As described, Moksha is yoga for “everyman”. It’s right there in their 7 pillars, be accessible. However, I feel that there is room for improvement for those that are looking for a more challenging practice. My location currently does not offer advanced classes. With only 1 or 2 exceptions the teachers tend to cue the postures to be held for very short periods of time. It is not completely consistent in that regard. Verbally, the emphasis seems to be purposefully geared towards not pushing the participants to put in more effort than they want to. To temper my critique I undertand that while I sometimes do not find this practice challenging enough maybe the same reason beginners are drawn to it. Still, those beginners will progress as well and there could be a happier medium struck by some positive “pushing” for those that need it like myself.
A tad expensive. I have an all inclusive membership and it costs me $147.00 CAD a month. In comparison to other places I’ve practiced that is about $20-$30 more per month. Being a fairly astute consumer I wouldn’t pay it if I wasn’t getting my money’s worth. Still a fair note that Moksha is positioned on the higher end of yoga pricing.
Inconsistent teachers narration. Again, it’s difficult to review Moksha yoga without mentioning Bikram yoga. While the “dialogue” of a Bikram class provides complete consistency right down to how long the poses are held, Moksha teachers do not have such a tool. There are earmarks of some element of speech coaching when listening to a Moksha teachers speak but they do not have a solid framework to rule out cueing errors and ensure safety cues are not left out. Of particular concern to me are missing safety cues, one example is advising people not to let their front knee ride past their ankle in Warrior 2. This cue is part of the Bikram dialogue but I have only heard this safety cue mentioned a few times in approximately 140 classes I’ve attended at Moksha. To read more about yoga teacher safety cues please click to the → teacher’s corner ←.
That’s all folks, my on review on the practice of Moksha (Moda) Yoga. Click here to see my review of Bikram vs Moksha (Moda) yoga.
Your comments are welcome, please leave them in the comment box below. Thank you, Connie.