If you're really hankering for a studio yoga class this summer, I've compiled a handy list of some of my favorite studios and their summer schedules. Even if you find a class through this list, it's probably best to call to make sure your chosen class is happening that day. After all, it is still August in Paris people! If you don't know what I mean by that, here's one of many articles chronicling the phenomenon.
Rasa Yoga (rive gauche) Open all summer with a reduced schedule of 4 classes a day which can be found here.
21 rue Saint Jacques
+33 (0)1 43 54 14 59
Metro: St Michel (Ligne 4) or Cluny La Sorbonne (Ligne 10)
BeYoga Open all of August with a reduced schedule of 3 classes a day can be found here.
17 rue Campagne Première
+33 (0)9 65 31 60 11
Metro: Raspail (Ligne 4, 6)
Centre de Yoga du Marais Open all summer with a reduced schedule of one class per evening can be found here.
72 rue du Vertbois
+33 (0)1 42 74 24 92
Metro: Réamur-Sébastopol (Ligne 3, 4) or Strasbourg Saint Denis (Ligne 4, 8, 9) or Arts et Métiers (Ligne 3) or Arts et Métiers (Ligne 11)
Trini Yoga Closed August 15-August 22, reduced schedule for the remainder of August here.
24 rue d'Enghien
Enter at 24, 2e cour à gauche
+33 (0)6 03 53 08 42
Metro: Bonne-Nouvelle (Ligne 8, 9) or Strasbourg St. Denis (Ligne 4, 8, 9)
Big Apple Yoga Closed August 1-August 20. Their online schedule is normally up to date.
20 Rue Dussoubs
+33 (0)1 42 36 76 11
Metro: Réamur-Sébastopol (Ligne 3, 4) or Etienne Marcel (Ligne 4) or Sentier (Ligne 3)
Yoga Village Closed August 8-September 1
39 Boulevard des Capucines
escalier B, 1 er étage
+33 (0)1 72 34 58 47
Metro: Madeleine (Ligne 8, 12, 14) or Opera (Ligne 3, 7, 8)
Big Apple is only a 20 minute metro ride from me and it's small enough that the ambiance is neighborhood-y and not stuffy. It's really nice to have a great studio so close and convenient, you know, on those days that I just don't want to practice alone at home. But since I do have a home practice, I can't bring myself to pay full price for a class and lucky for me, they have 10€ classes at 10am, two of which are in English! They are taught by beginner teachers, but I've taken classes with both Jo (English) and Julia (French) and they're both very competent, so if you're available at 10 am I highly recommend these classes, they're way better than some of the full priced classes I've taken in Paris!
**Please check their schedule for community classes** to verify the days and times!
I got an email in my inbox a few months ago with the subject deeyoga, and I thought to myself, 'hey, someone actually reads my blog'. Cool. The author thanked me for my support of Yoga Solidaire and said there would be a new 2 hour class for yoga teachers and advanced students every Friday at 10 am at Yoga Village for the very reasonable price of 15€. I said that I'm not so much an advanced student, since my (formerly) broken wrist prevents me from doing many arm balances and inversions, but he said it wasn't about that, so I decided to check it out. With a little digging, I found out he's the owner of Yoga Village, and when I saw him for the second time, I realized he was also the reception and the reason I like the studio so much. He's so kind and welcoming and has such a great presence, and I later thanked him for being not so Parisian.
Often I tell teachers that I have a (formerly) broken arm when I take yoga classes. It's good that they know because I often modify poses, and I don't want them to think they're hurting me. So I get in this 10am class, and for the first time in a while, a teacher actually asked if we had any injuries he needed to know about. So piped up and said I had a (formerly) broken arm. And then came the 5 minute lecture (I may be exaggerating) about why maybe I shouldn't be doing Vinyasa, and maybe I should be doing another type of yoga, and maybe it was too much etc. etc. with a little, 'but I'm not a doctor' thrown in for good measure. Holy moly! I wonder if he expected me to leave?
Lesson 1 of being a yoga teacher: When you ask students if they have injuries, either ask them privately and then lecture -or not-, so the whole class doesn't hear OR Lesson 2: ask them in front of everyone and expect them to not tell you because they've previously had a teacher like Benoît. Now that you know not to tell him about your injuries, I can tell you about his class. I actually went to the class twice, because I wasn't sure I liked it the first time, and I'm still kind of unsure if I like it. I have 3 general criteria for returning to a yoga class: 1. It was awesomely sweaty 2. It taught me a ton of alignment / sequencing / poses variations or 3. I am a relaxed happy monkey after. These, of course, can be combined for extra points. It was a sweaty class! Two hours of vinyasa can surely make a girl sweaty, but I'm undecided about whether that makes up for the rest of it...
