You’ve heard all about the transformative qualities of yoga: increased flexibility, decreased stress and even alleviating minor back pain. But with the multiple studios in Gauteng and the myriad of types of yoga, it can be a bit daunting for newbies to choose the right one. So Benn van der Westhuizen has done the hard work, and compiled a list of our favourite yoga studios in Joburg.
All the studios listed below accommodate a wide variety of participants from advanced yogi veterans to beginners. So whichever stage you’re at in the practice, there’s a space for you. Drop-ins are encouraged in order to discover which yoga form suits your personality.
Below are a few pointers to avoid a fitness faux pas!
CLOTHING & GEAR:
– Generally speaking, both men and women should wear tight to slim-fitted tops, not only for safety purposes, but also for the practitioner to have a clear scope on your posture and alignment during practice. Hand towels are allowed if you sweat a lot.
– Most of the studios below offer yoga mat rentals which work well for both tourists and novices. We suggest buying your own mat only after you’ve tried a few yoga classes. Any other accessories (blocks, straps, etc.) are normally provided by the studio for use during sessions.
– Ideally your last meal should be at least two hours before a yoga session. Please also make sure you are well hydrated because the jury is still undecided on the idea of water bottles (some studios allow it, others don’t). If it’s an absolute necessity, do confirm with the instructor.
– Punctuality rules! Arrive 15 to 20 minutes ahead of time to mark a spot (no pun intended) where you feel most comfortable. The extra time will also give you an opportunity to introduce yourself to the instructor and discuss any injuries or concerns you may have.
– Switch your cellphone off. Message and incoming call ringtones can disrupt the mood of a class. If you’re the Hilaria Baldwin type who absolutely must get your yoga selfie game going, it’s best to check with the instructor whether it is allowed.
– Yoga is traditionally practised barefoot. Taking off your shoes and socks before you walk into the room is not only hygienic but also a form of respect for the art. However, times are changing and yoga socks are nowadays tolerated at most studios.
– Surrender your ego. This is fundamental to the essence of yoga, so Type A personalities be warned. Rather recognise your limits and never push or overextend your individual threshold. At first it will be impossible to perfect every pose, so pause or shift your focus on breathing patterns instead.
– Never leave in the middle of Savasana (corpse pose). Most yoga classes wrap up the session with the age-old pose in which you flat on your back, eyes closed, and experiencing complete relaxation. If you have to leave, do it before.
– ‘Namaste’ (pronounced nah-mas-tay) is a spiritual salutation. To conclude the class, your instructor will bow her head in prayer; clasp her hands together in front of her chest and say, ‘Namaste’. You’ll notice the class repeating it back as well. This Sanskrit word translates to “I honour you”.
Times: Morning and evening slots every Monday and Thursday for adults. Tuesday afternoons are reserved for kids.
The experience: Jivana Yoga Studio is a great place to escape the hectic world and immerse oneself in some yoga. Nestled in the scenic Carlswald Valley, Jivana Yoga Studio is not to be missed if you’re interested in the fundamentals of the much revered Iyengar style of yoga or just want to get a really solid, comprehensive full-body workout. Owner Carla De Gouveia’s warm and homely Joburg yoga studio boasts loads of natural light during day sessions, and atmospheric dimmed lighting for evening slots. De Gouveia’s personal journey to discovering this intricate yoga form serves as the blueprint for Jivana’s simple, practical and entirely unpretentious exercise approach. With her sessions she imparts a passionate wealth of knowledge detailing structured sessions for everyone from total beginners, to experienced yogis. She also places a lot of emphasis on individual progress and her classes are dynamic yet grounded enough to develop a deeper self-awareness. Also featuring on the line-up is her popular Kids Yoga. These adapted modules guide the young students to master crucial poses while getting a solid workout through imaginative stories, games, and play. Jivana’s broad appeal and philosophy seems straightforward: balance in all aspects of life, regardless of age or ability.
Added extras: Honing in on her knack with the younger generation, Jivana’s privately run Express!ons Centre offers a variety of exciting holiday programmes for the upcoming winter school holidays. Activities include yoga, performance and visual arts and personal wellness – an ideal set of life skills to guide children through self-discovery. The weekly Kids Club provides a progressive and holistic space for after care, supervised homework, extra murals and also homeschool facilitation during the day. Spaces are limited, so please enquire for available spots.
