San Francisco Yoga

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San Francisco yoga is the father of all American yoga societies. One of the first American cities where the practice of yoga really took off was-surprise! -the culturally trend-setting city of San Francisco. Today there are yoga studios in every corner of town to practice your downward facing dog in. Here's our guide to some of the best in San Francisco.

San Francisco Yoga: Funky Door Yoga

1334 Polk Street (between Pine and Bush Streets) (415) 673-8659 Funky Door Yoga

Hot-both literally and figuratively-Bikram yoga studio sees it temperature rise past 110 degrees while students are in practice, so if you don't like to sweat, take up another type of yoga! Bikram is an incredibly popular practice that lubricates bones and strengthens the immune system while giving you an incredible workout, and Funky Door offers its clientele some of the most strenuous and buzzed-about Bikram yoga classes in all the city. All classes are 90 minutes long, with six classes being held throughout the day Monday through Friday, and four classes being held throughout Saturdays and Sundays. Newcomers beware-there are no introductory classes offered at Funky Door, but all classes available are suited to both newbies and old pros. There are additional Funky Door locations throughout the Bay Area-consult the official website for addresses and phone numbers.

Greenpath Yoga Studio

2242 Lombard Street (at Pierce Street) (415) 775-7545 Greenpath Yoga

Studio specializes in teaching the practice of Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga, not to mention pre and post-natal and beginners yoga. Classes are offered throughout the day, seven days a week, and private, personally arranged instruction is also available. Massages are also available after yoga classes, all of which have to be booked by appointment through the official website. For those who are unemployed or a member of the armed forces-discounts wait you at Greenpath!

The Mindful Body

2876 California Street (at Broderick Street) (415) 931-2639 The Mindful Body

This "center for movement, body work, and personal inner work" provides classes in Ananda, Hatha, Astanga, meditative, restorative, and pre and post-natal yoga, plus introductory and integrative therapy yoga. Members get nice discounts-for instance, drop-in classes are only $12, with huge savings also offered on class cards and unlimited classes. In addition to yoga, The Mindful Body offers acupressure, acupuncture, Reiki, and deep tissue, orthopedic, Swedish and Shiatsu massage. Simply put, this is your one-stop place for getting your body back in order. There's also a highly regarded yoga teacher training program offered, plus books and yoga supplies for sale in the Mindful Body gift shop.

San Francisco Yoga: Satori Yoga Studio

401 1st Street (at Mission Street) (415) 618-418 Satori Yoga

Enormous downtown San Francisco yoga and pilates studio (3,000 square feet!) is very popular with the 9-5 crowd working in the area, many of whom sneak out of the office at various times of the day for a good long stretch. Classes are offered every day of the week in a variety of different types of yoga, including Flow, Iyengar, Ashtanga, and Universal, and the rates are solid-you get your first three classes for $30, drop-ins only cost $14, and you can buy economical class cards in different payment increments. Satori also offers its customers free mats and towels, so there's no need to worry about lugging a lot with you into the studio!

Yoga Loft

321 Divisadero Street (at Page Street) (415) 626-5638 Yoga Loft

Visitors are promised "a place for movement" at Yoga Loft, with daily classes in an enormous variety of yoga practices, including Iyengar, Vinyasa, and Ashtanga, as well as highly specialized back and neck care classes. There's also instruction offered for beginners and entire families! The practice studio is naturally lit and absolutely massive-I took a class here once that easily had 30 people in it, and not once did I feel hemmed in or crowded. Teachers are focused and intense-don't feel awkward if one singles you out and corrects your posture in a pose-they're just trying to make sure you perfect your practice as soon as possible. Funky Door also offers special events and workshops that focus on specific areas of the body, as well as deeper, intensive studies of certain types of yoga, including Asana and Pranayama.

Yoga Tree

519 Hayes Street (between Laguna and Octavia Streets) (415) 626-9707 Yoga Tree

"San Francisco's premier yoga center" offers over a dozen different types of practice to take up, including Hatha, Anusara, Bhakti Urban Flow, Alignment in Vinyasa, Iyengar, restorative, and pre-natal. If you are new to yoga and have never taken a class before, have no worry-there are yoga 101 classes that teach you all the basic poses and breathing methods involved in the ancient art. All in all, there are over 100 (!) classes offered each week, and the spacious practice areas guarantee you won't feel cramped or claustrophobic while stretching out. Private instruction is also available for those who feel they've hit a wall in their yoga practice and need to move deeper. Visit the official website above for class times, rates, instructor bios, and addresses for additional Yoga Tree locations.

Iyengar Yoga - "Pay What You Can Afford"

Graduate Iyengar Yoga Institute

Tuesday Evening Donation Yoga - James Howell Studio, 6:00 - 7:30 P.M., 66 1/2 Sanchez Street (Duboce Park Area between Duboce Park & the Castro), San Francisco

Wednesday Evening Donation Yoga - Goat Hall, 6:30 - 8:00 P.M., 400 Missouri (corner 19th St.) on Potrero Hill in San Francisco

San Francisco Yoga