Can we get this straight, once and for all?!? Hatha Yoga is NOT A style of yoga! It is, however, any of the physical practices of yoga, including the most common physical practices of yoga; the asana (postures) and pranayama (life force/breath control or restraint). Therefore, it is fair to say that almost any yoga class you go to will be some form of Hatha Yoga. What you should consider is what style of hatha yoga class will you attend?
Charlottesville, Virginia and the surrounding areas, located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, some of the oldest mountains on the planet, definitely attracts spiritually-minded people and is lucky to be home to some incredible yoga teachers and schools. We have listed them in alphabetical order as they all have something to offer in the style of yoga that they provide.
Believe it or not, Charlottesville has some fantastic yoga at our local athletic facility, ACAC. ACAC has been part of the yoga community since the mid 80’s and blossomed when an experienced yoga teacher, John Piller, took over the yoga program.
John teaches Vinyasa classes most mornings during the week, if you are looking for a strong physical practice. If you are looking for some Yin Yoga to counterbalance the Yang, definitely check out, Marla Cantor’s regular Yin Yoga classes on Thursday evenings or Sunday mornings.
2. Ashtanga Yoga of Charlottesville
Ashtanga Yoga is a challenging series of poses linked together in a sequence and practiced every morning as they do in Mysore, India, the birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga. “Mysore Style” classes are not how we would recommend a beginner start their yoga practice, but Jennifer Elliott’s classes are highly recommended for a challenging practice with a heaping side of Love.
Jennifer was one of our first teachers in Charlottesville almost 20 years ago and she had already been practicing Ashtanga Yoga for at least that long back then. Jennifer currently only teaches morning Mysore class, if you are up for it, otherwise check out a class with one her many experienced yoga teachers, who were inspired by the feminine grace and power that Jennifer embodies in her yoga practice .
3. Bend Yoga
Bend’s motto is “where yogis are born”. And we love that owner, Kelly Cox, along with her experienced teachers, are the place to go for Prenatal & Post Natal Yoga as well as yoga classes for children 6 weeks to 9 years of age.
Bend ensures that the studio is free of any hint of chemical that might interfere with a pregnant mom and her growing baby. And they share information on pre and post natal resources and support on their website. They even host baby showers in the studio!
4. Common Ground Healing Arts
Common Ground Healing Art’s mission is to “improve wellness throughout our community by expanding opportunities for accessible complementary health care, with a focus on evidence-based practices such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and massage.” Common Ground is conveniently located right downtown in a gorgeous, renovated space in the historic Jefferson City Center.
Common Ground hosts workshops with Senior Teacher, Kofi Busia, annually but consider treating yourself to a day of a yoga and meditation classes complemented by an acupuncture treatment or a massage! Choose any day of the week that suits you (except Sunday) as Common Ground is open 9-6 M-F, and 9 -2 on Saturdays.
5. Hot Yoga Charlottesville
Hot Yoga typically gets a lot of press which, unfortunately, has to do with the originator of the style, previously known as Bikram Yoga. Hot Yoga Charlottesville has been one of the most popular studios in Charlottesville since they opened in 2004. This style of Hatha Yoga is sought after because the increased heat in the room gives your body more flexibility to access the 26 poses in the Hot Yoga repertoire. Enter at Your Own Risk, but know that Owner, Lizzie Collier Clark, will take care of you through every sweat-soaked session.
6. Iyengar Yoga of Charlottesville
The Iyengar Yoga Studio in Charlottesville is the oldest yoga studio in town and has weathered the ups and downs in the yoga market with steadiness and grace. Iyengar Yoga teachers are some of the most rigorously trained yoga teachers in the world.
Iyengar Yoga is highly recommended as a place to start your yoga practice to begin to learn the alignment of the poses in a thoughtful and methodical way. You will be invited to practice a unique sequence with a great deal of attention to the individual.
If you have any questions about ways to modify for chronic injuries or to prevent injuries, this is your place. AND you can practice yoga using the assist of a rope wall!
7. Opal Yoga
Opal Yoga’s motto is “Charlottesville’s First Vinyasa Yoga Studio”. The word vinyasa means to “put or place in a special way” so many styles of yoga which use a particular way of sequencing the poses could be named Vinyasa. And Vinyasa is usually attributed to it’s roots in the Ashtanga Vinyasa lineage.
Opal does offer All Vinyasa All the Time and many of the classes incorporate music. Opal Yoga also hosts a 200 hour teacher training with studio owner, Karen Thomas, and another popular Vinyasa yoga teacher, Liz Reynolds.
8. A Place to Breathe
Tucked away in a non-descript shopping center in downtown Ivy, Virginia, is a little sanctuary and one of the only places you can practice Kundalini Yoga in the Charlottesville area. The first yoga classes we ever attended were at a local YMCA and the teacher taught Kundalini yoga. She wore a white turban and she sat at the head of the class and instructed us to practice poses which were similar to yoga poses in the modern repertoire, but we often practiced them with advanced pranayama practices like Kapalabhati or we beat our fists on the floor with our legs in Urdhva Prasarita Padasana – Upward Extended Foot Pose. A Place to Breathe offers retreats and teacher trainings in Kundalini Yoga.
9. Simply Yoga
Barb Germershausen of Simply Yoga was the teacher in the first class we stumbled into when we had just moved to Charlottesville in 2002. It was a new style to us, but we quickly learned that Barb was teaching Integral Yoga, which is a style that derives from the Sivananda lineage of Yoga and was developed by a student of Sivananda, Sri Swami Satchidananda. Satchidananda started the yoga ashram, affectionately called Yogaville, in Buckingham County, Virginia.
Integral Yoga permeates the Charlottesville yoga community and with over 30 years of teaching experience, Barb is a lovely example of a teacher in this lineage. Barb teaches privates and regular group classes at her studio, Simply Yoga, on the historic downtown mall.
10. Union Yoga
Union Yoga offers seasonal retreats as well as yoga for special events taught by two experienced practitioners. Lilly Bechtel teaches Kripalu and Trauma Sensitive Yoga as well as hosts retreats on Yoga & Writing. Sara Agelasto is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher and Certified Yoga Therapist and offers retreats using her experience as a Clinical Herbalist and Traditional Thai Massage Practitioner. Classes are held in their gorgeous yoga studio in Ivy, Virginia and they specialize in yoga for weddings and special events, either at your unique location or theirs.