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.
Like you, I'm discovering the world of yoga in Paris. Perhaps unlike you, I can teach myself a decent yoga class. Yes, it's great for me to get to a studio class with a really good professor, who gives me a different perspective on alignment in a certain pose, or who does a great sequence that I can 'borrow' for my classes, but I'm loathe to pay 20€ for a class that isn't as good as the one I can teach myself, and it really is hit or miss here. My solution to this problem is to check out different studios and teachers in Paris with introductory rates. At some point, I will have used up all my trial classes or 'cours d'essai' and will have to pay (but will probably have figured out the yoga scene, and with whom I'm willing to pay to take classes with) but for now, I'm still milking it.
This weekend was no exception. Ashtanga Yoga Paris had an open house on Sunday, and I took the opportunity to check out their studio. The vinyasa 'class' I took was a little less than half an hour, and although it wasn't bad, I won't attempt to review the teacher, it just wouldn't be fair.
The studio itself is very cute. They have 2 useable rooms with nice wood floors well equipped with all the necessary accoutrements, blocks, straps, wedges, blankets, one of which has a glass ceiling to let the sunshine in. It was clean and not at all smelly after non stop all day use -a good sign. Like many of the studios, it's key code accessible, and has its own ground floor courtyard entrance. It's not super luxurious, but that just makes it all the more attractive for us normal yogis. It's created and run by an extensively trained husband wife couple who, in addition to teaching classes to the public, offer teacher trainings. I had seen their studio mentioned somewhere before, but never made it to a class, mostly because their pricing scheme seems complicated. A 20€ yearly subscription to buy multiple class passes or a monthly/weekly/yearly unlimited pass, mats are available for an additional weekly/monthly/yearly fee. Beginner classes are priced differently than Restorative, which are priced differently than 1.5hr classes, and they even offer 1hr classes, but the prices for those aren't found on their 'tariffs' page. Sounds complicated!? I think so too.
If you've been practicing mysore every morning, and just moved (are moving) to Paris, this is likely a great place to practice. Make sure to find an apartment near the Bastille. If you're visiting Paris (or just moved here) and want to take a class or two (a week), it's probably not the most flexible place to take a class, though, if you're in the same building, and it's convenient, they do have 'visitor' pricing. They also apparently have classes in English, but I couldn't find them on the schedule.
Ashtanga Yoga Paris
40 Ave de la Republique
+33 1 45 80 19 96 or +33 6 20 38 25 72 or +33 6 22 32 52 16
Metro: Parmentier (Ligne 3)
Price: 22€ for a 1.5h visitor class (otherwise complicated)
Yoga Styles: Ashtanga, Mysore, Yin/Restorative, Vinyasa
Languages: English? and French
Changing Rooms: yes
Secure Lockers: no
Mats: 2€ supplemental
Water: (and tea) 2€ a bottle (cup)
Pros - Two practice rooms, very well educated teacher co-founders still teaching at their studio, seemingly not stuffy or elitist with a neighborhood-y feeling.
Cons - Complicated pricing that requires yearly 'dues' and encourages unlimited class pass purchases and classification levels.
The day after I arrived in France, I decided to skip a movie with friends, and take a juicy yoga class. Who needs to see a movie in your native tongue after being immersed in 10 different languages in 6 months. I just wanted to lay down my mat on a clean floor and breathe. I found a studio in central Paris that was English friendly, and I was on my way! It happened to be in July, the 15th, so I looked up the schedule online, chose a class and showed up, only to be told that that class was cancelled, there was no replacement teacher, and there was certainly no apology. It was the summer time. And though it took me another year to fully comprehend, I now get it (I think). It was vacation time, and during vacation time, Paris is a wasteland, schedules are reduced, restaurants are closed, flower shops are shuttered possibly all of July and probably all of August. It's a phenomenon, and I know your French isn't great, but call anyway, just to make sure. Just say "parlez-vous anglais" they speak English.
Months and months later, after a broken arm, many too many surgeries, and lots of pain, I finally took my first yoga class at Rasa. It was great, the teacher was kind and understanding, and spoke perfect English and French. The studio is in a beautiful space, and according to reviews, one of the best in the world. It's hidden behind a huge old French wooden door that opens to a secluded courtyard. Tranquility is part of the experience. But it's also 'one of the best yoga studios in the world' and it knows it. Once you get buzzed in and make your way to the studio, you're greeted by a serenely decorated space, with antique-y hindu deity statues, a rattan floor, a tastefully integrated yoga gear shop, a no shoe policy (didn't you know) and a Parisian at the front desk. The 2 yoga rooms are nicely sized, (one being larger than the other) clean, have lovely wooden floors, and lots of natural light. There are proper bathrooms, large changing rooms with lockers and keys, and even a couple of massage rooms for your after yoga 'detente'. It is not 'populaire' by any means, and I might expect to see a celebrity one day, if I didn't know they took private classes. But I'm certainly not complaining that I'm not next to 'that' guy/gal who forgot his/her deodorant (bath) today (this week).
Rasa Yoga (rive gauche)
21 rue Saint Jacques
+33 (0)1 43 54 14 59
Metro: St Michel (Ligne 4) or Cluny La Sorbonne (Ligne 10)
Price: 22€ a class (reduced 10 and 20 class passes available)
Yoga Styles: Hatha, Mysore, Ashtanga, Yin, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Alignment (formerly Anusara), Mommy and Me
Languages: English and French (check schedule for availability)
Changing Rooms: 2 (not separated by sex)
Secure Lockers: included in class fee
Mats: included in class fee
Showers: yes (towels for hire or bring your own)
Water: (bottled, room temp) - $$
Pros - Two practice rooms, clean, bright, amply sized changing rooms, showers.
Cons - A little musty after a sweaty class, changing rooms not separated by sex, website has teacher first name only with no bio's or links.
Former San Francisco DNA wrangler and current Paris yoga teacher and mom. Sharing. Caution: Possibly too much.