Before yoga, humans could only achieve a solid mind-body connection when their neurons displayed all four reception bars. Capture a clearer connection with today's Groupon: for $29, you get 10 drop-in yoga classes at Ananda Yoga in Palo Alto (an $85 value). First-time clients can borrow a mat for free, and mat rentals are available for subsequent visits for a $1 fee. Class-goers are also welcome to bring their own mats.
Ananda Yoga's mindful instructors patiently guide students of all levels through exhilarating asanas and tranquil meditation in 60- to 75-minute yoga postures classes. Gurus encourage fledgling yogis with supportive affirmations and impromptu cheerleading pyramids as they garner basic body-bending know-how during Beginner and Yoga Fundamentals classes. Alternatively, Gentle Yoga limbers connective tissue and rejuvenates joints to center both mind and body. Those with at least three months of experience can progress to Level 1 classes, or, for a more challenging workout, stretch sinews and fortify muscles in Level 2 Yoga, which culminates with 15 minutes of meditation to clear minds of distracting thoughts about whether they left their Easy Bake Oven on.
The center's varied schedule accommodates pupils with evening and Saturday classes, which convene beneath elevated ceilings in a spacious, naturally lit asana room. To further foster a serene atmosphere, Ananda Yoga requests that pupils refrain from wearing scented perfume and keep their cell phones and portable telegraph machines in the off position during classes.
Although Ananda Yoga's introductory classes begin by teaching new students how to master the fundamental asanas, the studio's practice strives to promote more than physical development. Self-actualization and personal, spiritual growth lay the foundation, and the instructors help attendees work toward these goals by incorporating enlightening affirmations, breathing exercises, and centering meditation into the classes. These classes may vary in physical intensity as advanced students challenge their strength and stamina with deeper, longer stretches, but each sequence encourages the attendees to focus on their mind-body connection and calm their thoughts.