If you practice yoga, the classes that some hotels offer can be frustratingly easy. But how do you find a challenging class in a foreign city? We did the work for you. Here, 25 top yoga studios in cities around the world. All welcome drop-ins and have English-speaking instructors. Namaste!
Named Boston magazine’s best yoga teacher of 2006, David Magone (www.insideyoga.com; $18) practices a style of his own invention: PranaVayu. An integration of Power yoga and Vinyasa flow, it breaks sequences down into accessible pieces. Magone, who currently teaches at Boston’s Sports Club L.A. and Exhale Spa, keeps the mood light and playful right up until the 15-minute meditation at the end of class.
Classes at Yogaview (www.yogaview.com; $15) are a hybrid of Ashtanga, Anusara, and Vinyasa flow. (Founders Tom Quinn and Quinn Kearney trained with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Richard Freeman, and John Friend, among others.) Meditation is a fundamental part of the curriculum here, with 10 to 15 minutes at the start or end of practice, depending on the instructor. The 1,300-square-foot studio has two rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows; come summer, Yogaview will move to a larger space two blocks away.
3. Los Angeles
It’s not hard to find a challenging yoga class in L.A. Two popular examples are YogaWorks (www.yogaworks.com), with five locations, and Power Yoga guru Brian Kest’s Santa Monica studio (www.poweryoga.com). The Hatha teachers at Liberation Yoga (www.liberationyoga.com; $10), on south La Brea, emphasize the spiritual sides of yoga as much as the physical. Your first class is free.
Word has quickly spread about the Miami Life Center (www.miamilifecenter.com; $18), which opened in November on South Beach. Founded by Kino MacGregor, one of the youngest women to complete the third series of Ashtanga (she recently started on the fourth with Guruji and Sharath), the studio has both "led" Ashtanga classes, traditional Mysore classes (where each student goes at his or her own pace), and a few Vinyasa classes. The Center has two practice rooms with bamboo floors, showers, changing rooms, and a large marble-floored lobby where students linger after class on oversize couches.
Located in South Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Yoga Workshop (www.mplsyogaworkshop.com; $15), attracts a loyal crowd. William Prottengeier, founder and director, teaches Iyengar with an emphasis on meditation. The studio also offers classes in Vinyasa, prenatal, and thundering years (for students 10 to15 years old). Print out the coupon on the studio’s Web site, and your first class is free.
6. New York
There’s a surfeit of good yoga studios in Manhattan (and in outlying boroughs). It all depends on what style you practice. For Vinyasa, go to Cyndi Lee’s Om (www.omyoga.com; $18); for Iyengar, head to the Iyengar Yoga Institute (www.iyengarnyc.org; $20) in Chelsea. Jivamukti (www.jivamuktiyoga.com; $17), recently opened an uptown studio on 65th St. and Lexington Ave., but its flagship downtown location is still going strong. At Rolf Gates’s Prana Power Yoga (www.pranapoweryoga.com; $17), classes are a mix of Power and Vinyasa Flow-the studio is heated to 90 degrees, allowing you to stretch deeply into pigeon pose.
Since 1987, when Rodney Yee founded the Piedmont Yoga Studio (www.piedmontyoga.com; from $10) with two fellow graduates of the B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Institute, the studio has grown in size and popularity. Today, there are more than 20 teachers who lead a mostly Hatha-based curriculum, with a few specialty classes such as restorative, back care (how to do yoga with a bad back), and Pilates mat.
The focus at Studio B (www.studiobwell.com; $15), an enormous space in Philly’s artsy Northern Liberties neighborhood, has long been Vinyasa. However, owner Jami Hogan-Gormley (email@example.com; 215/313-0089) recently introduced Ashtanga classes, including Ashtanga 101, for those who are new to the set sequences, and plans to have at least one Mysore class this spring.
9. San Francisco
At Yoga Tree (www.yogatreesf.com; $16), which now has four studios in San Francisco, you can take classes in Jivamukti, Iyengar, Forrest, Mysore, and just plain old Hatha. If you’re a fan of Power-yoga-disciple Rusty Wells, don’t miss his Bhakti flow class at the Castro studio on Monday nights.
10. Washington, D.C.
There are two studios at Tranquil Space (www.tranquilspace.com; $13) on Dupont Circle-the sky studio, with 15-foot ceilings and skylights and the sea studio, which is painted a soothing sea-foam green. Nonetheless, classes can be packed-especially the hour-long Express yoga at noon and at 5:15 p.m. Instructors, all of whom teach Vinyasa flow, are excellent, and the post-practice tea and cookies is a welcome tradition.
Run by Adrian Phillip Cox, Yoga Elements Studio (www.yogaelements.com; $16 [500 baht]), is easily Bangkok’s best studio. Cox trained with Cyndi Lee at Om in New York City as well as with gurus in India. Classesalmost all of which are taught in Englishare a mix of Vinyasa and Ashtanga. The studio, located on the 23rd floor of a downtown high-rise, has sunrise and sunset views.
12. Buenos Aires
It is a true challenge to find a yoga class that’s taught in English in the Argentinian capital. Luckily, even if you’re not a guest at the Faena Hotel + Universe, you can sign up for Sat Narayan Simrun Kaur’s Kundalini class (www.faenahotelanduniverse.com; $49 [150 AR]). Sat teaches each Wednesday, but if there’s demand, she’ll hold additional classes. She also teaches privately; a one-on-one 75-minute session is just $20 U.S.
