It takes plenty of dedication just to stay in the 105-degree studio for 90 minutes at a time, which is what many of Pure Yoga Austin's students do multiple times a week. Mardy Chen followed her own devotion to the practice to open Pure Yoga Austin with help from her husband and co-director, Jeff Chen. Their team of certified Bikram Yoga instructors share the sweaty yoga style that has been known to help students of all fitness levels achieve leaner physiques, improved athletic performance, and greater mental clarity. The signature Bikram sequence of 26 postures help students develop strength, improve flexibility, and attain the heat endurance necessary to succeed at spelling bees held in saunas.
At Dharma Yoga?s recently erected, 2,400-square-foot studio, flickering candlelight gives the earth-tone hues and gleaming hardwood floors an inviting glow. Like stumbling into a lounge-singer convention, the studio?s comforting vibes relax the mind with calming music as the band of certified instructors gently guides students of all experience levels through a series of healing physical postures. Though classes vary in style?ranging from vigorous early-bird Vinyasa flow to relaxing end-of-day Dharma nightcaps?each session explores traditional Indian yoga and Buddhist practices, referring to itself as an "awareness-based mindfulness and relaxation practice." Between the original Dharma Yoga and the new Dharma Yoga East Side, students can choose from 50 weekly classes, held throughout the day.
In the course of more than a decade of teaching and practicing yoga, Dharma Yoga founder Keith Kachtick, an Austin native, has served as the senior instructor with the Lineage Project, a nonprofit that offers meditation and yoga practice to prisoners in the New York City area. Keith has also contributed his yogic philosophies to publications such as Yoga Journal, Newsweek, and the New York Times. His codirector, Camilla, has a master?s degree in social work and a background as a clinical therapist. These experiences fuel her nurturing teaching style, especially in yoga-therapy sessions, which are designed to help to release physical, emotional, and mental tension.
At River Place Country Club, a championship golf course designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Kite, winner of the 1992 U.S. Open, invites golfers to launch balls over sand bunkers and twisting creeks that wend their way through the landscape’s hilly contours. The course’s superintendent draws on experience at Baton Rouge Country Club and Colonial Country Club, as well as a degree in Plant and Soil Systems, as he ensures that the greens and rolling Bermuda grass fairways are more carefully manicured than a prize-winning pet wooly mammoth. The course’s PGA professional instructors are on hand to improve individual games, and a driving range lets players practice at 15 hitting stations.
Adjacent to the course, eight lighted tennis courts abut a 40,000-square-foot clubhouse with an outdoor pool, fully equipped fitness center, and locker rooms whose dry saunas and whirlpools melt tension quicker than butter melts on the calves of a sprinter. The Grille invites clubgoers to sup on steak or seafood, and a pair of outdoor decks let guests drink in scenic views.
Course at a Glance:
Under the studio's 24-foot ceilings, students cycle through 26 poses during 90-minute heated Bikram classes. More than 50 classes a week are taught by passionate instructors, and childcare services are offered four day a week to keep kids under 12 occupied while their parents twist atop mats. On Sundays, tots can strike poses of their own in the Youth Yoga classes.
The 5,500-square-foot space also houses a yoga competition team, a meditation class, and a boutique, all of which encourage enthusiastic practitioners to integrate yoga into their off-the-mat lives. In addition, massage therapists stand by to perform Swedish, deep-tissue, and sports massages as well as shiatsu sessions to help ease aches and pains, which could have been caused by commuting to work via clown car.
At Sunstone Yoga, students radiate calm and self-awareness as they practice ancient poses designed to stretch, strengthen, and purify the body. Instructors complete 500 hours of training in yogic techniques, teaching, and physiology before leading classes, so they can hand out researched, tested tips on safety and alignment. Most classes come in 30-, 60-, and 90-minute varieties and focus on energy or restorative relaxation. A two-class introductory series welcomes beginners with basic standing poses, and the popular fire series explores up to 34 poses in a 99-degree room that loosens muscles to facilitate deeper stretches as it ousts toxins. Filled with soothing music and 90-degree temperatures, the water series cultivates more serenity than getting a massage from a singing whale.
Dappled light plays over the sleek 3,500-square-foot fitness studio, illuminating cardio and weight machines as guests toil alongside their attentive trainers. Verdant foliage sways in the breeze just outside the floor-to-ceiling windows that ring around the gym. Patrons torch calories and chisel physiques on new equipment, and a variety of classes, massage services, and dietary counseling keeps members relaxed and healthy in and out of the gym. Groups can also mosey outdoors for one-hour group fitness classes that tone muscles under the lush canopy of tree cover shading the deck. Pilates and yoga strengthen and lengthen muscles, and Zumba and Power Dance classes liquidate loitering fat reserves with high-energy cardio workouts set to lively soundtracks.