You’ve heard all about the transformative qualities of yoga: increasing flexibility, decreasing stress and even alleviating minor back pain. But the multiple studios in Cape Town, and the myriad of yoga forms can make it a bit daunting for newbies to choose the right one. So we’ve done the hard work, and compiled a list of our favourite yoga studios in Cape Town.
All the studios listed below accommodate absolute beginners, and drop-ins are encouraged in order to discover whether the style suits your personality. Below are a few pointers to avoid a fitness faux pas!
CLOTHING & GEAR:
Generally speaking, both men and women should wear tight to slim-fitted tops, not only for safety purposes, but also for the practitioner to have a clear scope on your posture and alignment.
Most of the studios below offer yoga mat rentals which work well for both tourists and novices. We suggest buying your own mat only after you’ve tried a few yoga classes. Any other accessories (blocks, straps etc) are normally provided by the studio.
– Punctuality rules! Arrive 15 to 20 minutes ahead of time to mark a spot where you feel most comfortable. The extra time will also give you an opportunity to introduce yourself to the instructor and discuss any injuries or concerns you may have.
– Yoga is practised barefoot. Taking off your shoes and socks before you walk into the room is not only hygienic but also a form of respect for the craft.
– Special note to the Type A personality – you may want to leave your ego outdoors as well. The concept of this art form is an absolute surrender of the ego. Never push or overextend your individual threshold. At first it will be impossible to perfect every pose, so shift your focus on breathing patterns instead.
– Never leave in the middle of Savasana (corpse pose). Most yoga classes wrap up the session with the centuries-old pose in which you flat on your back, eyes closed, experiencing complete relaxation. If you have to leave, do it before.
– ‘Namaste’ (pronounced nah-mas-tay) To conclude the class, your instructor will bow her head in prayer, clasp her hands together in front of her chest and say, ‘Namaste’. You’ll notice the class repeating it back as well. This Sanskrit word translates to “I honour you”.
Yoga in Cape Town City Bowl
Studio: ASHTANGA YOGA CAPE TOWN (AYCT)
Location: Roeland St, Gardens, Cape Town
Times: Mondays to Saturdays. AYCT’s weekly time slots centre exclusively around mornings (from 6am until about 11am) in order to nurture a sense of dedication and discipline to the craft. There are no evening sessions.
The experience: As a traditional Mysore Ashtanga enthusiast, yogini Ulrike Lamprecht follows a rigid daily practice regime and continues to expand a unique understanding of the various aspects of this form. With AYCT, she stresses the importance to develop a self-practice with a teacher present to give adjustments and to guide her students. Her passion is not only to combine the physical and mental entities of her students, but to see them advancing to that unified and structured dimension. Therefore the ‘Mysore’ sessions are ideal as it suggests an intensely focused set of yoga movements progressing at your own individual pace. These classes also provide students with the freedom to arrive at anytime during class times. A more structured and guided ‘Ashtanga-led’ slot, only available on Saturday mornings, follows a distinct directional approach with an emphasis on breathing techniques and the vinyasa count. Luckily AYCT’s spacious Gardens studio is the ideal platform to accommodate the best of both worlds.
Special offer for first-timers: Ulrike encourages beginners to take a month unlimited class package, at R850, to experience the transformative magic of Ashtanga yoga.
Added extras: International guest practitioner Zephyr Mercer is currently offering a more varied foray into Mysore with a short tenure at AYCT. Her stint will conclude on 18 March 2017.
Website: www.ashtangayogacapetown.com Email: Ulrike@ayct.co.za Tel: 084 358 9863
Studio: THE OM REVOLUTION
Location: Loop St, CBD and various outdoor spots in the city
Times: Classes are available on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6pm in the Century City Oval Gardens. The Company’s Gardens get their turn on Tuesdays at 5.45pm, and Saturdays at 9am. And for a memorable take on our famous Cape sunsets, the studio takes their Vinyasa vibes to the breezy Clifton 3rd beach on Sundays at 6.15pm.
The experience: The atmosphere – nature, in its rawest form. The Om Revolution is one of very few studios which propose to explore the beauty of Cape Town on a yoga mat. This mobile yoga venture is a supremely distinct opportunity for those seeking a spiritual amalgamation of mind, body and nature. Exclusive outdoor classes are also available. Yogini Victoria Csarmann’s aim – to make yoga accessible to all – follows through with her group classes structured for all fitness levels. With ‘Vinyasa’ as her emphasis, Csarmann cultivates the importance of nuanced breathwork, alignment and footwork. And if that’s not enough motivation, the studio’s impressive charitable efforts alone are commendable.
Special offer for first-timers: Outdoor classes are R50 per session. Yoga mats are available for rental as an optional extra.
Added extras: Private, Pregnancy, Child and Corporate yoga packages are also on offer.