The BKS Iyengar Yoga Centre (www.capetownyoga.com; $11 [R80]) is one of the larger Iyengar centers in South Africaand probably one of the most exquisitely located. The studio is set at the base of Table Mountain on the Atlantic coastline of the Western Cape; while you’re in tadasana, you can gaze seaward. Classes are taught by founder David Jacobs, who still makes annual trips to Pune, India, to study with 88-year-old B.K.S. Iyengar himself.
One of the only studios in Scandinavia where instructors teach Vinyasa yoga is Hamsa Yoga Studio (www.hamsayoga.dk; $18[100 kroner]). It also offers workshops on advanced back-bending and Thai massage. The Danish modern décorall-white and sparsely furnished with lotus-shaped lamps (by Danish designer Normann) and 18thcentury wall paintingsis oddly suitable for a yoga studio. If you request it, your class can be taught in English.
Appropriately enough, Triyoga (www.triyoga.co.uk; $22 [11£]) now has three branches in London: Primrose Hill, Covent Garden, and most recently, Soho. The center’s sterling reputation stems from its challenging classes, which run the gamut from Ashtanga to Restorative,and its holistic treatments such as acupuncture, naturopathy, and massage. At the Primrose branch, Triyoga has Pilates equipment sessions and a new organic café.
16. Mexico City
Located in D.F.’s upscale Polanco neighborhood, Agoralucis (www.agoralucis.com; $15 [160 pesos]) is a one-stop wellness center. In addition to a medley of yoga styles (especially Ashtanga and Kundalini), the center offers acupuncture, homeopathy, massage, Tai Chi, and Capoeira lessons. The enormous, light-filled space has five studios, three treatment rooms, and a beautiful Zen garden. Your first class is free.
Recently, yoga has become more popular in Italy, but it's still hard to find classes that are taught in English. If you're a practitioner of Ashtanga, however, it shouldn't matter, since the sequences will be familiar. Instructor Elena de Martin, who studied with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India and Eddie Stern in New York City, has been teaching in Milan for six years. Her classes at the Accademia Biosofica (www.accademiabiosofica.it; $20 ) and the Palestra Forte (www.palestraforte.it; $20 ) are popular with locals and expats alike.
Centrally located near the Marienplatz (and a four-minute walk from the Mandarin Oriental hotel), Airyoga Munich (www.airyoga.com; $54  for three classes) feels more like a high-end spa than a yoga studio. In addition to two large practice rooms, the 1,500-square-foot space has changing rooms, showers (use of towels, bathrobes, and Korres products included), and an Asian day spa where you can get a post-yoga Thai massage, Sundari facial, or pedicure. As at the Zurich outpost, all major yoga styles are available and classes are taught in English at your request. (The staff is multilingual.)
19. New Delhi
A whole guide could be written about yoga in India, but what if you don't want to attend a destination ashram in Rishikesh or the B.K.S. Iyengar Institute in Pune?The Yoga Studio (www.theyogastudio.info; $7 [300 RS]) in New Delhi's Hauz Khas neighborhood is a great spot for a drop-in class. Instructor Seema Sondhi teaches a 90-minute Ahstanga classes (in English) every day at 8:00 a.m. and then again at 9:30 a.m. There are evening classes, too.
Located in the shadows of Notre Dame (in the Fifth Arrondissement), Rasa (www.rasa-yogarivegauche.com; $27 )is a peaceful haven with immaculate white walls, dark wood floors, and slanted skylights that let in the sun. Vinyasa is the main tradition taught here, but there are also classes in Ashtanga, Mysore, and Yin. Check the online schedule for classes in English.
21. Phnom Penh
Australia native Isabelle Skaburskis has found a loyal following at NataRaj (www.yogacambodia.com; $8 [32 riel]), in the upscale, expat neighborhood of Boeng Keng Kang. Skaburskis teaches the little-known Nicky Knoff methoda mix of Ashtanga and Iyengar. Since there’s no air-conditioning, classes, taught on a tiled screened patio with ceiling fans whirring above, are also naturally great for loosening muscles.
If you practice Ashtanga, Yoga Space (www.ashtangayogaspace.com.au ; $14 [17 AUD]) is the place for you. Owner Fiona Parker is well loved as are her instructors, all of whom lead classes in the first three of Ashtanga’s six series. (You can also take a Mysore class.) The studio, centrally located in the Paddington neighborhood, smells of incense, and is decorated with Buddhas and fresh flowers.
Classes at BeYoga (www.beyogajapan.com; $25 [2,000 yen]), taught in both English and Japanese, are filled with locals and expats alike; the studio, located five minutes from the Roppongi Hills neighborhood, is near several international schools. BeYoga instructors practice ISHTA (Integrated Science of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda), a yoga style founded in the 1960’s by Alan Finger that emphasizes both alignment and asana. (For more on ISHTA, see: www.ishtayoga.com) U.S.-based teacher Jonas Westring will be leading workshops in Anusara and Thai massage in late April.
At Jivamukti Toronto (www.jivamuktiyoga.ca; $15 [$17 C]), formerly called Sage Yoga, classes are physically and mentally challenging-and often include music, chanting, and meditation. This window-lined studio, based downtown, has blond wood floors, 12-foot-high ceilings, and a spacious lounge. The center regularly invites guest teachers, such as Jivamukti founders Sharon Gannon and David Life to conduct in-depth workshops and classes.
At Airyoga (www.airyoga.com; $62 [fr75] for three classes), you can choose from 10 different yoga traditions, including Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Anusara. The Zen-like studio, which recently moved to the center of town near Bellevue Plaza, is large and light-filled, with changing rooms, showers, and a tea lounge. Almost all classes are taught in English.