I am lucky to be able to travel around the country on a regular basis, and no matter where I go, I often try to find a yoga class during my trip. Yoga for me has been a way to get better in touch with my body, and understand what it needs to be the most effective for my life. Doing yoga around the country has allowed me to experience various styles, and understand what I like and what I should do to keep myself balanced and whole. Like wine, yoga can be as different as the studio, teacher, style and experience, and it’s definitely worth sharing both internally and externally.
Here is a list of some of my favorite yoga spots from the left to the right coast. (Note: I will keep updating this post as I attend more classes to ensure we cover all the good spots.)
This is a purist yoga spot, focusing on breathe and movement, without a lot of modern day yoga hype. Located in the financial district, right outside Union Square, Satori Yoga will breathe old yoga into your new life.
This is a very hot, power yoga studio located right in the heart of Santa Monica. I love a little hot yoga, though be warned this class gets very full, very hot, and very sweaty…but maybe this is the key to that LA body?
I had a truly lovely experience practicing at Shakti Yoga in Redmond. The class was warm (not too hot), they rented clean Manduka eKo mats, and the teacher and class were excellent for my intermediate level. The class was a Baptiste-style class, which was familiar to me, but it was not as rigorous as my Boston Baptiste experiences. This is by far one of my favorite classes I have attended around the country.
Exhale is a Nationwide chain providing various types of barre and yoga classes, along with full service spa experiences. You can become a member, or just drop in. I tried the “Week of Transformation” including the Flow and Power Yoga classes, along with a Barre-Cardio class. I especially liked the Power Yoga classes for their energy, focus on breathing and stretching, and for still allowing me to work up a sweat even without additional heat.
CorePower is another chain with Nationwide locations, which caters to those looking for mostly heated yoga. I love the Level 1 and 2 classes here, where you can focus on alignment and breathe, still get a tough workout, and make it through all the poses of a typical Vinyasa class.
I have gone to Yoga Strong over a longer period, and saw this tiny studio bloom into a great Ohio brand. They now offer heated and non-heated yoga, barre and other classes, and provide a really friendly overall experience. The thing about these classes is that they are all different, and no matter the length, you are sure to get an amazing workout and learn some new postures and poses along the way. I am always impressed and amazed by the strength and stamina of the teachers and regulars, so I guess it owns up to its name. I have also attended some of their workshops, and found them to be amazing and challenging as well. This is a great emerging yoga brand to be reckoned with.
This uber cool, tranquil space features budget-friendly drop-in classes and workshops, complete with their own #yogahour sequences. I dropped into a #yogagive class where proceeds go to the Bhatti Mines School in India. This cool studio even has teachers who play harmonium, which plays soothing sounds to accompany your OMs. Very cool spot indeed.
This studio brings back some of the pure yoga techniques, like a really long Shavasana (the way it should be), and classes focused on every level. I attended a class where we went through easy asanas and some Vinyasa, and finished with time devoted to headstands. I found this to be really nice, as usually in a big class, there is no time to develop and work on your inversions, unless you already know them.
I basically learned Vinyasa going to Baptiste Studios, and my first experience (which was very hot and completely depleting) allowed me a lot of insight into my body and its needs. Needless to say, I continued on and developed a love for hot yoga through the classes at these studios. The run though a pretty typical asana practice, commencing and ending with OM, and can be very hot (especially in summer). But the strength and ability which comes with these is not easy to compare.
My first experience with Jivamukti Yoga was in NYC, and I was hooked. Though this class was packed (elbow to elbow), we managed to go through a full set of asanas, followed by a full 30 minutes (that’s right) of Pranayama. I didn’t know what I was getting into with the breathing exercises, but I admit afterwards I felt much clearer and my typical allergy symptoms were much lighter the following days. If you are looking for an all around experience, this is a great class to try.
Dharma Mitra is known as one of the leaders in the yoga movement, by doing his groundbreaking work to document 608 yoga poses in stunning photographs. Many have followed, but he is a unique one. I went to one class at the Dharma Yoga Center in NYC, and was amazed by the experience, which is rooted in all the yoga styles, yet melds them together seamlessly. It is an experience worth taking.
This is a dynamic list, as it should be, and I will keep updating it not only for all of you but for me, as I continue to explore, understand my body, travel and try to live the yoga lifestyle. In the end though, it’s not where you practice that matters, but what and how you practice, with your whole body, mind and soul that is the essence of yoga.