You may be able to bench press an elephant, run to Melbourne, get through reading The Power of Now and drink a kale shake without retching, but here’s a test of your real strength: have you ever held a reverse warrior for 30 breaths? For some reason, the cliches around yoga have proved hard to shake. Those who've practiced it know yoga is not just for women wearing Lululemon and the odd hippy, and it certainly isn’t easy. It will not balance your ying with your yang or align your seven chakras in a week, either. If these stereotypes have kept you away, we think it's time you gave yoga another chance. Whether it’s your mental or physical strength that you would like to boost, regular practise will yield great results.
Yoga comes in many forms. We dissect a few to keep you limber this year.
Yoga with a View at Yoga Beyond This studio is bang in the picturesque Royal Botanic Gardens, spills out onto Woolloomooloo Bay and one whole side of the building is glass. This means you can watch the sun rise over the calm water while you flow. While this yoga school is limited to the one small space, the high ceilings keep it airy and there is only room for small, personalised classes. It’s in the same vicinity as the Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool, so you can work in a swim and a light feed at the cafe with your routine. The healthy-living owners, Honza and Claudine Lafond, are inspiration enough to get yourself out of bed and start the day like they do. 1c Mrs Macquarie Road, Sydney yogabeyond.com
Yoga for Two at House of Yoga There’s nothing like connecting with another body to learn the power of balance. AcroYoga came out of San Francisco as a way to combine yoga with acrobatics and play with trust, control and empowerment. Working with a partner, learn to fly while being supported in the air by their legs and then swap. It’s all about sharing knowledge of yoga to create the ultimate experience of synergy. Level 1, 245 Chalmers St, Redfern houseofyoga.com
Yoga for Hip-hop fans at Yoga 213 At this fresh studio, which started out in Melbourne and has now made its way to Bondi, you will flow with vinyasa, working your entire body to energising hip-hop beats. The loud music is turned down 10 minutes before the end for a relaxing finish. Shop 4/360 Oxford St, Bondi Junction yoga213.com
Yoga for students at Jivamukti Yoga This homey, inner-west studio attracts the friendliest staff and the most welcoming instructors in town. With $8 classes throughout the day, it is accessible and perfect for beginners. Jivamukti Yoga is very shanti, refreshingly zen and totally unpretentious. It may be exactly what you are looking for to get started. 76A Wilford Street, Newtown jivamuktiyoga.com
Yoga for free at Barefoot Yoga That’s right, free. Unless of course you think these dedicated yoga devotes deserve a donation – which they do. Basing their generosity on the yoga philosophy of giving, this welcoming studio believes the beneficial practice should be totally un-exclusive. No catches. We suggest a $10–$20 donation. T3 Verona St, Paddington barefootyoga.com.au
Yoga to make you sweat at Hom Yoga Bikram yoga happens in a room heated to up to 40 degrees Celsius. It is designed to make you sweat. In fact, you will sweat so much that toxins from your body will be released. Your warm muscles will also allow you to move more deeply into stretches. Try the unique Hot Hom class, specially created by this Surry Hills studio. It takes postures from both hatha and ashtanga yoga and is a cardiovascular-focused series designed to combine intensity with a whole lot of fun. 20 Hargrave St, Darlinghurst homyoga.com.au
Yoga to rave to at The Future Sound of Yoga It’s not everyday you can free-form dance to tech-house and trip hop while posing as a cobra, a bridge, a pigeon, a tree or – of course – a downward-facing dog. This travelling yoga workshop only comes to town sometimes; but get ready to unlock your body, connect your mind and free yourself when it does. Check the website for upcoming dates, locations and prices. futuresoundofyoga.com