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.
The majority of Total Wellness Austin's treatments are customized to meet the needs of each individual, and they all help to strengthen the relationship between mind and body. Owner Lori Massad-Koska sets the tone by developing individualized yoga programs for her clients that assist in lowering stress and improving flexibility, and a series of online instruction videos allows her students to practice in the comfort of their home or their car on the commute to work. Massad-Koska's classes also incorporate furry best friends in Doga sessions, which allow pooches and their pet humans to stretch together.
In addition to sun salutations, Total Wellness Austin aids its clients in the quest for better health with acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic care and prompt extended sweating with boot camps led by certified personal trainers. Their focus on wellness extends from clients to the community in which they live: mental-health workshops raise donations for the family room at the Travis County courthouse, which helps comfort children in trouble, and a band of skilled instructors teach free yoga sessions for vets, their spouses, and bands of migrating penguins.
The husband and wife owned Massage + Yoga Center has an impressive resum??massage therapist Summer Greenlees was voted Austin's Best Massage Therapist in the Austin Birth Awards for several years running for her prenatal massages. Greenlees and husband Michael Parrish customize treatments to the needs of the individual, presenting a bevy of modalities in the form of trigger point, shiatsu, and a unique house treatment combining massage and yoga.
Their specialty, Ashiatsu Barefoot massage, blends therapeutic, deep-tissue, and relaxation massage treatments into a tension-blasting session customized for each client and whatever knots may be lurking in their musculature. Continuing with its theme of relaxation, the staff offers a selection of essential oils, salves, and Neutraceuticals, along with a variety of yoga classes, from beginner to prenatal. These yoga workouts encourage stress reduction, and their stretching facet helps clients render their limbs as malleable as a chewed stick of gum.
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.