WTF Is YOD? (And Should You Be Doing It?) 

This is NOT your typical yoga class.

A few months ago, I was looking at Grace and Glory Yoga Fishtown’s class schedule when a class name caught my eye: It was called “YOD.” I wondered to myself, Is it like a CrossFit WOD … but with yoga poses? Well, this past Saturday morning I got my butt into the studio bright and early to find out. And to answer my own question: Not quite. But the class does stem from the idea of combining power yoga with exercises you might find yourself doing in a CrossFit class, like push-ups, leg lowers, squat jumps, and so on. And there’s some CrossFit-like language sprinkled in the mix too. Think: AMRAP.

If you’re thinking what I was thinking as I took the class, you’re right: It’s not like any yoga class you’ve done before.

Here’s the deal: YOD, which stands for both “Your Own Determination” and “Yoga of the Day,” was created by Minnesota Power Yoga owner Danielle Jokinen after she got physically (and mentally) exhausted from trying to squeeze tons of different types of fitness classes — from Pilates to yoga to CrossFit — into her schedule in order to build strength in different areas of her body. The idea of YOD is that it combines power yoga with no-equipment high-intensity interval training to build muscle, providing an entirely different type of workout than you’d usually find at a yoga studio — AND strengthening your body in a different way than you usually would in a yoga class.

And it is hard.

The heated hour-long class is made up of three parts: First, it kicks off with 20 minutes of power yoga. And if you’ve been to a power yoga class, you know that 20 minutes and what feels like hours of chair poses in, you’re already about ready to collapse. And that, my friends, is when you start the second portion of class: The 25-minute strength and high-intensity interval training chunk. The circuits in this portion of the class change every single sweat session so that you never get bored. First, there’s a strength portion that the class goes through together. In the class I took at Grace and Glory on Saturday, this consisted of three rounds of push-ups to side planks, chair pose reflies, and 60-second bridge pose. Then comes the HIIT portion (dubbed the YOD): In class this past Saturday, the goal here was to complete a circuit of six exercises as many times as possible in 12 minutes — at your own pace (praise the lord). The AMRAP circuit included not one, but TWO sets of 10 push-ups (kill me), along with air squats, cobras, squat jumps and leg lowers.

What makes this part fun (I mean, when you aren’t wanting to die) — and where the whole “Your Own Determination” mantra comes in — is that you are really just competing against yourself. At the beginning of the YOD, I set a goal, as the teacher Brittany had us do, of making it through four rounds of the exercises in the 12 minutes and doing ALL my push-ups every single time. (I would rather eat cottage cheese off of a dirty sidewalk than do 80 push-ups, so this was a true test.) When the 12 minutes were up, I’d (just barely) met my goal. And then it was back to yoga. (I may or may not have collapsed, legs and arms splayed, for a split second before making the transition.) YOD always ends with a 15-minute cool-down packed with restorative yoga poses (hello, half-pigeon pose) and then savasana.

So, long story short: In a YOD class, you basically get a mini power yoga class, followed by a mini HIIT class, followed by a mini stretch session, followed by savasana. I know: It sounds a bit ADD, but it actually flows really nicely. And it makes for a nice change of pace from a typical power flow yoga class.

So, should you be getting your YOD on? If you want to build up strength in areas you manage to skimp on during your normal yoga classes, then it’s totally worth trying. I realized that if I were to get in 80 push-ups twice a week, holding crow pose probably wouldn’t feel like such a struggle. Grace and Glory owner Brittany Everett stresses that the class is meant as a supplement to your regular yoga practice, so if you’re getting your downward dog on five times a week, maybe make two of those YOD classes. If you get to the studio less, maybe hit up just one YOD class a week. It’s all relative.

Right now, there are only 22 certified YOD instructors in the country, and Grace and Glory is the only YOD affiliate studio in the area (though Manayunk’s The Wall does offer a class each week). You can find YOD classes on the Fishtown studio’s schedule on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. And a little gift for you guys: Anyone who shows this post when they hit up a YOD class at Grace and Glory’s Fishtown location before September 30th will get their first YOD class for free. Sooooo what are you waiting for?

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