Website: www.jivana.co.za | Email: email@example.com | Tel: 082 402 8169
Times: The studio offers morning and evening classes from Tuesday to Thursday, and morning sessions on Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The experience: ‘Maitri’ is a Sanskrit motto which translates to ‘friendliness, kindness and compassion’, three doctrines which the team at this busy shala consistently strives for. Dedicated owners, Chantel Marais and Mel McIntyre’s studio proposes their own unique brand to combat stress and increase flexibility and strength. In addition to the two owners, there are 5 seasoned and passionate yogis who completed a minimum of 220 hours of tutelage to lead their respective sessions.
The studio is a peaceful little haven tucked away from the buzzing streets of Northcliff. Maitri’s open and serene space has an impressive and modernist colour scheme and an imposing artwork, making for a calming zen-like atmosphere. This Joburg yoga studio’s exercise schedule is stacked with enough diverse yoga forms, addressing the needs of an ever-changing and modern group of yoga enthusiasts of all fitness levels. Think an hour and a half-long session of Yin – the go-to yoga form for runners and cyclists – with an emphasis on tension release in overworked joints. Yin yoga may be regarded as the least popular yoga form, but its meditative qualities provide a much deeper understanding of the body. Or consider the highly accessible and energetic Open Vinyasa, ideal for overall body conditioning. Or how about a more dedicated and spiritual approach with Jivamukti yoga for a more organic sense of mindfulness? And in staying true to provide a varied set of yoga styles, Maitri regularly test the waters and challenge their students by introducing different yoga formats, just to keep their repertoire fresh.
Location: Illovo, Johannesburg
Times: Mostly morning sessions from Monday to Friday, and Sunday. An evening slot is offered every Monday.
The experience: Yoga Lova is found in an intimate, calm and friendly studio in the heart of Illovo. With its wooden floorboards and a delicate Japanese-style painting stretching across the wall, it’s a minimalist yet immensely elegant setting. Owner Nadine Hurwitzs’ loyal following will readily vouch for the results of her detailed and passionate sessions. Many can confirm that they leave feeling relaxed, revitalised and calm, with greater mental clarity and that unbeatable feeling you get after a thorough elimination of tension. Yoga Lova, like any of the top yoga studios in Joburg, ditches superficiality and instead aims to focus on something much more meaningful and more transformative. This shala’s line-up centres primarily on different variations of the air-based Vinyasa yoga form. Highlights include a Yoga Lova Alignment Masterclass led by Hurwitz, which is an intensive 90-minute session aimed to improve alignment, focus and understanding of the yoga asanas. A selection of props is employed to throughout the session in to amplify this rejuvenating module. Note that this class is exclusively open to women. For a more mixed direction, Steven Heyman, who many will have seen practicing yoga in various public spots in the city, presents the rejuvenating and inspirational Yoga Lova Flow. Heyman’s class seems the ideal antidote to combat that Monday blues while kick-starting a positive and energetic week with an invigorating fitness regime. With 5 talented and experienced teachers to choose from, Yoga Lova is an excellent option for those seeking a well-rounded and immersive yoga experience.
Added extras: Private consultations can be arranged to custom-design your practice to your skills and goals.
Website: www.yogalova.com | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: Contact Nadine on 082 771 6105
Location: Rosebank, Johannesburg
Times: A bulging roster of various morning, afternoon and evening sessions from Monday to Sunday
The experience: Yoga Warrior’s spacious and contemporary studio serves as the perfect platform to you both physically and mentally. Yogi Genna Pearson and her team focus on providing a high-quality and personalised yoga instruction to develop your practice, aid in injury rehabilitation, or just to help you find your zen zone. The studio’s fourteen rotational instructors assure that each of the stunning sessions boast with their own unique twist. Yoga Flow classes are the studio’s popular staple. These 75 minute sessions features Vinyasa yoga, and strives to provide you with good overall conditioning and enough time for restorative relaxation at the end. The Fundamental Yoga classes are also another good introduction to the basics if you are still new to the practice. For the complete novice intimidated by elaborate pretzel poses, the Yoga Warrior’s unique Beginner Series can be the ideal starting point. The workshop consists of five weekly classes tutoring with the basics of yoga and building up to a Full Flow class towards conclusion. Yoga Express is an hour-long session conducted at a moderate pace, but action-packed with all the crucial yoga principles. And for the more seasoned yogis hoping to add a twist to their workout, Yoga Warrior also offers a funky myriad of poses and intense abdominal work called Forrest Yoga. This contemporary doctrine, developed by American yogini Ana Forrest, is primarily based on Hatha yoga, and follows an intense and physically demanding exercise challenge suitable challenge for all levels.
