Looking for a solution to stress, health issues, and bad posture? The answer is simple: yoga. Renowned for its transformative powers, many are inspired to try yoga for its physical, mental, emotional and spiritual impact. Regardless of your reason, this list of Cape Town inclusive and beginner-friendly yoga studios may just prompt a journey towards becoming one of those yoga-mat-toting, green-smoothie-drinking Capetonians.
LIFE RETREAT STUDIO
Location: Lourensford Wine Estate, Somerset West
Times: Open seven days a week, the studio offers multiple classes every day from as early as 6am and up until 7pm. Download the free Life Retreat Studio App or see the website for the full class schedule.
The experience: Life Retreat Studio was created by mother-and-daughter duo, Trish and Samantha Taylor, and forms part of their Life Retreat Health Hub. Their aim is to create a space which leaves students healed: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. The studio is situated in one of the estate’s historical buildings which is now renovated. This incorporation of old and contemporary, alongside the tranquil natural elements of Lourensford Wine Estate, creates a perfect space to hide away in, while you breathe and transform. Since Life Retreat is a movement studio, classes are not limited to yoga, but also include Ballet Barre, Nia Dancing, Box Fit, Tai Chi, Pilates, and drama.
Styles of yoga offered: Life Retreat Studio offers yoga classes in a variety of styles, including Kundalini, Restorative, Vinyasa, ISHTA, and Yin. They also run Wellness Days to corporates and tourist companies, taking place at the studio or the premises of choice.
Special offer: The studio hosts outdoor yoga sessions at 9am on Sundays, at which children and even dogs are welcome. Drop-ins are welcome at a rate of R50. Many people join for yoga and then have brunch or lunch at the Lourensford market.
For 2019: Life Retreat Studio hosts various yoga and wellness-inspired events throughout the year, with the first for 2019 being a full moon hike and meditation in the mountains on 21 January and a Yoga Teacher Training course beginning on 1 February.
They also offer a guided detox challenge, which can be done remotely or by attending the studio daily. This can be accompanied by weekly guided meditations on Monday mornings, Wednesday evenings and/or one Sunday a month. These are guided by a Buddhist monk.
THE YOGA ROOM
Location: Vredehoek, Cape Town
Times: The Yoga Room is open seven days a week. Two to four classes are offered in the course of the week, and one on Saturday and Sunday mornings. View the full class schedule on the website.
The experience: The Yoga Room is a welcoming and inclusive space – “a place to come to just as you are.” With smaller classes, founder Elsa van Niekerk and her team thrive on providing individual focus and attention to detail. The studio has no mirrors, offering students a break from comparison and distraction. Instead of focusing on how yoga looks, they believe it is all about how yoga feels. And that lack of mirrors has left space for a minimalist design mural that spans the length of the studio. “The mural is a play on space and depth, structure and fluidity, breath and movement, the idea that through yoga we can make changes to how we live our lives” explains Van Niekerk.
Styles of yoga: With their mission in mind to make yoga accessible to everybody, The Yoga Room offers a variety of yoga classes covering Vinyasa, Forrest, ISHTA and Yin yoga. The Absolute Beginners and Basics slots are perfect for those who feel nervous taking on a session surrounded by seasoned yogis. ‘Open Level’ class is Vinyasa-based and follows a more adventurous yet disciplined streak for the experienced yogi. ‘Gentle Yoga’ was created with the older practitioner in mind. The special ‘Mom and Baby Yoga’ class offers gentle restorative yoga postures and focuses on slowly starting to rebuild postpartum strength.
Special offer: Special student rates are available, and the first week of sessions is free for all Cape Town residents.
For 2019: The shala will be running a series of 4-week Beginner Yoga courses throughout 2019. This intensive covers the basic yoga principles and an in-depth take on the poses. Perfect for beginners or anyone looking to brush up on the basics. Also look out for Yin & Breath workshops, sessions on how to incorporate essential oils into your practice and restorative classes with live music.
HOUSE OF YOGA
Location: Claremont, Cape Town
Times: House of Yoga is open seven days a week and offers three to four classes per weekday and one to two classes on Saturdays and Sundays. Classes are offered between 6.30am and 7.45pm.
The experience: Coming from a background in dance, the founders of this new boutique studio in the leafy Lynfrae suburb – sisters Leigh and Karen Bosch – share a deep appreciation for health, self-care, and wellbeing. Their aim is to provide an urban sanctuary to support students in creating a moment of pause during the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The studio allows students the freedom to develop a sense of grounding – the necessary foundation on which to explore and grow an authentic yoga practice.
Yoga classes are led by experienced teachers who not only guide the sequence of poses, but take all who attend on a journey of self-discovery. This allows for greater self-awareness, somatically and otherwise, as well as cultivating a deeper connection with life itself.
Students with House of Yoga memberships and class credits can book classes via the BoxChamp app.
Styles of yoga available: House of Yoga hosts a variety of classes (including three sessions for ‘Beginners’) influenced by various yoga styles including Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Jivamukti and Scaravelli. But their trademark comes in a series of Vinyasa Flow-inspired sessions. From ‘Get Up & Flow’, to kickstart the day right, to a ‘Soul Glow Flow’ session encouraging the body, mind and soul to sing. The ‘Evening Flow’ slot is designed to create heat in the body in order to build strength, increase flexibility and inspire somatic awareness. Forrest-inspired yoga aims to connect with your core, and their ‘Restorative Yoga & Yoga Nidra’ classes use stretching and meditation for a holistic fitness recovery session. And for those seeking special attention to technique, action, and alignment, the ‘Yoga Accent’ sessions are the ideal option.
