Lake Tahoe studios take yoga to the shore, the sand and the SUP
June 16, 2014
Editor's note: This story originally appeared in the summer edition of Tahoe Magazine, available now throughout the Lake Tahoe and Truckee region.
Yogis around Tahoe are trading the unrolling of mats for the laying out of towels as more and more yoga classes move out of studios and onto the sand.
Beach yoga brings a new perspective to yoga, and we don't just mean the breathtaking views of the lake. Sand alters balance and makes some poses easier, like headstands, and others much harder, like balance, said Jenay Aiksnoras of Lake Tahoe Yoga in Zephyr Cove.
Taking the balance challenge even further are the studios offering stand-up paddleboard yoga right on the lake. Beginning in July and August, the classes invite yogis to test their balance and also enjoy the occasional fall into Lake Tahoe's cool water.
With all the playing going on this summer, recovery and healing will be just a part of the fun.
Below are some studios around Lake Tahoe and Truckee that offer cool new programs to enjoy the heat of the day, the blue of the lake and a centering practice of yoga among the mountains.
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1. Mountain Lotus Yoga
Location: 760 North Lake Blvd., Tahoe City
After a 30-minute warm up in the studio, Mountain Lotus in Tahoe City takes students out on paddleboards for a full one hour of SUP yoga on the lake. And if the sun isn't hot enough, this studio offers hot yoga as well — 26 poses in 90 minutes in a room heated to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or Vinyasa classes at a comparatively cooler 80 degrees. Mountain Lotus is located right on the lake in Tahoe City, so whether you're on your SUP or in the studio, you'll be able to breathe deeply and soak in the spirit of the lake.
2. Tahoe Yoga and Wellness Center
Location: 10770 Donner Pass Road, Truckee
Local AcroYoga guru Laura Green offers partner yoga classes at Tahoe Yoga and Wellness Center for those looking to share their practice with a friend. Often called the "Yoga of Trust," this style mixes aspects of acrobatics, healing arts and yoga and lends itself to deep stretching, a sense of give and take and belly laughs. This early evening Acro class has become a great place for yogis to meet before heading to Truckee Thursdays. And for those looking to start a day of biking, hiking or outdoor play with full, expanded lungs, instructor Priya Hunter offers an early morning breathing course at the wellness center.
3. Lake Tahoe Yoga Studio, School & Retreats
Location: 100 McFaul Way, Zephyr Cove
The soft sand on the South Shore offers great new balancing challenges for yogis as well as an easier way to practice inversions such as the headstand or shoulder stand. And even bigger challenges to balance come on the stand-up paddleboards out on the water at Zephyr Cove. Jenay Aiksnoras of Lake Tahoe Yoga Studio offers beach and SUP yoga starting in June and stretching through September. Group packages for bridal and bachelorette parties, birthday parties and girl weekend getaways are available throughout the summer. But since private classes book up quickly, the studio recommends reserving three to four months in advance.
4. Tahoe Wellness Center
Location: 695 Wolf St. # 2979, Kings Beach
Founded by a couple dedicated to spreading wellness, Tahoe Wellness Center is a healing center housing chiropractics, yoga, tai chi, massage and acupuncture. Dr. Lily Kuehne and her husband Mark know the healing nature of nature and hold many yoga classes in the center's sand garden during summer months. While breathing into your downward dog or balancing in tree pose, you can enjoy the soothing sounds from Griff Creek as it runs through the property and adds another relaxing element to the outdoor class. During July and August Tahoe Wellness Center takes classes off the sand and onto the water for their SUP yoga at Kings Beach.
5. Wanderlust Yoga Squaw Valley
Location: The Village at Squaw Valley, Olympic Valley
An annual must-do for many yogis of many levels is Squaw Valley's Wanderlust Festival. This four-day festival of music, art, meditation and celebration is hosted by Squaw's home studio by the same name. This year's Wanderlust takes place July 17-20 and brings big names in yoga such as Rod Stryker, Gabrielle Bernstein and local teacher Holly Hust. Musicians Manic Focus, DJ Krush and Reno-born group the Mark Sexton Band are a few of the musicians scheduled to play while practitioners pose against the backdrop of Granite Chief Peak or Broken Arrow.
6. High Altitude Fitness
Location: 880 Northwood Blvd., Incline Village
In an effort to bring the fitness aspects of the gym to the outdoors, High Altitude Fitness added an outdoor park last summer so locals and visitors could get a good sweat in the sun. Being such a hub for climbers, the fitness center also offers yoga classes geared specially toward the sore shoulders, arms and wrists, so many granite-hungry climbers can ease their pain. The gym also offers a free community class Friday mornings at 8 a.m. behind Adrift Tahoe in Kings Beach. The Vino and Vinyasa event and Yoga in the Park with local DJs are some summer events that have become popular with locals and tourists alike.
7. The Yoga Co-Op
Location: 13406 Donner Pass Rd., Truckee
Hold your half-moon pose while watching water skiers skim the shore or paddleboarders glide by with ease. The newest place to practice is the Yoga Co-op on Donner Lake. The Co-op hosts yoga on the docks and hikes on Donner as well. Experienced instructors Kate Leist and Kathy Albers opened the co-op in March with the concept that all instructors rent the space together, allowing a financial benefit for teachers and lower prices for students. Drop in classes are offered for $10, and weekly community classes cost 5. The space doubles as space for nutrition and wellness discussions that align with the co-op's philosophies.