Website: www.theomrevolution.co.za Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 072 0274 628
Studio: AIR YOGA
Location: The Woodstock Exchange, Woodstock, Cape Town
Times: Mostly morning sessions from Mondays to Sundays, with evening spaces from Monday to Friday
The experience: Nestled in the edgy urban Woodstock culture, Air Yoga is the only Jivamukti-oriented shala (studio) in Cape Town. Jivamukti is an innovative and vigorous Hatha form set of vinyasa-based physical style which incorporates doctrines such as meditation, music, and chanting with each session. The studio offers various branches of the form, from an accessible ‘Introduction for Beginners’ course, to the ‘Restorative’ package which aims to correlate mind and body. Dedicated yogi couple Jay and Misch Mac left the frenetic world of advertising behind to follow their passion for yoga. So their familiarity with pressured schedules serves as the perfect groundwork for the ‘Jivamukti Spiritual Warrior’ session. This intense 45 minute workshop blends enough physical nuances while maintaining the essence of this underrated yoga style – ideal for those pressed for time. Vinyasa and Mysore style slots are also available on the timetable.
Special offer for first-timers: A special beginner’s offer for R200 consists of unlimited sessions for 1 week.
Added extras: The studio is kicking off a part-time Vinyasa Teacher Training Course from 2 March to 1 June 2017. Private consultations at the studio or in the convenience of your own home/office are also on offer.
Website: www.airyoga.co.za Email: email@example.com Tel: 0746 908 2898
Yoga in Southern Suburbs
Studio: THE SOURCE
Location: Townsend Ave, The Vines, Constantia, Cape Town
Times: Various morning and evening slots from Monday to Sunday
The experience: Renee Watson and Bryan MacDonell, co-owners of The Source Cape Town, have brought a transformational studio to life, with a focus on both physical and personal growth. As a former dancer, Watson’s detailed understanding of body and mind-conditioning paired with MacDonell’s well-versed art of renewing processes and development is initiating a serene space of authenticity, growth and flow. The shala hosts Pilates and Yoga disciplines under one roof while bringing people from various backgrounds together. Think Ashtanga, Vinyasa Hot Flow, and Tai Chi. A special Vinyasa-based ‘Gentle Yoga’ class aims to master ultimate physical, mental and emotional relaxation while strengthening specific parts of the body such as the heart and lungs. The Source also strives to develop physical and mental regimens such as the Asana and advanced breathwork. ‘MindFul Mondays’, led by MacDonell and a rotational panel of ‘Transformation’ workers, will keep you on your proverbial toes. Part-time practitioner Rahle Dusheiko pops in on Wednesdays to share her passion for Iyengar yoga form. And one of the biggest charms of the studio is a scenic outdoor garden in which to relax after strenuous sessions.
Special offer for first-timers: A package for R250 consists of unlimited sessions for 2 weeks, including a private session with one of their seasoned professionals. The studio is also starting a special 6 week course for absolute beginners every Saturday morning from 4 March until 8 April 2017.
Added extras: The Source offers a wide selection of Pilates sessions run by experienced instructors. And to amplify the Pilates adventure, a specialised Bosu Ball class kicks off on 3 March 2017. A ‘Low Pressure Fitness’ workshop also starts on 3 March. This rehabilitating effort aims to increase athletic performance while strengthening the core and pelvic floor with accents from Hatha Yoga.
The esteemed Jennifer Raye hosts a Mindful Yin Yoga Training Intensive seminar specifically designed for yoga students and teachers who would like to deepen their understanding of the practice and instruction of yin yoga. And in addition to all the body conditioning packages, Tony Wynne is hosted by Transformation at The Source to explore topics such as the healing qualities of chakras, dealing with relationships, and yin yang and meditation tutorials.
Studio: YOGA BODY SPACE
Location: High Constantia Centre, Constantia, Cape Town
Times: Daily, with evening sessions from Monday to Friday
The experience: Yoga Body Space is a quiet and calm transformative space. Studio owner Allison Tipton Milner leads a line-up of 8 dynamic yoga teachers who strive to share this elusive craft with each session. This studio offers Vinyasa, ‘Set Sequence,’ which is a series of postures specifically formulated to be beginner-friendly, and Yin classes.
Special offer for first-timers: A one week introductory special is on offer for R100
Added extras: Natalie Wittwen (Massage therapist) and Johnathan Whelan (Reiki practitioner) take appointments in the studio’s beautiful treatment room. An upcoming ‘Topsy Turvy’ workshop takes place on 10 March 5-7pm. This seminar, led by popular Cape Town teacher Lara Roux, will detail alignment and strength-building exercises for those starting to incorporate inversions and arm-balances into their practice.
Website: www.yogabodyspace.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 021 795 0601
Studio: SANGHA SPOT
Location: Fraser Rd, Muizenberg, Cape Town
Times: Monday to Thursday, with various time slots ranging from morning to evening
The atmosphere: The ladies at Sangha Spot continuously strive to tap into a more expansive take on yoga in order to keep their shala ahead of the curve. Sangha Spot’s timetable may be compressed, but it is packed with varied yoga forms and various exciting workshops over weekends. In addition to Vinyasa and Hatha yoga, there is also a Yoga Beginner’s course starting in March. Most recently Janet Ferguharson introduced ‘Blindfolded Yoga’, an ideal tutorial which depicts an elaborate self-exploration of our senses. Karyn Velleman’s dynamic yoga flow style, where postures are held longer, has an intensified effect on the body, and is perfect for anyone doing lots of physical exercise to restore balance, release tension, and muscle strengthening. Iyengar enthusiast Rahle Dusheiko shares the precision and methodological progression of the style with students every Monday evening. And with inner transformation at its core essence, Lauren Burger’s Kundalini Yoga workshops invite us to think out of the box and develop our intuitive mind. Burger’s session serves as the perfect antidote to physical alignment of Iyengar as her form employs intuitive strengths to organise and elevate the body to a specific energetic and conscious state.