The first thing I noticed about Benoît is that he has a nervous energy. He does a bit of pacing, he talks quickly, he moves from one pose to another without allowing time to explore the pose, and his demeanor just feels harried, which means you move a lot, but it's not particularly relaxing, and one of his most used phrases is, 'ne forcez pas' or 'don't force it'. He rarely touches his students, which, admittedly, is hard to do when you're teaching a fast paced Vinyasa class, and I don't find that his alignment queues are very useful for my practice, but that could be because it's in French, and I've told you about my french proficiency here. And during Savasana of the first class, instead of holding the space for the students, he left the studio to do something or other. He is apparently funny, because many of the students laughed out loud during the last class. Thing is, either he was talking too fast for me to catch the joke, or, like many French jokes, I just didn't get it. Every time. Such a bummer.
The first hour of this particular class is quite good with nice flow and linking of poses, and variations that are interesting, even though we don't have much time to explore them, but the second hour of the last class felt like an ashtanga based (i.e. not super flowy) arm balancing and inversion workshop, which, as I previously stated, isn't very useful for me. I'm curious about his other classes, but I don't think I'll pay 20something euros to find out. However, if you're looking for a class where you can actually do some inversions and arm balances (which aren't much taught in all levels classes here in Paris) plus get super sweaty, and you've been practicing for a while so you know when to not do that extra Vinyasa, this class is a good Power Yoga class, even for West Coast standards.
Teacher: Benoît Le Gourriérec
Studio: Yoga Village
Class: Advanced Vinyasa
Feel Good Vibe: ★★★
Spiritual Lesson: No spiritual lesson. Just a few Ohm's and a lecture about my (formerly) broken arm.
Would I pay 20€ to take a class with him? I'll probably take another 15€ class, but probably not a 20€ class.
I would like to start this blogpost by saying, I love this class! But these reviews are not about telling you which classes I like and which I don't, they're about the teachers, so you can make your own choices. Riight!? Ok. Here we go. I didn't get the best impression the first time I met Amanda in the lobby of Big Apple Yoga in Paris. I said bonjour in my signature cheery American way, followed by the Anglo smile, and in response, I got the obligatory, no intonation, I have better things to do than say hello to you' bonjour. Amanda is not warm and fuzzy. She does not speak with a soft voice and she does not tell you to listen to your body. She tells you to start class with 12 vinyasas -in a row- and forget about those extra breaths in downdog. She keeps you in chair pose for 10 minutes (hello thighs), and I am not exaggerating. And she doesn't ask if you even know what a vinyasa is.
She is tiny but tough, and if you're just starting out your yoga practice (you're probably not reading this blog) you maybe shouldn't go to her class. If, however, you've been practicing for a while, and you want to drip sweat from all over your body, and you can manage to keep the breath deep and long in a 10 minute chair pose (with variations), or you can let go of your ego and (gracefully?) drop into childs pose because you've lost the breath, I highly recommend this class. Don't get me wrong, despite the matter of fact manner in which she teaches, she's a good instructor. I almost never have to look up because she teaches with her words while she walks around the room to make minor adjustments (hello quickie backrub, thank you) and hardly ever does the poses herself unless it's an inversion. The thing about this class, though is it's hard, but it's generally not complicated, so it could be a decent class for a relatively flexible strong beginner who knows how to listen to her/his body. Yes, that's a lot of ifs. There are no crazy arm balances or inversions, unless requested, (you heard that right, she takes requests!) and she gives a couple of 'well done's or 'nice work's in class, which is always good to hear when it's cold out and there is not one dry spot on your body.
Did I mention, it's also in English, so I can take off my glasses, find my drishti, breathe, sweat and zone out! Also, unlike Anne, I don't think she looks anything like the picture above in real life.
Teacher: Amanda Dates
Studio: Big Apple Yoga
Class: Bhakti Flow
Feel Good Vibe: ★★★
Spiritual Lesson: There's a bit about Mercury in retrograde, and dedicating your practice, but she doesn't talk for 15 minutes, and even though I don't really care about Mercury, she at least knows what she's talking about.
Would I pay 20€ to take a class with her again?
Yes, anytime I need a good ass kicking with a little dose of be where you are.
You know how people take the best photos of themselves and post them online, the ones where you can see the joy radiating from their smile and you can just tell they are loving life in that very moment? Sometimes you don't even recognize them when you see them in real life. I may be guilty of this very thing. I've often had people tell me I had 'the bitch look' on my face, usually when I'm trying to concentrate on something, and I certainly don't post those photos online. Anyway, I took a class with Anne today, it was actually, kind of my second class with Anne, since she co-taught a superbly fun class with Marc Holzman at the yoga festival a few weekends ago. Well, she's not one of those people. Her smile, demeanor, aura, whatever you want to call it, is just as beautiful and joyful and welcoming as it is in the photos.
She is French and she taught in French. And it was an Anusara class with lots of words, directions and alignment and it was all very scientific, as they usually are, but she managed to make it light, comfortable, welcoming and accepting. Not at all like the classes I've taken with other French teachers that seem to have been trained in military school before learning to teach yoga. For a while there, I thought it was just because it was in French and it wasn't my native tongue, and I didn't get the jokes, but now I know that's not the case. Thanks Anne!
