Helmed by Gloria and Carlos Ruiz, Suntouch Yoga’s fleet of expert instructors lead students through yoga classes aided by far infrared heating. Toes seek purchase on the antibacterial floors as fingers reach up to the ceiling during a variety of pose-centric sessions tailored to accommodate various experience levels. The centered team lead less experienced students through gentle stretching sessions during cool or warm classes, and guide more advanced participants through challenging poses within hotter temperatures that foster deep stretches and detoxification. They also offer intensive workshops that cover a breadth of topics, as well as therapeutic massage.
Michele Stamos believes yoga and Pilates are two peas in a pod, a very, very fit pea pod. She started Happy Belly Studios to combine the two forms of exercise with her own light-hearted take on fitness. She and her staff greet students at the front door with "happy jelly bellies" and a smile, but once inside one of the two studio spaces, they get serious. In Studio A, instructors lead groups through Hatha and Baptiste Power Vinyasa yoga—a highly aerobic form of stretching—as well as Piloxing and Pilates barre classes. They host private Pilates lessons in Studio B, training clients how to use advanced equipment such as reformers, Wunda chairs, and flame-resistant Cadillacs.
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.
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.
At the various Dahn Yoga studios throughout the country, it's quite common to see people bouncing up and down while hitting their abdomens with closed fists. Like the fighter who pumps himself up by pounding his chest before a big fight, the students perform this movement to help warm up their bodies and prepare them for a Dahn Yoga class. Practitioners believe the repeated fist taps concentrate energy in their abdomen and help them focus.
Next, they move on to more traditional yoga moves that help stretch and strengthen the body, as well as improve balance and boost circulation. Classes wrap up with a variety of energy work and meditation techniques, including brain-wave-vibration therapy and jigam—which helps practitioners quiet their minds and take a break from trying to figure out which really came first: the chicken or the egg?
This type of East Asian energy work drives Dahn Yoga, helping its participants create more balanced lives and enhance their overall feelings of well-being. Because it doesn't follow a strict set of yoga poses, but relies instead on mind-body exercises, Dahn Yoga is good for people of all ages, body types, and fitness levels.
At Yoga West, experienced, dedicated instructors promote healthy, centered lifestyles with sessions that unite the mind and body within a nurturing environment that emphasizes community, not competition. Owner Kristin Abel—whose motto is "It's just yoga"—welcomes patrons of all ages, shapes, and skill levels to ease into the relaxing world of yoga at their own pace, learning to release stress while having fun and getting fit. In classes suited to those who are stretching across the mat for the first time to advanced yogis, Abel and her team of dedicated instructors foster the release of toxins as students flow through Vinyasa's series of poses or stretch and soothe the body in restorative-yoga classes. The instructors also lead sensual belly-dancing classes and TRX resistance classes to bolster core muscles and cardiovascular systems without the need to jog with a giant sloth clinging to your back.