Special offer for first-timers: No special offers at the time of publication, but keep an eye on their Facebook page for upcoming offers.
Added extras: March sees the return of Sangha Spot’s Lunar Lady workshop. This female driven initiative connects like-minded yoginis while they focus on the phase of the moon while developing a deeper sense of self-discovery. Nia is a cardio, whole-body workout which fuses tranquil dance, martial forms such as Tai Chi, and yoga movements. These endorphin-releasing sessions are suitable for all ages and fitness levels, and the repetitive movements aid body strengthening and conditioning. The immensely popular AcroYoga course is restarts on 11 March 2017. AcroYoga aims to challenge the concept of collaboration by merging yoga with acrobatics in a partnership setting.
Website: www.sanghaspot.co.za Email: email@example.com Tel: 083 556 3756
Yoga in Northern Suburbs
Studio: BACK TO BASICS
Location: Village Place, Parklands, Cape Town
Times: Tuesday to Sunday, mostly in the mornings. There is a 6pm slot on Thursdays, but advanced bookings are encouraged.
The atmosphere: Back to Basics keeps it cosy and intimate, with not more than 8 students per class in a quiet studio room. This shala strives towards a more detailed intensity and conditioning of the body. And to underscore that diligence, a once-off physical assessment is carried out by their in-house physiotherapist in order to provide the yoga practitioner with a clearer grasp of their student’s capacity and drawbacks. The charm of this studio’s yoga doctrines is that it covers a fusion of various yoga styles while toning and strengthening the body’s muscle groups. Friendly and approachable yoginis Othélia Lewis and Edna Dalton present their vast experience to guarantee diversity and excitement with each session.
For first-timers: A monthly fee of R270 gives you one yoga class per week, an affordable start for beginners.
Added extras: Back to Basics also offers detailed Pilates classes headlined by practice owner, Michelle Marais, and Physiotherapy sessions run by a qualified practitioner. Corporate Pilates and private workshops are also available.
Website: www.backtothebasics.co.za Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 021 557 5593
Yoga in Atlantic Seaboard
Studio: WILD THINGS
Location: The Point, Sea Point, Cape Town
Times: Monday to Sunday with morning and evening sessions. There are two evening sessions, perfect to combat after work blues.
The experience: Expect a more upbeat, uber-contemporary and youthfully energetic approach to yoga. Dom Vieira and Lexi Ryman are the perfect spokespersons for their hot-spot studio – brimming with enthusiasm, energetic and in terrific shape. One of their many tailor-made highlights include the ‘Flow-So Hot’ session which laces the diligent Vinyasa flow form with a modern touch of hip hop, house, or pop beats while strengthening your core. This pulsing atmosphere also focuses on improving the spine and alignment. The duo’s chic and slick studio offers surreal views of the Atlantic coastline right on your yoga mat, perfect for those Instagram moments. It’s a minimalist, earthy setting for starting your yoga adventure.
For first-timers: A cool monthly unlimited package at R800
Added extras: ‘Broga’, got that? It’s yoga, for bros. A session especially formulated to deal with common male drawbacks in yoga – tight hips, shoulders and hamstrings. These sessions are only available on special request.
Website: www.wildthingmoves.co.za Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 082 515 4048
Studio: WELLNESS CONNECTION
Location: Boskykloof Rd, Hout Bay, Cape Town
Times: Monday to Saturday with mostly morning sessions. An evening slot 7pm to 8pm is available on Mondays only.
What to expect: Wellness Connection is renowned for being one of the best yoga teacher training schools in South Africa. Studio owner Catherine Wilkinson’s trump card is fusing Vinyasa yoga with an emphasis on alignment. Rest assured, you are in safe hands as Wilkinson and her team strives to provide close instruction, while building suppleness and strength. The beautifully designed space is a calming retreat which evokes contemporary Japanese simplicity with gum wood and glass accents, overlooking a tranquil indigenous garden to create a calm atmosphere.
For first-timers: Four classes in two weeks for R200. This offer is only open to those residing in the Hout Bay, Llandudno, and Constantia areas.
Added extras: The studio also offers Kids and Pregnancy yoga slots with seasoned professionals. Sessions for sports yoga and combatting sport-related injuries are available on request, and headed by the Stormers rugby yoga coach, Mandy Hewlett.
Website: www.wellnessconnection.co.za Email: Catherine@wellnessconnection.co.za Tel: 021 790 4379
Benn Van Der Westhuizen