The shala’s exciting and varied line-up promises to offer a wide selection of techniques to develop strength, improve focus, promote coordination and reduce stress. Plus, with the sheer number and variety of classes on the timetable, there is bound to be one to suit you. If not, you can always opt for a more tailor-made experience with the private or small group lessons. All good for the journey on the path to inner peace.
Added extras: The studio is also somewhat known for their family friendly ventures such as Pregnancy Yoga classes and post-partum sessions designed for moms and babies, Mommy & Toddler classes for 3-year olds, Kids Yoga classes for kids 4 years and up, and special event Parent-and-Child play dates for 4-8 year olds. The more dedicated Sport Yoga workshops centres on teaching key poses to address specific sports-related ailments and to counteract the effects of overworked muscles.
Website: www.yogawarrior.co.za | Email: email@example.com | Tel: Contact Genna on 082 559 6713
Location: Northriding, Johannesburg
Times: Advanced booking of at least two hours is encouraged due to the limited hammocks. Two evening sessions are offered on Tuesday and Thursday, with a morning session on Sunday.
The experience: Julie Fowler’s yoga studio takes Vinyasa Flow to a whole new dimension. If you’ve ever found yourself cocooned in a hammock, you may not have been aware that this comfortable position can also serve as a pretext for yoga! That calming sense of sanctuary may be inviting enough, but to be able to reap health benefits from it is even more of an incentive to try Aerial Yoga.
Fowler is trained and accredited by the Aerial Yoga Academy in New York to direct this new form which boasts an impressive list of benefits. Indeed, Aerial Yoga Johannesburg is one of the few certified aerial yoga studio in South Africa. It can alleviate back pain, increase brain function, and prevent bulging discs. The setup is simple and straightforward: 15 low-lying and brightly coloured hammocks suspended from the ceiling to hip height, one spacious and air-conditioned studio, a seasoned yogi, and a vast variety of exercising styles renders Aerial Yoga energising and lots of fun. Fowler follows a slow and flowing command with simple poses such as the lengthening of the body, which strives to improve alignment and decompress your spine. Aerial Yoga is essentially designed for most levels of fitness, but slight tweaks are provided to accommodate different levels of strength and flexibility. Each class ends with a memorable few minutes of Savasana where you find yourself completely nestled inside your hammock.
Added extras: Aerial Yoga will also present Restore & Renew on 7 July 2017. This special workshop will merge Yin and Restorative yoga methods to challenge the body and mind at a much deeper level. Space is limited, so please book in advance.
Website: www.aerialyoga,co.za | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: Contact Julie on 072 199 3133
Location: Bryanston, Johannesburg
Times: Morning and evening sessions Monday to Sunday. NB Monday and Saturday sessions are by invitation only.
The experience: Owner of Yoga Renew, qualified Iyengar yoga tutor Rhé Wessels started the studio in 2006, since when she has become renowned for her clarity in teaching and her willingness to adapt in order to nurture the flexibility, strength, and inner tranquility of her students. With 16 years of yoga experience under her belt, Wessels’ tutelage serves as the ideal resource to achieve ultimate and overall body conditioning. Yoga Renew’s studio setting is a tastefully tight-knitted space with glass and wood accents, overlooking a serene garden. Bypassing the blight of the mass appeal shalas, Yoga Renew keeps a deliberately simple schedule and takes things back to basics by focusing exclusively on the art of Iyengar form. Wessels’ airy studio is just the right size to offer personalised support throughout sessions while students can enjoy their yoga journey at their own pace. What is abundantly clear is the close-knit community approach with her students. But the emphasis on individual flexibility and strength, both internal and physical, does not diminish. Her aim is to allow students to get the most out of the allocated time with a holistic and balanced approach, and emphasis on individual flexibility and strength, both internal and physical. When attending a class, students are guaranteed to receive a demanding full-body workout to help deepen, strengthen and progress their individual yoga practice. Slightly daunting? Perhaps, but it is well worth the challenge.
