Lauded by reporters from Tropolism as "the coolest yoga studio of all time," and available for rental for private events, Yoga Deva was designed by Phoenix-based architects Blank Studio to serve as a calming sanctuary from the zooming cars and bustling sidewalks of the outside world. Long, walnut benches and a radiant-blue wall greet visitors in the front lobby, drawing them toward a sunlit yoga room with towering mirrors and white, wavy ceilings.
Serenity and balance in the studio is a must for owner, Davis, who aims to deepen the mind-body awareness of all who enter. At the studio, she uses all natural modern technology to promote pain relief and anti-aging benefits. After sustaining numerous injuries during her two-decade career as a professional ballet dancer, Davis found relief through inner reflection, which she harnessed during her time as a body-centered psychotherapist, and movement. Today, she channels her love of meditation and physical action into yoga, helming a team of certified instructors who lead classes in a variety of styles ranging from Vinyasa flow to Yin yoga. Sessions cater to students of all levels and can be modified to personally cater to clients. During each session, they guide students through poses and stretches designed to soothe the mind, heal the body, and enhance flexibility. The instructors strive to create a sanctuary of silence in the yoga room, requesting that guests leave all cellphones, pagers, and singing animatronic trout in the dressing room. In addition to yoga, Yoga Deva also offers therapeutic massage therapy to ease minds and sore muscles.
As a 23-year-old junior, Tom Hatten didn’t spend his evenings at the raucous parties or ice-cream socials associated with college life. Instead, he’d spend the waning hours of his evenings waiting by the dryer for the last batch of towels before collapsing into bed. In the morning, he would lug them to Mountainside Fitness, the gym he opened as a student that he has thrown all his energy into maintaining ever since.
Today, the humble 4,800-square-foot space has bloomed into nine gyms that average a sweeping 41,000 square feet. Tom’s vision of creating a friendly neighborhood gym that greets each guest with a warm towel underscores every decision he makes for the different locations, from the colorful kid-care spaces to the entertaining group fitness classes. Personal trainers plan regimens tailored to each client, helping them lose weight, build muscle, or target the muscles that will help build a better golf game. Clients can create their own routines with the help of cardio and weight machines, or explore the different amenities at each location, such as saunas, rock-climbing walls, and indoor basketball courts.
After studying under Bikram Choudhury, the father of Bikram yoga, Sumit Banerjee decided to bring the heat to his own class style—an amalgam of Bikram- and Ashtanga-inspired postures. The Sumits Yoga signature class steers students through deep stretches performed in a toasty studio. Aided by the heat, these movements help students hone both balance and strength.
Though Sumit champions the physical benefits of the practice—muscle toning, detoxification, and the ability to someday fry an egg on one's forehead—the true object of his style is “the simple pleasure and self-reward that comes from quieting our minds." To honor this, he emphasizes introspection and spiritual awareness over perfect technique, allowing guests of any experience level to participate. Kids' yoga is also available.
At Inner Vision Yoga, yoga isn't just a form of exercise, it's a lifestyle. The company hosts more than 100 classes a week across two locations, with a style?hot, vinyasa, yin, kundalini?to suit any type of yoga devotee. What's more, the classes are divided into four tiers, ranging from "soothing and powerful" to "it's a workout", so newcomers can easily identify classes that will help them build a foundation for future practice. The center even offers a kids' yoga class where students ages 5-12 can strengthen their imaginations, as well as their bodies.
In addition to classes, Inner Vision Yoga educates the next generation of yogis through teacher-certification programs. The calendar of events also includes week-long yoga retreats, which are packed with activities and workshops and held at exotic locations such as Japan, the Caribbean, and the primate enclosure at the local zoo.
Though they come from very different backgrounds, the instructors at Joyful Yoga Studio all share one common link: they genuinely love what they do. Inside the 3,000-square-foot studio, they share that collective passion as they lead more than 50 classes per week. Many of those classes are branches of yoga, but the schedule also features Pilates, Zumba, TRX, and an indoor fit camp. With such diversity, newcomers might not know which class suits their needs. But, luckily, exercisers can confide in the studio's staff to help them identify which classes are best for losing weight, which are ideal for gaining strength, and which look most impressive on an online dating profile.
As part of the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, a private college that educates holistic healthcare providers, Spirit of Yoga focuses on self-restoration and self-empowerment. The classes here range from traditional Vinyasa yoga, which combines poses into a continuous flow, to more creative sessions on a “yoga wall”. But all emphasize more spiritual practices, focusing on movements and breath work that provide therapeutic benefits. Meditation is offered as part of many of the sessions. That’s not to say Spirit of Yoga doesn’t have fitness-oriented classes as well; if you want to get your heart rate up, take Hatha Tone, which uses body weight training techniques for a muscle toning workout.
The schedule here is accommodating, covering a variety of disciplines and skill levels. All classes are drop-in, though some request reservations. Check out the Soy Shop while you’re in the studio if you want to pick up some yoga-related gear, books, or jewelry.