Dona Piza left her life as a New York stockbroker behind when she turned to yoga to rehab herself from a terrible car accident. On the first of the new millennium, she opened Prana Yoga in Miami, eager to impart the healing powers of the art to an area where yoga studios were a rare species. She says that the most fulfilling aspect of her job is observing how yoga transforms students mentally and physically, as was the case with a dear friend with cerebral palsy who—through regular practice of yoga—gained the ability to walk.
At her studio, she schedules more than 70 90-minute yoga classes per week for students of all skill levels, whether they are working through injuries or honing their practice. Inside the four spacious rooms, drenched in soft lavender hues, she and her experienced instructors lead a variety of yoga styles, mainly based in the Iyengar tradition, which focuses on achieving proper body alignment with the aid of props. They also lead serenity-enhancing meditation classes, vigorous core yoga, and relaxing candlelit sessions, which help students melt away the stresses of the day. During kids' classes, instructors teach yogis aged 4–9 basic poses using animal imagery and sounds, giving parents time to attend their own yoga classes or to secretly eat dessert before even making dinner.
Rina Jakubowicz has played the roles of yogi, author, and motivational speaker, leading to media appearances on Spanish television and the Discovery Channel Latin America, as well as in the Miami Herald. At Rina Yoga, she leads an expert team of extensively trained yoga instructors, who tap their expertise in a variety of yoga modalities to guide students toward holistic well-being in a noncompetitive environment. Each location's seven-day schedule accommodates pupils of all skill levels with sessions including beginner-friendly hatha classes, power yoga, traditional Vinyasa, and dharma yoga, which fuses poses old and new to focus on relaxation and meditation. The studio also conducts frequent events and meditation retreats that use chanting and sympathetic whispers to soothe wild spirit horses. Rina’s Book, Choose Peace, is also a large part of the studio’s curriculum and appears during seminar discussions that cover healthy lifestyle choices and a 15-step guide toward peaceful transformation.
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 and Kundalini.
Fitness industry veteran Dulcinea Lee Hellings's goal is to bring a high-quality, effective exercise regimen to people who don't love big gyms or can't afford personal trainers. In 2004, she realized that mornings could be used for more than hitting the snooze button over and over for two hours, and founded Boot Camp "Morning Crunch!" to help fledgling exercisers whip into shape.
She designs her all-levels programs to be scream-free morning motivators⎯the first stop in her patrons' journey of daily accomplishments. The fast-paced, ever-changing circuit of strength and cardio exercises keeps bodies guessing and minds from becoming bored. Each of the boot camp's 12 outdoor locations has a different dedicated trainer who gets to know each student personally, remembering their names and memorizing any interesting freckle patterns. They complement their morning routines with a smattering of evening options for those who prefer to work out after the day's activities.
Miami heat is one thing; Bikram yoga heat is another. For Bikram, the room temperature needs to be 105° Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity, making for a sweat-inducing session that’s sure to burn some calories. Bikram Hot Yoga Miami believes in the steamy practice and always keeps their thermostats cranked, using the heat to warm muscles so participants can stretch further, sweat out more toxins and let their blood circulate. A typical workout runs 90-minutes, with just about every muscle and joint getting a hearty workout inside this no-frills warehouse district space. Small cubbies hold personal belongings during class, and two showers let participants clean up after their warm sessions – though you should always bring your own towel and yoga mat.
With lots of windows bringing in natural light and amber-colored wooden flooring inside the studio, Corpo Yoga Studio screams relaxation. Or, rather, whispers it, with classes that emphasize both the physical aspects of regular yoga practice and its spiritual inner message. Under the direction of Cybele Chamas, the studio provides a wide selection of classes in different types of yoga as well as a yoga basics session for beginners. Regardless of which yoga style you profess to love, the studio’s emphasis is on its three basic components – poses, breathing exercises and meditation/relaxation, which are near-universal principles. Yoga classes run, 60, 75 or 90 minutes, though the studio does offer private sessions and special workshops and events.