One has been a martial artist for more than 35 years; the other has been a bus driver for almost as long. Instructors at Lakeview Yoga and Wellness Center, Vidal Bitton and Joyce MacFarlane know what it's like to balance a busy schedule with the demands of staying healthy. Vidal's approach to yoga incorporates his knowledge of tae kwon do, hapkido, and tai chi, especially as to how physical exertion can lead to painful injury. Joyce also practices yoga with a mind toward healing—her years behind the wheel of a school bus have resulted in several spinal injuries. By juggling a demanding job that can take physical tolls, Joyce's empathy and spirit shine through in each class she teaches.
Along with the other instructors, Vidal and Joyce bring their distinct backgrounds to hot and power yoga classes that strengthen muscles and boost flexibility. The mind and spirit are considered just as vital; on-staff wellness practitioners augment the effects of yoga with services such as massage, acupuncture, personal training, and therapy.
A former Zen Buddhist monk, Yoon opened his first yoga studio in South Korea, where he gained attention on a national TV documentary. After successfully launching this first studio and teaching yoga and meditation at retreats in South Korea and the United States, he founded Yoon's Yoga Bliss, where he brings his years of monastery and yoga experience to each class. In Korean, Yoon means happiness, and that's exactly what he strives for in each class—to help each student feel and share happiness through continuous awareness of movement, breathing, and golden retrievers. Whether teaching rigorous Vinyasa classes or gentle Hatha sessions, Yoon guides students through poses that strengthen and stretch the body.
Heat radiates throughout The SweatBox's studio as instructors lead students through Bikram yoga’s 26 postures and two breathing techniques. Starting with a lung-expanding breathing exercise, the instructors guide yogis in a sequence of postures designed to stretch and strengthen every muscle group. The heat, kept around 105 degrees, warms the body and loosens the ligaments, enabling guests to sink deeper into stretches, release toxins via sweat, and shake off mini snowmen seeking refuge behind their ears. The SweatBox spans across two locations and hosts various events including posture-practice sessions, and kids’ yoga.
Though Fusion Hot Yoga's philosophy emphasizes the release of the ego, it's hard not to feel special in Fusion’s heated studio. The instructors—each of whom brings a different teaching style to classes—dole out personalized tips during Hatha and power Vinyasa sessions. They also remain after class, answering students’ questions while they extinguish the coals within the walls. By helping every visitor to discover the mental and physical benefits of hot yoga, the staff recalls their own journeys from such backgrounds as competitive gymnastics and service in the Navy Reserve.
In addition to the quality of its teachers, the studio's setting also probably contributed to its ranking on KING5’s Best of Western Washington list, where it was voted second of 96 nominees for the area's Best Yoga Studio. The space's antibacterial, Tatami-textured floor cushions feet to counteract slipping, and dressing rooms with showers permit guests to rinse off after lessons. At the onsite boutique, shoppers can purchase mats, healthy refreshments, and baking thermometers that tell them when their partner is ready to cool.
IncludeYoga has a lot on its schedule; luckily, the options are easy to navigate as the classes are divided into different levels. Brand-new students can begin with an eight-week introductory series before pursuing back-bends, arm balancing, and inversions in the advanced levels. There are other programs designed for a diverse range of students, accommodating for varying ages, fitness levels, and stages in life. There are early-morning and late-evening classes for commuters, Family Friday sessions that are kid-friendly, and specialized studies such as karunta rope work and chair yoga. In addition, there are classes specializing on rehabilitation, recovery, grief, and loss. Despite having the schedule of a larger studio, IncludeYoga prides itself on being smaller, which means students get more individual attention.
Aside from teaching yoga, Include Yoga's instructor Cecilia Boehme is certified to teach Zumba, Zumba Gold, Zumba Step, and Tai Chi for Better Balance.
Beginner, intermediate, and advanced exercisers will all find a challenge at Exhale! Pilates & Yoga. Instructors with high-level certifications lead sessions that include cardio karate, slow-flow yoga, and TRX, a class in which dangling straps hold students’ limbs or suctioned tentacles in order to increase the level of resistance training. The instructors also specialize in Pilates lessons, which they provide to solo students, duos, and groups. Pilates has been known to boost energy and coordination, straighten posture, and calm the mind.