Location: Kyalami, Midrand
Times: Morning and evening sessions, Monday to Sunday.
The experience: Started by Namibian-born Izelle Nair and her husband, Malcolm, Earth Yoga isn’t your average yoga studio. In fact, it’s one of the very few top yoga studios in Joburg to offer a selection of classes aimed to aid both mind and body. This shala opts for a more eclectic décor, amplified with some raw industrial traces and some dashes of lime green, a colour associated with new beginnings, symbolising clarity and powers of manifestation. A varied range of yoga forms are available, including Gentle Flow, Hatha, Vinyasa, and Yin yoga. Nair, supported by Dave Gardner and Stephanie De Beer, also offers some fairly exclusive Budokon yoga. This relatively new doctrine merges the traditional mind-and-body equilibrium of yoga and martial arts to achieve a transformative regime which furthers conditioning, mindful meditation and a full-body workout. Earth Yoga also offers Private and Corporate yoga slots. With the Pregnancy Yoga sessions, all trimesters are welcome and no previous yoga experience is required. And their Kids Yoga with Tamlyn Cohen incorporates a sense of play while focusing on a few yoga fundamentals. For a greater sense of Mindfulness and to attune with your inner self, Ferdi Lourens’ Sunday meditation session is the perfect way to conclude a hectic week and prepare for a fulfilling one ahead. And if that’s not enough, this innovative shala also gives Discovery Vitality members the opportunity to log their yoga sessions.
Added extras: Aptly titled ‘Sky Yoga’, Earth Yoga offers a fun hammock-style yoga regimen to aid alignment and maintain balance, along with a host of other benefits. The shala is also hosting a ‘Begin Yoga’ weekend on 22 & 23 July 2017 for those who are curious to try yoga, but may find it intimidating. This two day session will cover all the basics such as Sun Salutations, Standing Poses, Twists, and Meditation, with an emphasis on Core Strengthening. To celebrate their fifth year on the scene, Earth Yoga is hosting the Yo Glo Party on 30 June 2017 which will include glow-sticks, a vegan dinner, and some bouncing beats. Advance booking is essential.
Website: www.earthyogastudio.co.za | Email: email@example.com | Tel: Contact Izelle on 071 361 8656
Location: Emmarentia, Randburg
Times: Morning and evening sessions, Monday to Saturday.
The experience: Yogi Kelly Botes is evidently cut from the extremely disciplined Ashtanga cloth. Her morning time slots are geared to demand the highest order of dedication by kicking off as early as 5.30am. The studio hosts a separate, faster-paced Ashtanga regimen aimed at beginners, just to make sure all groups are on the same wavelength. Botes is aided by Zara Said, an experienced yogi with an immense and diverse sport variety under her belt. Said’s sessions apply a distinct health, well-being and athleticism approach onto the traditional yoga experience for a captivating and encompassing session.
With the shala located in a spacious and airy environment, this Joburg studio’s trump card is the expansive mirror sweeping from wall to wall which allows Botes’ ever-roving eye to pay close attention while her students are busy practicing. In addition to Ashtanga, The Art of Movement also offers gentle Hatha with a more slow release of poses, and moderately-paced Vinyasa with an emphasis on breathing patterns. If you prefer something a bit more chilled, there’s also the Restorative Yin class, which incorporates a healing and energising style of yoga. From basic postures and breathing techniques to mastering self-awareness and exercising yoga philosophies in daily life, you’ll find a complete and holistic spiritual yoga experience for beginners and expert yogis at The Art of Movement.
Added extras: This unique yoga studio also serves as a thriving dance school, with expert lessons aimed at both adult and children. What better way to put into action your new intuitive yoga fitness.
Website: www.theartofmovementsa.com | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: Contact Kelly on 011 486 0638