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.
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.
I've been doing a lot of yoga at home lately. It's hot out there, the studios usually don't have air conditioning ( and I'm not that into Bikram -hot- Yoga), and, oh, right, it's the summertime so lots of studios have reduced hours and substitute teachers. Plus, I can wear a wifebeater and boxer shorts and no one in my house cares. But I had heard great things about a particular teacher in Paris, so I decided to check out one of her classes, and low and behold, she was still teaching, at Yoga Village (in July). The studio is in the central and chic Madeleine / Opera area, and it is a beauty. Wood floors, white walls, an entire window facing lovely trees, super clean, sparsely but tastefully decorated. Seriously top notch.
It's hidden behind the entrance to an apparent shopping area and is on one of the larger boulevards in Paris. I passed it up the first time, as the photo above is the only signage at ground level and the numbering on the street is a bit wacky. Once I found the right stairs (B) and made it up to the first floor, the guy at the front desk was so smiley and kind and helpful and not at all Parisian that I had already blissfully forgotten that feeling of not belonging that comes with having to be buzzed in (or remembering the door code). The studio is well set up, with immediately recognizable seating to remove and store shoes, and clean bright dressing rooms separated by sex. I took a beginner Vinyasa class, and I felt right at home. Despite the heat, it was pleasant in the classroom with the windows open and a few fans going. The only complaint I have is that the room is not well made for sound absorption. Though it looks as if they purposefully built a dropped ceiling, being on a larger boulevard with the fans and a bit of background music, I still found it hard to understand from time to time. -Disclaimer, it was in French.- I'll try another class, maybe a more advanced one and let you know if my impressions change, but for now I can certainly say, if you can stomach the 23€ (30USD) individual class price (first 'intro' class is 10€) and have good hearing, it's a really lovely place to practice.
39 Boulevard des Capucines
escalier B, 1 er étage
T. +33 (0)1 72 34 58 47
Metro: Madeleine (Ligne 8, 12, 14) or Opera (Ligne 3, 7, 8)
Price: 23€ a class (reduced 5 and 10 class passes available with time restraints)
Yoga Styles: Hatha, Ashtanga, Yin, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Prana Flow, Jivamukti
Languages: English and French (check schedule for availability)
Changing Rooms: 2 (separated by sex)
Secure Lockers: included in class fee, locks available at the front desk or bring your own
Mats: included in class fee
Pros - Bright beautiful everything, central location, teacher bio's on website, excellent reception and welcome.
Cons - Background noise makes it hard to hear, 23€ a single class (wow!).
Former San Francisco DNA wrangler and current Paris yoga teacher and mom. Sharing. Caution: Possibly too much.