Whether you want to attain enlightenment or just great abs, yoga, a Sanskrit word meaning “to unite,” is a tried and true, 5,000-year-old Indian regimen. From beginners to hard-core yogis, roll out a mat and destress at these San Francisco yoga studios.
Yoga on the Labyrinth
Price: varies by class
Hours: Tues – 6:15 p.m.
If you’re looking for the spiritual element, you just hit the jackpot. Classes are held inside the Grace Cathedral where the floor is based on the medieval labyrinth of Cathédrale Notre-Dame in Chartres, France. Instructor Darren Main leads meditative, deep breathing classes set against a backdrop of stained glass windows and a rotation of live musicians. All levels welcome, leave your stress at the Ghiberti doors.
Related: Bay Area Best Yoga Studio Bargains
The Yoga Loft
Price: 3 classes/$35 (new students)/$10 Mon to Fri before 6 p.m.
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Fri – 7:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m.; Sat – 8 a.m to 4:30 p.m.; Sun – 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
There’s a sense of community and belonging at this Lower Haight establishment. Co-founded in 2002 by Jane Dobson and Meg Whitbread, the center offers a variety of yoga and movement classes and new twists to old favorites including The Tao of the Body class, which combines hatha yoga, mythology, authentic movement, five rhythms, somatic psychology, music and the teachings of the living world.
Price: Donation based
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 9 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Fri – 9 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.; Sat – 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sun – 9 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.
At Bhakti Urban Flow, Rusty Wells packs in the people with his unique blend of Ashtanga, Bikram and Vinyasa yoga styles. Classes build mental and physical discipline, incorporating sun salutations that will have your third eye roaming for a towel. Be sure you’ve had a few yoga classes under your spandex, otherwise a bad case of deer in the headlight syndrome may arise. Chanting precedes and concludes all of his sessions.
Monkey Yoga Shala
Hours: $14 single drop in; $48 four classes/$120 12 classes
Hours: Mon and Wed – 9:15 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Tues and Thurs – 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Fri –9:15 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sat – 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sun – 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monkey Yoga Shala is one of the best in the Bay with classes for beginners, pros, moms, babies and toddlers. Instructor Bendy Berry puts the emphasis on fun as she introduces kids ages 5 to 9 to beginning asanas and meditation by incorporating yoga games, stories and movement while building body awareness, strength and mindfulness.
Even if you’re not a yoga person, Fluid Yoga will cure what ails you. Workouts are 90 minutes of postures and breathing exercises in a 105-degree room, allowing muscles to warm up quickly and eliminate toxins from the body. Long-term benefits include stress relief, weight loss, cardiovascular strength and an improved immune system. To say you will sweat is laughable. Bring water. Lots of it, and be prepared to drink before, during and after class.
Robyn Chelsea-Seifert is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in The Miami Herald, Creem, Hit Parader, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel and International Musician. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.