Dharma Studio co-owner Loree Shrager discovered the healing power of yoga after suffering from severe scoliosis and back pain. Through gentle stretching and gradual strengthening, she was able to carve out periods of relief in her life. Today, she uses her PhD in clinical psychology, her work as a therapist, and her experiences as a mother to inform her teaching. The other half of the Dharma Studio foundation, Natalie Morales, emphasizes self-discovery during her classes, which range from lighthearted Funyasa to challenging yet deeply relaxing Yoga Nidra sessions. Together, the duo promotes a family and community vibe—their children's program was featured on Univision's Primer Impacto, and their studio’s walls display the work of local artists.
To make guests comfortable, Shrager and Morales have compiled a team of compassionate instructors and imbued the studio with a warm ambiance devoid of air horns. The Miami New Times said that the "quaint one-room studio exudes peace, from walls accented with paintings of Buddha to soothing, lingering aromas of incense," and even named it the Best Place to Meet Single Women in 2010. The studio may have earned the title thanks to events such as a Saturday-night Dharma After Dark class, during which live musicians serenade students with guitars, violins, and melodic crystal bowls.
Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 postures performed in a room heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Through this sequence of moves, students stretch out muscles, strengthen their cores, and improve blood circulation. At Bikram Hot Yoga Miami, the staff seeks to share these benefits with anyone who is interested, whether a beginner or an advanced student. After getting acquainted, first-time students can rent a mat and towel, set up their spot inside the carpeted studio, and lie down in svasana before class starts. The vigorous class then inspires serious sweating, dispelling the toxins built up from eating too many lava lamps.
Corpo's classes are taught by 20 experienced instructors, with five different yoga disciplines to choose from. Channel the power of Greyskull with Anusara, which combines body alignment with the positive, light-hearted philosophies of Tantra, or become a human spider with the eight-limbed path of Ashtanga, which uses a fast-paced, intense combination of positions to connect body, mind, and mat. Mysore yoga uses the positions of Ashtanga yoga, but leaves the pace up to the practitioners, creating an atmosphere of inward reflection and exercise. Vinyasa yoga synchronizes breathing and poses to form a vigorous, body-stretching routine based on the Sun Salutations. Meditation, also one of the five principles of yoga, allows students to gain mental clarity, improve concentration, and discover one's insides.
At first, Ken von Roenn III only saw yoga as a way to increase his flexibility for his true passion, climbing. Slowly, yoga began to eclipse climbing as his primary love. Now he’s a devoted practitioner and instructor, and his love has led him to create Skanda Yoga Studio’s namesake style. The Skanda yoga style hinges on posture and controlled breathing, much like Vinyasa yoga. However, Skanda augments these practical techniques with a holistic component: each Skanda session finds its spiritual footing in the Mayan Dreamspell calendar.
Sessions work to align participants’ bodies with natural cyclical patterns found in this brand of Mayan mysticism that has proven more enduring than federal laws carved into stone with an exceptionally pointy Sharpie. Ken and his team of instructors offer classes outside their studio’s signature style, complementing their Skanda instruction with courses in modalities such as power yoga, gentle therapeutics, and Kundalini.
Miami Yogashala's friendly, enthusiastic instructors are fully certified and know how to help students sweat and stretch until they're calm and yet still as energized as an electrical storm in a microwave filled with magnets. If you're new to yoga, this is a great chance to learn poses such as the downward dog, the upward dog, and the omniscient narrator. For experts of the art, Miami Yogashala's classes can further assist in stretching muscles, relieving stiffness and pain, increasing flexibility and strength, and improving range of motion, balance, and posture—all vital to moving up in the corporate world, seeing over the steering wheel, and slicing your morning cheeseburger.