Special offer: Newcomers (Cape Town residents only) get either a complimentary yoga or pilates class of their choice in order to get a feel for the studio. If you’re hooked after your complimentary class, the first week comes at a reduced rate of R150.
For 2019: As of 3 January House of Yoga has expanded their self-care menu to offer massage and reflexology treatments.
GOA YOGA STUDIO
Location: Eden on the Bay, Big Bay, Cape Town
Times: Various morning, noon, and evening slots from Monday to Sunday. View the detailed class schedule on their website.
The experience: Goa Yoga studio has two core intentions: honouring and upholding the traditions of Yoga and ensuring that students leave the studio feeling inspired, energised, relaxed and cared for. Their close-knit, ‘yoga family’ supports these intentions with attentive sessions, tranquility and positive vibes. The shala’s 13 expert instructors all bring something different to their classes, but find commonality in the fact that they teach with authenticity and focus on all the beneficial aspects of yoga: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
Goa Yoga Studio is situated in a prime location, giving students the opportunity to enjoy a stroll, grab a cup of coffee or sit down for a meal after class at the Eden on the Bay Centre. Indeed, due to the close proximity to the coast, the crisp smell of the sea may even inspire an impromptu dip in the ocean before or after class.
Styles of yoga available: Goa Yoga Studio offers Vinyasa, Yin and Hatha which will aid body conditioning while boosting energy, as well as Kundalini yoga, Restorative Meditation and Yin & Yang yoga for a more holistic approach to wellness. And if your interest in yoga is founded on the physical rather than great spiritual benefits, Vinyasa Play offers their unique twist with playful inversions while getting a solid workout.
Special offer: Goa Yoga Studio offers a complimentary first class to new students.
For 2019: To start the year off right, the shala will be hosting a holistic ‘Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions’ workshop on 26 January. This Kundalini-based intensive will cover ways to banish self-destructive patterns and arm you with coping mechanisms to stick to your personal goals. Refer to their website or social media for more info.
Location: Windsor Rd, Kalk Bay, Cape Town | Belair Drive, Constantia, Cape Town
Times: Ayama Yoga is open on week days, with classes taking place on Monday, Tuesday and Friday mornings as well as on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Find the full schedule and lesson locations on Ayama Yoga’s website.
The experience: Up a cobbled side street in the quirky village of Kalk Bay, Ayama is right on the doorstep of Cape Town’s quaintest shops, restaurants and the Dalebrook Tidal Pool. The building dates back 200 years with a spacious and high-ceilinged studio interior. Whilst the studio is big, the classes are kept small. This allows students the individual attention necessary to ensure correct alignment and a personalised yoga experience. Each student progresses at their own speed, and is given the pose variation to suit them where they are. Beginners are welcome in all classes, however, there are dedicated beginners classes on offer. Monique Woolls-King, the owner and yoga teacher at Ayama Yoga, is passionate about the guiding influence which yoga has on the lives of its students. It inspires connection, authenticity, fulfilment and sustainable living. The studio’s name is a Sanskrit word speaking to the concepts of extension, expansion and ascension.
Styles of yoga avaialable: Ayama Yoga is one of the few yoga studios in Cape Town to specialise in the traditional style of Iyengar yoga. Teachers of this method are trained for 3 years, ensuring a high standard of teaching regulated by the Iyengar Family in India. The classes are slow and focus on alignment, a characteristic of Iyengar yoga. It is through this alignment that students finds true freedom in yoga and are able to go deeper into their yoga practice.
Special offer: No special offers at the time of publication.
For 2019: Monthly workshops are held on Weekends and Ayama Yoga is hosting a Yoga and Dolphin Experience at The Sardine Run.
OWL & THE WOLF HOLISTIC FITNESS
Location: Core Fit Centre, 6th Floor The Regent, 19 Regent Rd, Sea Point, Cape Town
Times: Four yoga or fitness classes per day, Monday through to Saturday. Evening sessions are hosted from Monday to Friday.
The experience: Owl and The Wolf Holistic Fitness, a creation of Cayli Varejes, is a magical space which celebrates authenticity. Inspired by her journey, Cayli has created a cosy space where like-minded individuals explore the value of their individuality and ability to foster personal wellness and strength through yoga. For this unique shala, it is all about welcoming people in whichever form they choose to express themselves. The open environment of the studio is complemented by the wall murals, a custom starry sky roof beaming light day or night, and healing crystals as well as a sense of calm which only a sea view can bring. In addition to yoga classes, Owl and The Wolf also offer meditation classes which should certainly deepen your holistic practice. A variety of martial arts classes such as Krav Maga and Tai Chi is also on their roster. And occasionally the studio hosts visiting healers and holistic wilderness retreats to rejuvenate body and soul.
Styles of yoga available: There are a variety of Yoga practices offered at Owl and The Wolf, including Hatha, Vinyasa, Kundalini, The Power of 26 and Yin yoga. Some are more intense and others more meditative.
Special offer: As an affiliated Discovery Health fitness partner, yoga students can gain bonus Discovery Vitality points via sessions at this shala.
For 2019: Owl & The Wolf Holistic Fitness regularly host a variety of wellness retreats in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. Think carefully selected accommodation options in serene nature surrounds, organic cuisine under the stars, and of course coupled with yoga sessions, for a memorable experience. Check their social media for more details.