Miami Yoga Guide: Styles and studios to explore

Breaking into the yoga world can be intimidating and confusing. Thoughts of “I’m not flexible, patient, zen enough” might come to mind. Or maybe you’re thinking “Nah, I need to sweat to feel like I worked out.” Ignore those voices in your head. There are so many different styles of yoga, that with a little research and practice, you likely will find exactly what you are looking to gain. From Ashtanga to Vinyasa, there is a style for everyone, right here in Miami.

Miami loves yoga, and there are so many good studios that giving due credit to all is tough. To start, we’ll help you narrow your options to the styles that sound most appealing, and check out a few studios that offer it. Finding your yogic path can take time, but remember that life and yoga are all about the journey.

If you want to sweat: Bikram

If your goal is to lose weight and strengthen your willpower, try a Bikram class. Transition through 26 postures in 90 minutes. The kicker? The room is a toasty 105 degrees. Bikram Hot Yoga in Coconut Grove or Bikram Yoga Miami in South Beach are just two of many popular Bikram studios peppered throughout the city.

If you want to flow: Vinyasa

A good beginner’s choice, learn the basic yoga poses while flowing through sun salutations. Each class, depending on the teacher, offers a different series of movements so you’ll never get bored. Vinyasa instructor Elgar Richards of the Standard Spa describes the practice as “moving the body in complete unison with the breath and allowing room in the practice for freedom of movement with a sequence that can go anywhere.” Most studios offer Vinyasa classes. Consider Exhale Spa, Rina Yoga, or the Standard, just to name a few.

If your want to heal and relax: Hatha/Restorative

If you are looking to wind down, release emotional tension in the body, or recover from an injury, a restorative/Hatha class might be for you. Restorative/Hatha yoga helps you tune into the rhythms of your body to heal, open and restore you to optimal balance and health. Move through your physical limitations, stiffness, or strain with comfort and ease with Iana Sundari Malcolm, Lead Yoga Teacher and Director of Health Programming for Miami Sports Chiropractic and Yoga Center in North Miami.

Flickr Creative Commons/ Rafael Montilla
Yoga in Bayfront Park. (Flickr Creative Commons/ Rafael Montilla)

If you want disciplined movement to get out of your head: Ashtanga

Especially attractive to athletes, Ashtanga is a very disciplined series of 6 challenging sequences that ensure both cardio and muscle-building. Beginner classes are encouraged for first-timers, as the sequence is quite specific. A great class to get you out of your head, Ashtanga will help build a mind, body and breath connection. You’ll come out feeling like you spent 90 minutes with a personal trainer at the gym. Head to Miami Life Center in South Beach to check out a class. Please note that Mysore classes are dedicated to those individually practicing the sequence with light guidance.

If you want to meditate more deeply: Naam Yoga

Looking for something deeper? Also known as Shakti Naam, this yoga seeks to slow aging, reduce stress and spiritually connect the human body immortal through dynamic breath-work, movement, and Universal Kabbalah. Think of it as a fusion of ancient Eastern techniques and timeless Western wisdom. Try it out with instructor Eugene Gant at Croydon Rose Spa in Miami Beach.

If you want some enlightenment: Jivamukti

Instructor Katie Love of Trio Yoga in Wynwood explains “The Jivamukti method of Yoga is through compassion for all beings. The fundamental elements of non-violence, spiritual study, meditation, devotion, and music integrate with the postures to create a well-rounded practice to improve one’s relationship to oneself and to others.” Sweat and sing your way to enlightenment with a balanced combination of movement, breath-work, and song.

If you want to play: Acro yoga

Acro yoga is quickly becoming a favorite pastime of many yogis. A combination of healing arts to help you listen and let go, acrobatic practice to strengthen trust, and basic yoga beliefs to encourage balance, AcroYoga will have you literally flying! Try a class at Trio in Wynwood.

If you want to break away: Yoga retreats

A yoga lifestyle immersion can help you get and stay connected in the very paradise that we call home. There are plenty of Yoga retreats in the area, from Key Biscayne to Miami Beach. Retreat leader Melisa Cuetara, of Soho Beach House, encourages a getaway to “balance your body, mind and spirit and reconnect with your true self.” Most retreats are package deals with classes, guided meditations and healthy food included.

Bethany Platanella is a yoga Instructor and a freelance lifestyle and travel writer in Miami whose work has appeared in Mapquest Discover, TourMatters.com, OM Magazine, and Yoga International.

Did we miss your favorite studio? Let us know and give it a shout out in the comments.