Before finding her calling as a yoga instructor, Sylvia taught biology, Earth science, and general science for more than 25 years. Throughout her years in the classroom, she practiced yoga as a way to calm her mind and balance her body. In 2005, she switched gears—she trained for more than 1,000 hours and earned her E-RYT 500 certification. She specializes in Kripalu-style mindfulness yoga, which emphasizes self-acceptance and consciousness of the interplay between life and yoga. Although she primarily teaches multi-level classes, some sessions, such as chair or adaptive yoga, are intentionally geared toward those with limited mobility. At the beginning of class, she occasionally reads inspirational passages or practices levitation.
The instructors at Bala train fledgling flexers in the flowing, powerful movements of the Baptiste style of Vinyasa yoga. The schedule doles out a daily helping of classes that cater to varied skill sets and areas of focus. A Power Yoga Basics class initiates beginners into the fundamental postures of the Baptiste system, with movements performed at a leisurely pace to ensure proper form and slow-motion replay. Students seeking to fully explore the passive power of Vinyasa are welcomed to partake in the meditation- and motion-focused Power Vinyasa class, and Slow Flow Restorative courses invite students to give into a relaxing series of poses designed to warm the body, open the joints, and prevent the body's molasses stores from hardening. Guests are welcome to rent mats and towels ($1 each) or purchase water bottles ($1), though self-furnished equipment is preferred.
An experienced team of soul-stretching yogis guides bodies into soothing formations with a seven-day schedule of various class styles for all skill levels. Newcomers can reach a state of tranquility typically reserved for Walt Whitman's pet dove during the Slow Flow class, which unites controlled breathing, proper alignment, and meditation techniques in a balanced trifecta of peaceful bliss. Ashtanga Blend sessions throw a spiritual curve ball to shake regular students out of their normal yoga routines, exploring different posture groups during a flowing one-hour practice. Advanced students in the Power Vinyasa class submerse themselves in a sultry labyrinth of creative, challenging techniques, for which strenuous exertion and high-energy muscle movements are the keys to survival. From the moment students arrive at the center’s colorful, gated garden, they can immediately hear the soft rippling of fairies holding hoop-dance classes.
Yoga SRQ's experienced instructors lead students through creatively sequenced poses with a packed schedule of Vinyasa Flow classes. Take limbs for a test run in a Vinyasa class, which focuses on proper alignment and mastering combinations of synchronized breathing and vigorous movements, or blend cardio and yoga in the one-hour Energy In Motion session, which pairs sweat and inner peace more effectively than meditating inside an active volcano. Students can also expand yogic horizons in one of Yoga SRQ's non-Vinyasa classes, or nix sneaky stressors with Gentle Energy Yoga's soothing Hatha poses.
Invented in 1999 by fitness instructor Tim Ganley, KaYoga combines two invigorating workouts with beautiful scenery and adventure. KaYoga students embark on a three-hour trip, starting when they slide into a Tim Ganley kayak, then paddle it from Ft. Desoto to one of the pristine nearby barrier islands for an hour of yoga on the beach, which is preferable to yoga in a tar pit. Called "an inspired fusion of pastimes" by the Times of London, KaYoga is as invigorating spiritually as it is physically. On the kayak journey, it's not unusual to encounter dolphins, an occasional manatee, other sea creatures, and celebrities who are preparing for their roles as talking kelp.