Since when did practising yoga become all about the selfie? You know the ones… toned, lean bods perfecting handstands beach side in itsy-bitsy bikinis. I mean, come on. Little do these yoginis know that the age-old practice of yoga has never been about looks and flexibility; it’s about the breath, movement and (cliché maybe), shining your epic light. With that in mind, we went on the hunt for the four most authentic, down-to-earth and friendly yoga studios on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Here you can practice without judgment so the real benefits of yoga can begin. Get ready to perfect those Oms. Namaste.
Qi Health & Yoga, Manly & Freshwater
One of Sydney’s most prestigious teacher training academies, Qi Health & Yoga ensures all its teacher trainees study for a minimum of 420 hours. That means you can be rest assured you’re in safe, knowledgeable hands. Based in Manly and pretty-as-a-picture Freshwater, the studios – three rooms in all – are lovely and light-filled with carpet and loads of props (blocks, bolsters, eye pillows, straps). Remembering students’ names is part and parcel to the vibe here, and they offer more than 100 classes each week (from yummy restorative sessions to juicy vinyasa flows). Newbies can try the 10-day five-class pass for just $25.
Breathing Space Yoga, Avalon
Say her name around the Beaches and most yogis will know who you’re talking about. A level three teacher, Denby Sheather is one of the leading therapists at Breathing Space Yoga in Avalon and she offers full moon goddess circles (we love them!), private healing sessions and Mana Yoga classes, a heart-opening practice that works with all layers of self and wellbeing. It’s an eco studio that is designed with the concepts of feng shui in mind, and it’s puppy-friendly too, so you can bring your pooch along if you wish. Denby’s 1.5 hour restorative yin yoga class on a Sunday afternoon is one of the most talked-about classes on the peninsula. Get yourself there, but shh… keep it hush hush.
Modern Movement, Mona Vale
The power yoga trend took off really fast when Power Living came to town. But the guys behind Modern Movement in Mona Vale are doing things differently: while some classes are still heated for a super-sweaty power vinyasa flow (if that’s your jam), the studio also runs chilled-out yin classes where you can slow it all down and prenatal classes for mamas-to-be. A fresh, minimalist feel with floorboards and crisp white walls makes the space inspiring and understated. The music can often have quite a bit of funk to it (it’s named ‘Modern’ for a reason) and they run workshops regularly, such as meditation and sports recovery yoga. You can try a two-week intro pass for $25.
Yoga & Health Collective, Mona Vale
Around the corner from Modern Movement is Yoga & Health Collective. A more traditional-based studio set in a beautiful space, owners Yolande and Kat offer everything from teen yoga courses and easy hatha classes to pilates and free community mantra meditation classes. Yolande specialises in seasonal yoga and her seasonal hatha classes are a must-try. There’s loads of natural therapies on offer here, too, including acupuncture and kinesiology. Pick up the two-week unlimited intro pass for $29 and post class grab a chai latte or coffee close by at Blacksmith Café.
Words by Kristy Barratt