Some believe that you must leave home before you can truly find yourself. The teachers at Yoga House Houston didn't just leave their homes to find themselves—they left their native country, traveling across the globe to India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Jamaica to learn, practice, and master the ancient art of yoga. They impart the wisdom they've gleaned from their journeys within a building whose exterior resembles the clay walls of a Spanish mission. Atop dark hardwood floors, they lead students through Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, hot yoga, and spine-aligning Kemetic yoga, aiming to help yogis sculpt long, lean muscles, improve endurance, and calm fidgety spirit animals.
For more than 35 years, The Yoga Institute has been educating and enlivening its members through the exploratory practice of yoga. Classes help quiet the mind and loosen the body as students delve deeper into an eclectic blend of Vinyasa, Ashtanga-based, and Jivamukti-infused classes. Mix It Up classes take a different focus each week, including poses that use a wall and partner poses. Early-morning classes wake up the body with fluid movements, whereas advanced classes challenge students with rigorous inversions, arm balances, and backbends. Instructors pay special attention to proper alignment, offering adjustments to deepen a student’s physical practice and accompanying mental release.
Barefoot students sway to the music, moving their arms rhythmically, punctuating the flow every so often with martial-arts-style punches and kicks across the sprung wood floor. The low-impact, low-pressure practice nourishes the body, mind, and spirit alike—as co-owner Helen Tracy told Great Day Houston, “I fell in love with my body through Nia.” The instructors at NiaMoves specialize in Nia’s aerobic workouts, in addition to an eclectic assortment of other group fitness classes. The instructors lead students in everything from body-stretching and mind-calming yoga sessions to aerobic hoop-dance workouts. Many of the classes are holistically refreshing, including the healing drum-and-dance-circle sessions, which begin with a tension-relieving meditation session. Instructor Emilia then leads students in expressing themselves through movement and thumping drum beats, both of which are effective during most job interviews.
Joy Yoga Center's instructors guide students through Vinyasa-style flowing yoga sessions that focus on strengthening bodies and clearing minds. The team of 12 instructors holds classes seven days a week for students of all skill levels, including regular sessions tailored for runners and early-morning risers.
In addition to being the owner of Pure Body Studio, Heather Erdmann is a self-proclaimed "body mechanics problem solver." The designation is more than just a clever reference to the fact that torsos look like sideways minus signs—Erdmann studied physical therapy and body work, then began applying her knowledge to Pilates and Safe Spine techniques. The result: she helps her clients improve their posture, recover from injuries, and reduce chronic pain, all while boosting their overall physical condition.
Jennifer Buergermeister is very flexible. She not only moves from job to job—she's an entrepreneur, independent filmmaker, spiritual healer, and app designer—but also from pose to pose while teaching yoga. She has created two yoga DVDs and has a third coming out in November. She's also the owner of Jennyoga, where she works with a deep bench of fellow yoga teachers, offering a variety of classes for all levels. These include Sunrise and Awakening, Hatha Flow, and Deep Relaxation and Restorative yoga classes.
The team at Jennyoga strives to make coming to the studio easy. They built a Jennyoga app for mobile devices that allows students to schedule classes on the fly. And they run an in-house store, where visitors can pick up any yoga gear they might need before heading into one of the studios. They even made a short film to inspire attendance, a sort of narrative commercial about the beneficial effects of yoga in our noisy, modern world where neighbors rev motorcycle engines and fire alarms scream in delight whenever you get home.