My first summer in Paris, I was awed and flabbergasted with the number of restaurants, bakeries, butchers, cheese shops and liquor shops closed the entire month of August. I even wrote a blog post about it back when I was blogging about food and traveling and back when my wrist was still broken and I couldn't do yoga. I've since realized that in addition to having to walk a few extra blocks for a good baguette, you really have to search for yoga classes in the summertime in Paris. If you eventually find a class, you might show up to find it has been cancelled last minute. It has happened to me, in July! Since many of my friends are out of town during vacation time, I often find myself idle, and need of some human interaction and what better way to get that than a great yoga class. Unfortunately, I often find myself S.O.L. (look it up) because like everyone else in Paris, my favorite teachers are also on vacation or having retreats in some sunny beautiful lush local. I have the option to teach myself a yoga class, but many of you aren't quite familiar enough to do so for yourselves, and I often get requests around this time from students for online classes they can take. Usually, it's to get them through a week or two, so I've compiled a couple of recommended links for all you Paris yogis who will be around in dire need of yoga this summer, or just anytime you're looking to do some yoga at home. If you have a favorite online home for yoga classes, free or not, let me know. I'll check it out and perhaps add it to the list!
Updated: I had a couple of websites for free yoga, but they are no longer useable.
Subscription services (monthly) that are low cost compared to Paris yoga classes and have free trial periods (as of last check):
Has an almost overwhelming selection of well curated well filmed classes in all genres and styles. I've taken classes with a few of these teachers in real life, and they're quite good. Jason Crandell is one of my favorites.
Also has a good selection of well filmed classes. I've taken many a classes with Pete Guinosso in San Francisco in real life, and he has a few here that are very good. I also saw a press release that they were now offering prenatal/postnatal classes too. And it looks like Yoga Journal has snatched them up recently. They do have a few very short free classes (5 minutes).
I've never taken a full class with Aiofe, but she's a fantastic spark of a woman, and a kick ass yogi. And I recognize quite a few of the names of the teachers, so let me know if you enjoy it.
This website is pretty geeky, but they have a good selection of all different kinds of yoga for all different kinds of people.
I purchased a 10 class pass at Rasa Yoga when I first started doing yoga in Paris, and since they don't expire, I've been using it ever since. I feel a bit bad that I've had it so long and haven't used it up, so I'm making an effort to get out and do some non-home practices now that it's 'la rentrée' and the regularly scheduled teachers are back. I decided to take an Iyengar class at Rasa. BKS Iyengar is responsible for bringing modern yoga to the western world. His 'Light on Yoga' book is the bible of asana (pose) yoga and Iyengar classes are great for making sure your alignment is in proper order. So I found an Iyengar 2 class at Rasa with Alex and was on my merry way. According to the bio I found on Alex, he has a humble and precise style and an absolute respect for his master BKS Iyengar (translation). After having taken his class, I would say that's an accurate description.
We started with some seated breathing and Iyengar centric spinal alignment and diaphragm work, then, first pose -tadasana (mountain pose), second pose 'hop' -sirsanana (headstand). Nice! I've been doing headstand since I was a kid and my crazy Uncle Dado taught me how to do a tripod headstand, so I did mine in the middle of the floor. 'Descends' he said to me, "top of the head on the floor." My vinyasa headstand on the front of the crown of the head was not appropriate for Iyengar class, and my wrist was bent in the wrong direction, so he manually straightened my (broken) arm, and 'hop', I was back up. The remainder of the class was similarly strict (from the stories I've heard, this is typical French instruction) with magnificent direction focusing on alignment of the pose via the center axis of the body. I admit, I didn't understand all the directions he gave, as they were in French, and they were an Iyengar vocabulary that I'm not accustomed to, but he was excellent at getting students into the correct alignment with only his words and a few pokes and prods. Iyengar is all alignment, with no flow in between. We did maybe seven poses in the entire class, one being downdog. There were no vinyasas or chaturangas, so this class is probably not so interesting for those lovers of Vinyasa, but if you're looking to sweat, get your alignment more precise, and grit your teeth a bit, this was a good class, especially if your french is better than mine.
Teacher: Alex Onfroy
Studio: Rasa Yoga rive gauche
Class: Iyengar 2
Feel Good Vibe: ★
Spiritual Lesson: N/A
Would I pay 20€ to take a class with him again?
Nope. It was a little too much like what I imagine military school to be like and didn't have enough flow for my taste.
Former San Francisco DNA wrangler and current Paris yoga teacher and mom. Sharing. Caution: Possibly too much.
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