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Yoga for All

Not a pretzel? Not to worry. From the most basic of postures to the latest trends, these classes take yoga from being mysterious and mystical to accessible and, yes, fun. Namaste.

Yoga for All
Photo by Todd Buchanan (Brandi Negri)

(page 1 of 2)

Once considered the go-to practice of hippies, gurus, and other fringe groups, yoga has gone mainstream. Soccer moms flaunt Lululemon pants. Men flex chaturanga-chiseled biceps. But there’s more to yoga than form-fitting duds and tongue-twisting lingo. We decided the time had come to slay assumptions and break down the practice, style by style, studio by studio. What follows are 10 classes offered at some of the area’s top-notch independent studios, each revealing a different side of this versatile workout for both mind and body.
 

STRETCH IT OUT

TYPE: Yin

WHO IT'S FOR: Anyone looking for a good stretch
WHAT TO EXPECT: YogaFresh instructor Jill Carey calls Yin “a great way to cool the body while focusing the mind.” A complement to fast-paced, flowing Asana practices, poses in Yin are held for five minutes and focus on stretching the connective tissues that usually get overlooked during exercise, specifically the hips, pelvis, and lower spine. Props such as blankets, bolsters (large, heavy pillows), and blocks help maintain postures, making them more comfortable and allowing muscles to completely release. They also make Yin accessible to anyone, factoring out age, weight, flexibility, and previous yoga experience. At YogaFresh, the Yin crowd ranges from teen-aged to middle-aged, firm-bodied to heavier-set. As long as you’re willing to take the time to sit still, dig deep, and let go, Yin is the yoga for you.
WHAT TO KNOW: Bring water and a mat. Don’t eat anything too heavy before class. Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. Dress comfortably in loose-fitting clothes.
AMENITIES: Mats are available to rent for $1. Props are provided.
LOCATION: YogaFresh, 1125 Woodbury Dr., Woodbury, 651-436-5906, yoga-fresh.com
TIME: 60 minutes
DROP-IN RATE: $15 (first week of classes is free)
 

LET’S SWEAT

TYPE: Moksha Yoga 60-minute Class

WHO IT'S FOR: Anyone looking to sweat—a lot
WHAT TO EXPECT: During a Moksha yoga class, you’ll sweat more in an hour than you have in your life—and you’ll leave feeling invincible. The studio is simple and comfortable with a cork floor, mirrors along one wall, and radiant heat panels on the ceiling that warm the room to 105 degrees. But don’t be intimidated: dim lighting and a relaxed pace create a calm rather than overwhelming environment, and the warmth helps detoxify the body through—you guessed it—sweat. Every class follows a set of postures specifically designed for the heat, including a standing series, a floor series, and multiple Savasanas (resting poses). Another thing that sets Moksha apart from other studios? Teachers and students practice to benefit themselves and their communities, most notably by raising money for charities through weekly Karma classes. “When you strip it down,” says Ryann Doucette, co-owner of Moksha Yoga, “yoga is simply breathing and moving.” So what are you waiting for? You can breathe, you can move….
WHAT TO KNOW: Bring water, a mat, and two towels (one for your mat, one for you). Don’t eat anything heavy before class. Arrive 15 minutes early and dress light.
AMENITIES: Mats and towels are available to rent. Locker rooms with cubbies, showers, and grooming tools (hair-dryers, Q-tips,
lotion) are available.
LOCATION: Moksha Yoga, 3252-B W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-920-3004, mokshayogaminneapolis.com
TIME: 60 minutes
DROP-IN RATE: $17
 

NO PLACE LIKE OM

TYPE: Kundalini

WHO IT'S FOR: Anyone in search of meditation, their own “pocket of peace,” and an emotional and spiritual yoga experience minus the intense poses
WHAT TO EXPECT: Considered the mother of all yoga, Kundalini marries chanting and meditation with corresponding poses (called kriyas) in order to activate energy from each chakra, promoting healing and well being. According to YogaSoul owner Tarisa Parrish, practicing Kundalini will allow you to accomplish an intense amount of spiritual and physical work in just a year’s time, as compared to years or decades of other yoga practice—yet people of any experience or ability level can complete the class. Since each kriya is different, be prepared to practice just a few poses at a time (with little to no movement) as well as complementary breathing techniques. Classes are practiced almost entirely with closed eyes, begin and end with a chant, and include meditation time, during which Parrish plays the symphonic gong.
WHAT TO KNOW: Arrive early and come with an open mind. Avid practitioners often wear loose, all-white clothing with a white headpiece.
AMENITIES: Blankets and other props are provided as needed.
LOCATION: YogaSoul Center, 1121 Town Center Dr., Suite 100, Eagan, 651-452-5789, yogasoul-center.com
TIME: 60 minutes
DROP-IN RATE: $17 (first week of classes is free)
 

THE ABC’S

TYPE: Beginner’s Yoga

WHO IT'S FOR: Anyone looking to learn or revisit the basics
WHAT TO EXPECT: Before you can run, you must learn to walk. So it is with yoga. At Yoga Prairie’s beginner’s class, studio owner Karen Kinnard introduces new students to the postures essential to all yoga practices. Since classes are typically small, Kinnard is able to take the time to give one-on-one instruction, first demonstrating the poses herself then offering hands-on adjustments to ensure and explain proper alignment. The pace and focus of each class differs based on the students’ needs and ability levels, but the central goal remains the same: to give students the confidence and skills needed to move on to more advanced classes.
WHAT TO KNOW: Arrive 10 minutes early and dress comfortably in loose-fitting clothes.
AMENITIES: Mats available to use free-of-charge or to purchase.
LOCATION: Yoga Prairie, 8783 Columbine Rd., Eden Prairie, 952-944-6096, yogaprairie.com
TIME: 60 minutes
DROP-IN RATE: $15
 

GO WITH THE FLOW

TYPE: Heated Morning Vinyasa

WHO IT'S FOR: Early risers, or anyone who would like to be
WHAT TO EXPECT: Do sun salutations the way they were meant to be done—in unison with the sun as it streaks across the early-morning sky. You’ll even feel as though the sun’s rays are reaching you through
SIGH YOGA'S WINDOW: the room is heated, allowing you to detox and helping increase flexibility. Instructors also offer adjustments to maximize each posture. Vinyasa is all about syncing up the breath with postures and moving with grace. The main thing to remember is inhale up, exhale down. After targeting all the major muscle groups, you’ll leave class feeling detoxed and calm, armed with a day’s worth of focus and a cup of coffee’s worth of energy. You’ll also likely get a nice neck rub during Final Savasana, leaving you relaxed and ready to roll.
WHAT TO KNOW: Bring a mat, two towels (one for you and one for your mat), and water.
AMENITIES: Mat and towels are available to rent for $1 each. Locker rooms are outfitted with showers and organic personal-care products. Snacks and hot tea are provided. Retail area out front.
LOCATION: Sigh Yoga, 612 W. 54th St., Mpls., 612-824-1317, sighyoga.com
TIME: 60 minutes
DROP-IN RATE: $17
 


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