At Second Wind Yoga, students unroll their mats in a carpeted studio lit by soft lamps. Instructors walk them step by step through the poses and breath work of various styles, including Hatha, Vinyasa, and gentle yoga. They also offer chair yoga and hot yoga, whose high temperatures induce sweating to help flush out bodily toxins.
Quiet is the first stop on the road to inner peace, according to Ramona Crabtree-Falkner, owner of Ananda Center for Yoga and Massage, LLC. At her tranquil studio, clients engage in active modes of relaxation such as yoga and passive forms such as massage therapy and reiki. During private and group yoga instruction, students venture inward by pairing deep breathing and meditation with ancient poses that stretch and strengthen the body. One-on-one sessions propel yogis toward specific goals such as weight loss and injury recovery, and group classes build community while releasing recently acquired stress and eye rolls stored up since high school. Bodywork services spotlight therapies from around the world, including the long, gliding strokes of Swedish massage and the stretches and acupressure of Thai foot reflexology.
Previously known as Mama Nirvana, Nirvana Yoga brims with daily classes for all skill levels, including open yoga, power Vinyasa, and calming basic sessions ideal for brand-new yogis. In the recently remodeled Easthampton studio, owner Ruth Anne Lundeberg draws on her background as a dancer, devoted student of Theravada Buddhism, and yoga practitioner with three decades of experience under her belt to helm a staff of seasoned instructors. The staff imparts yogic skills with a focus on safety that earned the studio the Best Place for Yoga title in the _Valley Advocate_’s 2013 readers' poll.
At Bikram Yoga Northampton, commitment and focus supersede the search for absolute perfection. So long as you are doing your best, instructors Audrey Liley and Jessika Brandley ask for nothing more. As they lead their students through the 26 asanas—or postures—of Bikram yoga, they provide helpful insights regarding the significance of each. At some point, they’ll likely explain that this specific progression of postures is intended to stretch muscles and promote the flow of blood to the body’s vital organs. Held in a classroom that’s heated to 105 degrees, these yoga classes may also facilitate the breakdown of glucose, fatty acids, and accidentally swallowed ice cubes.