An empowering commitment to community is very much a part of everything at Yoga Works studios from coast-to-coast. These large, Buddha-filled stadiums seem to attract a passionate group of teachers who, in turn, nurture a compassionate and steadfast group of students. Commitment is also the driving force behind the company’s do-good work in public schools; weekly educational events open to the public, and teaching the disadvantaged.
Signature: Sheer diversity. Yoga Works literally offers hundreds of unique classes per week, per studio, from Ashtanga and Iyengar to prenatal yoga and mixed flow classes in all styles, and available to every fitness level.
Where: 25 studios in New York and California; yogaworks.com
Top-quality certified instructors lead high-intensity flowing power yoga in specially heated rooms. Here you will reduce stress, increase strength, improve flexibility, balance your muscles, and, yes, even improve the quality of your life. There’s a very loyal and dedicated early morning group of students who religiously attend 6 AM classes, too. Heated rooms like these are touted for helping arthritis-suffers and others with joint pain move into postures they normally would not even try.
Signature: Practicing Hot Yoga in a heated room internally warms your joints and muscles, which helps even the most inflexible folks become supple. (Pssst: Hot yoga practice feels especially good during chilly winter months!)
Where: 15 studios in Texas and Colorado; sunstoneyoga.com
Open Doors Power Yoga
Several homegrown, no-frills studios really care more about the inner soul than the outward physical body. Hundreds of breath-based and flowing yoga classes are available weekly, many with live musicians, chanting, drumming, hour-long meditation sessions, and fire-walking, too! It’s not your average everyday power yoga, for sure, but high-energy workouts proliferate, as well.
Signature: Spirituality 101. Many local healers associated with these studios are available to sanctify your home or treat you with Reiki, music therapy, hypnosis, and even astrological forecasting. Now, repeat after me… “Ohm.”
Where: 14 studios across New England; opendoors7.com
The Marsh Center for Balance and Fitness
Open 365 days a year, this 67,000-square-foot behemoth is located on scenic marshlands and maintains a large staff of certified yoga instructors and personal trainers for one-on-one practice, as well as a slew of gentle sessions, such as breath-centric Kripalu Yoga. Committed to providing an authentic environment, which inspires a healthy attitude toward life, The Marsh is open to the public and class headliners include yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates workouts.
Signature: Body Work. The Marsh Spa next door specializes in sports massage, acupuncture, and facials after a tough class or training session. People start off coming to the center for the yoga but stay for decades because of the spa.
Where: Minnetonka, Minnesota; themarsh.com
Sanctuary for Yoga
From the first 6 AM class called Yoga Latte (“the natural way to wake up!”) to the Vinyasa Flow classes, nearly every hour on the hour, there are great things happening in Nashville’s yoga scene. This pretty, terra-cotta studio offers live drumming classes on Fridays, Ayurveda sessions, children’s yoga sessions, live musicians, and a dedicated community of fit and funky practitioners.
Signature: Yin Yoga. This style uses long, passive holds to work on the deep, dense connective tissues of the body—the tendons, ligaments, and cartilage—which are difficult to energize and open. Yin’s non-flowing practice settles you into deep poses (think splits and twists) for 2 to 4 minutes per pose to draw you inward.
Where: Nashville, Tennessee; sanctuaryforyoga.com
Located two blocks from the beach and world-famous Venice boardwalk, this is one of the most influential yoga centers in the nation with renowned resident teachers including Shiva Rea, Erich Schiffmann, Saul David Raye, and Seane Corn. Here they celebrate and cultivate both the physical and spiritual aspects of yoga. Exhale Venice also features a standout, full-service clothing boutique with everything you might need for home practice, including props, books, CDs, eco-chic duds, and devotional items.
Signature: Teacher Training. Exhale Venice is the original bastion of training, and there are now 15 other yoga locations in Florida, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, and Texas. This first one is still special!
Where: Venice, California; exhalespa.com
Freedom Yoga and Meditation
Certified Anusara Yoga teachers are regarded as some of the most highly trained instructors in the world with hundreds of hours of yoga certification and specialization. In each class, nurturing, non-judgmental teachers provide the highest-quality instruction in yogic principles, safety, meditation, and philosophy. Every instructor in this studio introduces herself immediately, remembers your name in class, and seems especially welcoming.
Signature: The “Unbendables” class is super-popular with total novices who have no prior experience with yoga. Go once and you’re likely hooked for life.
Where: Eugene, Oregon; freedomyoga.org
Coil Yoga (Conscious, Open, Integrated Living)
This earthy 1,500-square-foot yoga studio resides in a beautiful 200-year-old historic building in downtown Fresno and offers 23 classes weekly. Customer service is impeccable: During hot summer months, staffers pass out cool cloths soaked in essential oils. In winter, the studio offers round-the-clock warming tea and hot vinyasa (flowing) classes to soothe your joints and keep muscles supple.
Signature: Restorative Yoga. These 90-minute breath-centric slowdown sessions mellow the body and soothe the mind, and typically use helpful props such as blankets, blocks, and straps.
Where: Fresno, California; coilyoga.com
Pure Yoga at Equinox Fitness Club
This Hong Kong–based center has signed a deal with exercise conglomerate Equinox Clubs to open Pure Yoga outposts across the United States, starting with this one. Luminous and eco-conscious bamboo practice rooms hold 100 classes a week across 19 different styles of yoga—including Mysore, Ashtanga, and Jivamukti—in five other-worldly stunning studios.
Signature: Customer service comes first with the online ability to book the exact floor space you’d like to practice on that day. Now there’s really no excuse to skip your Sanskrit!
Where: New York City, New York; equinox.com
Where do you practice yoga? Leave a comment below.