The body sculptors at Ananda Yoga mold pliable clients into muscle-stretching poses with a schedule of more than 15 weekly classes designed with all experience levels in mind. Rust-colored walls and warm wood floors welcome yogis to the serene studio, where the main room's maize-colored walls become doused in the light of sun as it peeks in to respond individually to each salutation. During hot Vinyasa classes, thermostats creep north of 85 degrees as students and teachers link advanced postures to the rhythm of their breath, detoxifying the body as they move seamlessly through seated poses, backbends, and inversions. Yoga neophytes will be more comfortable in temperate, down-tempo beginner classes built on foundations of proper technique and focus, while Intro to Hot Vinyasa bridges the gap between beginner and advanced levels with broken-down sequences interspersed with sun salutations, moon salutations, and kisses blown at clouds.
At Second Wind Yoga, students unroll their mats in a carpeted studio lit by soft lamps. Instructors walk them step by step through the poses and breath work of various styles, including Hatha, Vinyasa, and gentle yoga. They also offer chair yoga and hot yoga, whose high temperatures induce sweating to help flush out bodily toxins.
Jayan Schumer possesses an almost all-encompassing understanding of how the human body moves. An accomplished martial artist, swimmer, and conditioning coach, he always knew he'd spend his life in the world of health and fitness. After completing his BS in physical education at the University of Massachusetts, he found himself attracted to the bodily discipline reflected in the yogic arts. This curiosity led him to the Ananda Seva Mission in Santa Rosa, CA, where he studied the ins and outs of yoga therapy. His training also strengthened his powers of meditation, helping him master techniques found in the Zen, Vipassana, and Sahaj systems. Now a registered yoga therapist with more than 500 hours of dedicated training under his belt, he blends his understanding of exercise physiology and mental clarity into the classes at Jayadeva Yoga Schools.
Here, Jayan leads a 15-person team of instructors, who, like the director himself, bring a diverse background of movement and fitness to the studio. They each infuse their unique personality into the schedule of classes, which includes traditional yoga, Vinyasa, and fusions of yoga with Pilates and meditation. Students looking to get more involved can even take advantage of the school's teacher-training programs.
Previously known as Mama Nirvana, Nirvana Yoga brims with daily classes for all skill levels, including open yoga, power Vinyasa, and calming basic sessions ideal for brand-new yogis. In the recently remodeled Easthampton studio, owner Ruth Anne Lundeberg draws on her background as a dancer, devoted student of Theravada Buddhism, and yoga practitioner with three decades of experience under her belt to helm a staff of seasoned instructors. The staff imparts yogic skills with a focus on safety that earned the studio the Best Place for Yoga title in the Valley Advocate?s 2013 readers' poll.
At Bikram Yoga Northampton, commitment and focus supersede the search for absolute perfection. So long as you are doing your best, instructors Audrey Liley and Jessika Brandley ask for nothing more. As they lead their students through the 26 asanas—or postures—of Bikram yoga, they provide helpful insights regarding the significance of each. At some point, they’ll likely explain that this specific progression of postures is intended to stretch muscles and promote the flow of blood to the body’s vital organs. Held in a classroom that’s heated to 105 degrees, these yoga classes may also facilitate the breakdown of glucose, fatty acids, and accidentally swallowed ice cubes.