Before heeding the call to a life as a certified yoga instructor, Diana Roehl helped companies to cultivate corporate talent as a human-resources specialist. Now she helps individuals to discover the strengths that lie within. Roehl steers students toward these revelations with Hatha yoga, whose deep breaths and focused poses center the mind as they fortify the muscles. Natural light and calming blue walls envelop group classes at her studio, casting a soothing glow on shiny wooden floorboards where students practice shoulder stands and bridges. Roehl also brings her yoga teachings to local offices, showing employees how to dislodge stress and impossibly jammed printer paper with graceful movements and powerful exhalations. Between classes, she leads Thai bodywork sessions, which combine acupressure and ayurvedic medicine through assisted yoga poses.
When owner Jen Chitwood entered her first yoga class in 2002, she was amazed by the mental, physical, and emotional exertion she experienced in just a single hour. The positive benefits of yoga, including stress relief and a positive attitude adjustment, spilled into the rest of her life and relationships almost immediately, leading her to eventually realize that yoga was her life’s passion.This realization led her to study and, in time, come to own her own studio. Now, she leads a team of experienced instructors who dedicate their yogic pedagogy to students of any skill level, leading them through Vinyasa-style yoga and guiding them with individualized adjustments. They also hold prenatal yoga classes, private lessons, workshops with national teachers, and teacher trainings for those wanting to dive deeper on the yogic path. Additionally, the studio’s knowledgeable nutritionist works with individuals or groups to help them exercise good decision making and portion control when they’re lounging at home, working at the office, or vacationing at their timeshares in Candy Land.
Uptown Yoga is dedicated to creating a positive change in the world at large. Jen Chitwood cofounded One Love Dallas, a local branch of the charity Off the Mat, Into the World, which inspires conscious, sustainable activism and grassroots social change within communities around the world.
Tucked away from life's daily barrage of appointments, meetings, and expectations, Dallas Yoga Center provides a tranquil haven for self-discovery and the mental truces that achieve inner peace. An arched Indian doorway marks the threshold between the outside world and the refuge of the 8,000-sq.-ft. facility, which houses four spacious, naturally lit studios.
Inside, instructors lead groups through more than 65 classes per week, which focus on a variety of yoga styles. During the studio's Beginners Yoga classes, aspiring yogis learn the basic motions and breathing techniques that serve as the jumping-off point for their yogic journeys. From there, they can explore the gentle calmness of Yin Yoga, the intense exertion of a hot Ashtanga Yoga class set at 85 degrees, the prop-aided poses of Iyengar Yoga, or the ab-toning workouts of Yoga Core. They can also take part in t'ai chi sessions that leave minds spry and energies recentered. After class, students can propel their practices forward by stocking up on the center's selection of yoga clothes, jewelry, props, accessories, and DVDs. For those seeking even deeper enlightenment, the center also sponsors yoga teacher training, and even arranges retreats to India, where students study ayurveda and yoga straight from the source.
When Karen and David first met at the Bikram College of India in Los Angeles, they could barely believe that they had grown up within spitting distance of one another in their hometown of Houston, Texas. Through their intense nine-week, 500 hours of training, they grew closer, swapping stories about the unfulfilling corporate lives they had left behind. It wasn't until David returned to Texas and Karen to Portland that they realized they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. After Karen returned to her home state to be with David, the pair embarked on the biggest adventure of their lives: scouring the earth for scissors big enough to cut the grand-opening ribbon to Bikram Yoga Dallas in tandem.
The duo outfitted their spacious 2,300-square-foot sanctuary with soft, eco-friendly flooring and gigantic windows that flood the heated studio with sunlight. They corralled a troupe of passionate, Bikram-certified instructors to help lead the 90-minute classes that strengthen students with 26 postures. To keep the space community-oriented, Karen and David offer special events such as new student orientations, posture workshops, yoga challenges and celebration parties.
Karmany Yoga's two studio locations, 14 instructors, and seven days a week of class are impressive, but the numbers alone didn't earn it D magazine's award for Best Yoga Studio. That honor belongs to the teachers' passion. They all came to yoga from diverse backgrounds, having worked as fashion-magazine editors, full-time moms, or high-school band conductors. As different as their outside interests are, they share one main quality—a great drive to aid others in discovering the balance that yoga helped bring to their lives.
They teach three primary forms of class. Slow flow gently coaxes the body toward greater feats of flexibility. Power flow, taught in the style of Baron Baptiste, challenges athleticism with a much faster-paced series, best performed in a movie montage leading up to an incredible victory that defies all odds. They also teach traditional Iyengar yoga, a style that almost exclusively focuses on perfecting the alignment of postures and bringing health to the skeletal and muscular systems.
"Our brain is designed to realize what we wish, without any minor errors," says Dahn Yoga founder Ilchi Lee. "If you want success, it will create success. If you want happiness or health, it will create them. Anything is possible, as long as negative thoughts and emotions don't interfere."
To make this challenging, yet hopeful, philosophy accessible to all, Lee combined the Eastern concept of chi energy with his own brain-management system, developing a distinctive program that unlocks inner peace and sweeps up brain clutter caused by the daily stress of always having to find Waldo. This focus, shared by Body & Brain Holistic Yoga and The Life Yoga, forms the basis of the studio's classes and consultations. Warm-up yoga maneuvers awaken muscles before 30?40 minutes of breathing, stretching, core practice, and meditation?including a signature brain-wave vibration technique that aims to calibrate mental and physical energies. Cooldown exercises ease the body back into quotidian functionality before a 10-minute teatime invites socialization among participants while bolstering pinkie endurance.