A House Divided: Strength Meets Yoga at Stroga

February 15, 2010

MOST YOGA STUDIOS in the Washington area strive to be cute and cozy. But the city’s newest stretch center is going for a different adjective: epic. Stroga, a fusion of “strength” and “yoga,” debuted Monday in Adams Morgan in a grand building with equally grand ambitions.

“It’ll be a yoga mecca. Every master will come here,” says creator Doug Jeffries, who’s also behind the local Results Gym chain. Through his years in the fitness business, he’s developed into a faithful yogi, but he’s gotten fed up of toting his mat to cramped rowhouses.

That’s why he’s especially proud that Stroga resides in a mansion with floor-to-ceiling windows, stained glass, chandeliers, exquisite detailing and, most important, a heck of a lot of space. The entire second floor will be devoted to classes that can fit up to 125 people — comfortably. “There will be a foot between mats. We want people to be able to do a pose without getting a foot in the face,” he adds.

To live up to the first half of its name — and to appeal to clients beyond the downward dog crowd — the top floor will soon become a functional training heaven.

During prime exercise time, every 15 minutes, a small group session will kick off with kick-butt calisthenics, using an array of props, like ropes, dumbbells, balls, ladders and kettlebells. Not only will all the lifting, leaping and sprinting (on an Astroturf running track) be exhausting; it’ll be effective for building muscle and cardio endurance. “It’s a better workout than you’ve ever gotten,” Jeffries brags.

Stroga might just offer the best cooldown, too. Post-workout, after changing in the women’s or men’s locker rooms, exercisers are welcome to head to the couch-filled lounge area for tea and fruit on the ground floor, or hang out on the “chill platform” next to the functional training area — there’s a big TV and a ridiculously good view.

Add in Wi-fi, plus the promise of a roof deck in a few months, and people might never want to leave. (Although they’ll have to when special events are scheduled. The place is already reserved for a June wedding.)

Although Jeffries has much of Stroga planned out, the exact details of the yoga classes are yet to be determined beyond the fact that most will be open to all levels. Folks who’ve stopped by in recent months have been given tours along with a survey about what sorts of styles they’re looking for. During these first two weeks, all sessions will be free (for more info, see below) and visitors will be invited to give further feedback about the instructors.

Jeffries hopes the open lines of communication will help his team provide top-of-the-line customer service. “It’s a special space, and we want it to be a special experience, too,” he says.

» Free for All: Stroga, located at 1808 Adams Mill Road, has opened its doors. But it’s not taking money for the first two weeks. Instead, all of the classes (Mon.-Fri. at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.; and Sat.-Sun. at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.) are free and welcome for walk-in business. Instructors and styles are listed at Stroga.com. The functional training space on the top floor will also hold a two-week free preview once it opens next month. Check online for more information.

Photo courtesy Stroga

Vicky Hallett is a MisFits columnist and the Fit editor for Express.
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