She showed up on the mat today at Big Apple Yoga with colorful wrist warmers and a few tinctures of smelly good rose something or other that made the whole room smell like a garden. Mmmm. She taught with clarity and ease, encouraging us all to go further, but to listen and to wait for our bodies to give us the green light before bending more deeply. She was like a loving accepting mother to all her students, and as many good Anusara teachers do, she gives excellent adjustments. What's that, you say, adjustments?! Yes ladies and gentlemen, she gives masterful adjustments with warm and kind hands. What's not to love!?
Well... I realized today, that I have a totally different experience when class is French instead of English. I spend a lot of my brainpower repeating the French in my head... 'oh, that's left, and what did she just say about hips and pelvis, and what does basculer mean, and what am I supposed to do with the muscles in the what?' This is especially true of an Anusara class since there are so many specific instructions and micromovements involved, and it's why I love Anusara classes. The teachers are generally extremely knowledgeable and they are masters at getting students to refine the movements in poses. Spending brainpower translating the French means that I don't get to turn off the world around me and just breathe and move. It means I don't get that buzz. It also means that I probably missed a few of those refined movements. Normally when I take an Anusara class, despite not moving quickly, nor resting in the poses for a very long time (either of which will make me work my tail off and sweat like a monkey) I feel like I get a great workout. I feel like I've found a new muscles, and learned a little more about alignment. But sadly, I didn't feel that way after today's class. It was really lovely being in her presence, and it was really nice to have masterful adjustments, but it just wasn't the same as having an Anusara class in my mother tongue. So here's the skinny, classes with Anne are highly recommended, especially if your French is better than mine, and you're faster at figuring out left and right. Even if it's not, and you're not and you just want some motherly love, she's pretty awesome! And when I get that buzz from a French class, I'll know that I've finally mastered the language.
Teacher: Anne Vandewalle
Studio: Big Apple Yoga
Class: Anusara (all levels)
Feel Good Vibe: ★★★★★
Spiritual Lesson: Short and sweet and not wishywashy. Just the way I like it.
Would I pay 20€ to take a class with her again?
Yes, on a day I need a little healing love.
Paris' indian summer has begun and it's agreeably warm and sunny today, so I ventured out to Big Apple Yoga for a Bhakti Flow yoga class. It's been, what, 6 years since I took a Bhakti class with the man himself, Rusty Wells and phew, today was sweatier than I remember. More on that in another post. Since the husband is gone early next week, I decided to sign up for their introductory special, 10 days of unlimited yoga for 35€, and I plan on taking a class every day for the next 10 days. Now, all at once, send a little healing love because I think my husband has also shared his cold with me...
Their tagline is "Made in New York", and, well, it does feel very anglo. There was a lovely airy American woman working the front desk, and despite it being in a central neighborhood, they've managed to secure some ground floor space for the studio. No key codes and trying to find the right stairs = A+! They have top notch cushy sticky manduka mats (rental comes with your 10 day trial) and they even, sort of, have managed to have 2 yoga rooms, either one big L shaped room, or 2 littler rooms with a thick separator, but still not near soundproof. Plus they have a good number of the well known Paris teachers on their schedule. That's about it, though, in terms of perks. There is one toilet and an unmarked shower room, but the only 'changing room' is a teeny curtained off corridor, so prepare to bare all, possibly in front of the opposite sex, or show up geared up. There was one guy in class today, and he was super duper respectful and courteous. He showed up early, changed before the ladies needed to, and just as class finished, grabbed his gear from the corridor and changed back to his streetwear in the studio. Props dude. Props. Despite the crowded changing room, they've done a good job of efficiently using a small-ish ground floor space.
Big Apple Yoga
20 Rue DUSSOUBS
+33 1 42 36 76 11
Metro: Réamur-Sébastopol / Etienne Marcel (Ligne 4) or Réamur-Sébastopol / Sentier (Ligne 3)
Price: 20€ a class (excellent 10 day trial offer -35€ and reduced 10 and 20 class passes available)
Yoga Styles: Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Anusara, Jivamukti, Prenatal, Bhakti
Languages: English and French (check schedule for availability)
Changing Rooms: 1 but it's more like a corridor
Secure Lockers: none
Water: dispenser with glasses
Pros - They have lots of options if you like your yoga in English. They have only flowy fast paced classes (no Yin/Hatha) ***as of Dec 2013, one Yin -community- class has been added at 10am Thursday***. And they have some of the better known French teachers on the rosters. Plus, they have 10€ community classes in the mornings! (Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri)
Cons - They only have flowy fast paced classes (no Yin/Hatha). They have a corridor instead of a changing room, and it gets crowded.
Former San Francisco DNA wrangler and current Paris yoga teacher and mom. Sharing. Caution: Possibly too much.