I previously wrote a series of reviews on Palo Alto and South Bay yoga studios, but so much about the teaching staff and the studios have changed since covid hit in March 2020 (some have gone out of business, many have changed ownership and teachers,) that I thought I should start completely new with fresh perspectives now that things are opening up again.
YogaSource of Los Gatos
16185 Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos, CA 95032
I had heard of this studio from other yogis, who talked about how beautiful the physical practice space is. I finally made my way there and found an oasis of yoga and spin amenities. They have two yoga rooms, one for heated practice and one for unheated vinyasa and a spin room with Schwinn bikes. It’s worth noting that they do keep the door propped open for a period of time for fresh airflow, so if it’s cold outside, you might be cold in the unheated room. I would imagine that it feels amazing in the summer, but I was a bit chilly when I went to Linda Schlamadinger’s 75-minute vinyasa class. The class started off with some really great guided myofascial release with a tune-up ball and the sequence of the flow was well thought-out and interesting, although I would say it’s pretty accessible and easy. While this studio is in Santa Clara county, they allow you to take your masks off when you are on the yoga mat practicing. In fact, most of the students, and the teacher did not have their masks on when they were on their yoga mat (they only put them on when they moved around the studio.) I personally do not like wearing my mask at all when I’m working out so it was a relief to me that the studio operated this way, because as of February 2022, Santa Clara still had an indoor mask mandate. At the same time, the studio is spaced out enough that I didn’t feel like I was pushed up against anyone–I thought they did a great job keeping the studio available to yogis while maintaining the right level of covid safety precautions. If I didn’t live so far away, I would definitely give their 3-weeks new-student special for $59 a try.
1.) Showers, spacious, bright, airy, and welcoming feel
2.) Lots of free parking in their garage
3.) Felt like a community, people said hi to me and made eye contact, and I could see that the regulars were chatting and connecting before and after class
1.) For me personally, I didn’t find that the classes were challenging or advanced enough to warrant me going regularly, but I have been practicing regularly for nearly 15 years
Yoga Six Mountain View
555 San Antonio Rd Suite 37, Mountain View, CA 94040
The studio space at Yoga Six is really nice–it’s heated yoga, so you will get sweaty, but the heat isn’t oppressive. They have a really nice filtration system so it feels like a dry heat, and it definitely leaves you feeling refreshed and physically and mentally free after a sweaty practice. I would recommend you bring a full-length Manduka mat towel and a hand towel, since you will be very wet. They also offer a free first class if you sign up here. The studio has two unisex bathrooms / changing rooms and a few cubbies for you to store your things in the retail area, but the lounge area isn’t very big. Inside the studio, they use different colored lights and music to set the mood and after class, they hand out cold towels. I thought the small touches they added to the studio were really nice, and the class was packed (probably 40 people inside, mat-to-mat)–granted, it was the first weekend after Santa Clara lifted their indoor mask mandates. I think I saw about 2 people who continued to wear their masks to practice.
1.) Very friendly staff, great facilities, FloWater machine (my favorite!) really nice finishing touches to the experience (e.g. bathrooms have extra hair elastics, tampons, etc.)
2.) Actual studio space is nice and the ambience is great
3.) Easy parking at the San Antonio Shopping Center
1.) The studio and the practice itself is great, but for me, I am looking for a more technical / advanced kind of practice (which usually is in a studio that isn’t as hot, not that heat is a bad thing; it’s just that when it gets that hot and sweaty, you can’t really practice any arm balances because you’re slipping everywhere–I, and the most advanced yogi teachers I have practiced with, like to wear shorts so you don’t use the friction from your pants to compensate for core strength as much.) I did get a great workout, but their style is more pilates and yoga fusion, as opposed to vinyasa flow–so this “con” is more of a personal preference for me. I would absolutely go back, but I just have a preference towards classes that end up teaching you a new skill.
Hot 8 Yoga Santana Row
355 Santana Row Suite 1050, San Jose, CA 95128
This is a hot yoga / barre / fitness fusion studio near the shopping area Santana Row. I went to a barre class and a power yoga class there and they definitely heat the studio up pretty high–it’s one of those studios where you start sweating even if you are not moving (I think they keep their humidity pretty high so it seemed to feel a bit hotter because of that too.) It was one of the few times that I sweat so much, I had to replenish with electrolytes and actually felt dehydrated and light-headed after (and I am one of those people who does cardio and yoga every single day). Therefore, I would recommend that you do prepare with electrolytes before and after class, especially if you are taking their barre or sculpt classes. I saw many people have to leave in the middle of class to take a break from the heat. The facilities are nice, there are showers and free towels (which you will want to use), although the locker and shower area is a bit crowded in between classes. You will definitely want to bring your own yoga mat towel (they have them there as well, and they might be free to use or for a small fee.) There is also free parking right across the street from the studio.
1.) Very involved and friendly staff (they sent an email and text reminder before hand on what to expect and how to prepare for a heated class); two instructors I took classes with were engaging and good at what they did (they didn’t get left and right mixed up, etc.)
2.) The facilities are very nice (cold towels, free shower towels, etc.) The only thing I would change is make the locker room and changing area bigger. In between classes, it feels too packed. In addition, I had originally thought the floor of the room would be gross because it looked like it was a gray carpet, but it’s actually a rubbery porous surface. I wonder if they clean it periodically but it didn’t have a bad smell or anything from all the sweat.
3.) There are a wide range of classes to suit the intensity you want.
1.) For me personally, both the barre and yoga classes were too hot. I like moderate heat because it does loosen your joints but this studio has a “slip and slide” hot, where you really have to adjust to the heat and I felt that I couldn’t do as many of the strength poses as I would have liked to, because it was so hot. You have to want a very hot class to enjoy this studio. For some people, they love this level of heat, but it was a bit too high for what I want to achieve with my practice.
The following yoga studios were my personal favorites before the pandemic, but have unfortunately permanently closed. I blogged about them pre-covid here.
YogaWorks Palo Alto
(Formerly on 440 Kipling St, Palo Alto, CA 94301)
The entire YogaWorks chain filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of the pandemic and moved towards an online streaming only service. I really liked going to Nathalie Bakker’s classes because I was always pushed to learn something new. However, she seems to have moved away from the Bay Area and I don’t know if she is still teaching anymore.
Avalon Yoga Palo Alto
(Formerly on 370 California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306)
This studio abruptly closed one day. I was just there in late December 2021 and the owner was telling me to renew and get more passes, and then abruptly in mid-February, everything shut down, the website was taken down, and the students were not notified. I am not sure what happened, but I used to like practicing with Elena Milyukova on Sunday mornings.