Laura Mucci sits with her legs tucked at the front of an intimate room glowing orange and blue at G20 Spa + Salon. She wears a black EverybodyFights jersey and tells the class to take a deep inhale, let it all go and to simply be. A whooshing sound from the ceiling vents signals the halogenerator. It’s the beginning of a yoga meditation class like any other. But this one happens to be inside the only Himalayan salt cave in Boston.
“It’s extremely relaxing,” Christina Gallardo, G2O’s director of advertising and marketing, says of FLOW Yoga class. “The whole focus is on your breath and movement.”
Mucci is the instructor for FLOW Yoga at G2O’s salt cave, a limited-class series running every Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the summer. She is also a brand trainer and the brains behind FLOW, one of EverybodyFights’ five-part class series designed to help recover and restore everything you do with your body on a regular basis.“People have embraced the movement culture in terms of the health side of things. There are a lot of options,” Mucci explains in a conversation ahead of the class. But slowing down to do yoga? Or meditate? She adds, we know it’s going to be beneficial, but for many people it’s scary to get into meditation. Mucci and Gallardo combined FLOW Yoga with G2O’s salt cave because they both saw that maintenance and wellness outside of exercise is not yet a regular part of our culture. But Gallardo is beginning to see some change.
“Going to the spa isn’t just a luxury anymore,” Gallardo says.“It’s about a focus on wellness, and that should be part of your lifestyle. It’s something that you build in to your daily or monthly maintenance outside of vigorous exercise.”
It occurs to me, an avid fitness boxer and sometimes yogi, that I spend very little time thinking about maintenance aside from occasionally using a guided meditation app. I also have an infant so none of it actually happens much anymore. Despite being out of shape and sleep deprived, it also sounds like the perfect time to try yoga in a salt cave.
There are six people attending the class one July morning. At a 10-person limit, the small setting has some advantages over the packed fitness classes I usually attend. Mucci guides the class through a vinyasa flow, taking more breathes between poses. Soon my feet begin to slip a little on the yoga mat. I brush my hand across the floor and it feels like sand. The halogenerator is still humming, helping to break down and disperse the salt particles from the blocks in the walls. I can feel the salt particles filling my nose at each deep inhale. The sensation isn’t immediately pleasant, more odd than anything else, especially during a triangle pose when I feel an unseasonal post-nasal drip.
EverybodyFights’ trainer Laura Mucci is offering FLOW yoga classes in G2O Spa + Salon’s salt cave through Aug. 15. Photo by Emily Turner.
The benefits of breathing in salt air, also known as halotherapy, have long been a form of treatment to aid in cleansing and detoxifying the respiratory system. The negative ions from the salt are also believed to increase mood and energy, Gallardo explains. Salt is naturally anti-inflammatory and has antibacterial properties. “Because you want the benefit of the salt cave, it’s really about that connection to breath,” Mucci says. She describes her own experience in the cave as an immediate mood booster and feeling the change in her breathing when she leaves the cave.
The class nears an end, and Mucci guides us through a final meditation. I can feel the salt on my arms. I’m not out of breath, instead I’m somehow feeling the opposite. My chest feels open. This is a different kind of experience entirely. Deep breathing in a salt cave has given some clients a zen high, as Gallardo puts it. “Like it’s a ‘calm and collected but I feel great’ high.”
I leave the spa and turn off of Exeter Street with my zen high, aware of my breathing and my suddenly soft skin.
EverybodyFights x G2O Salt Cave FLOW featuring Laura Mucci. $50. Classes run on Tuesdays at 8am and Wednesdays at 6 pm at G2O Spa + Salon.
UPDATE: Beginning Sept. 19, EverybodyFights x G2O Salt Cave FLOW featuring Laura Mucci returns every Wednesday at 6 pm through Nov. 14.