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In Israel—a land where the question of lasting peace is always in the air—Tel Aviv offers a yoga scene that offers genuine hope. Known for its gay pride parade, world-class vegan cuisine, and a vibrant yoga scene, Tel Aviv is the home that I have found to be the most beautifully imperfect place on earth.
As an Israeli-American who grew up in Maryland, I moved home to Tel Aviv in 2012, and to this day the city has remained a majestic picture of honest contradictions. The city is bordered by soothing views of the Mediterranean Sea, yet home to troublesome politics, sporadic wars, and fiery, unapologetic personalities. Still, there is a dominant essence of cultural warmth, communal togetherness, and passion for life among the people who live there. What you might not know is that Tel Aviv, known globally for its cutting-edge tech sector, is a mixed playground of urban spirituality for young professionals, families, and creatives.
As a yoga teacher and writer, I see more and more Israelis no matter their age, race, or background seeking peace that comes from within. Yogis here are hungry for these moments of connection, calm, and quiet. These moments are gifts—not to be taken for granted—and they allow Tel Avivians to celebrate life in a more present moment. You can see this in the city’s dominant vegan movement or in the many people walking with yoga mats slung over their shoulders. You can see it in friends’ meetings at sunset, by the sea or in the parks, or in the many workshops, lectures, and awareness events going on all over the city.
For yogis visiting Tel Aviv, here are my recommendations for some of the many can’t-miss yogi destinations. These places have added a deep sense of gratitude to my life. I hope they will do the same for you.
Sup Yoga Tel Aviv at Hilton Beach
Sup Yoga Tel Aviv, located at Hilton Beach, is one of Tel Aviv’s most unique yoga experiences. With a season that begins in March and continues through November, Sup Yoga offers yogis the special occasion of connecting to nature. Above, an undisturbed slate of sunny skies; below, the ocean’s fluid waves. Sup Yoga offers a nearly perfect opportunity to feel the earth’s elements around while you practice. These sessions can also take a traditional yoga practice to the next level by stimulating one’s traditional sense of balance, strength and focus. In 2019, Sup Yoga Tel Aviv will offer workshops, trainings, and vacation packages. For more info, visit Sup Yoga Tel Aviv’s Facebook page.
Don’t miss …Once you’ve finished Savasana, make sure to catch the sunset gatherings on Hilton’s hilltop. Tel Avivians gather here to watch the sunset, play music, and end the day together mindfully with friends and strangers alike.
Yoga to the People
Perhaps you’ve heard the name before if you’ve practiced in New York City or San Francisco. Now, Yoga to the People—a strictly donation-based studio—has established its first international branch in Tel Aviv, Israel. Located inside one of Tel Aviv’s most urban, creative, and youthful hostels, Yoga to the People is a communal space that connects international visitors, immigrants, and locals through its open and welcoming community. The studio offers the familiar YttP flow as well as Holistic Vinyasa other flow classes. For more info, visit Yoga to the People’s Facebook page.
Don’t miss …The Abraham Hostel. The studio is located inside an artistic hostel filled with concerts, galleries, and community events.
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Ella Yoga is Israel’s largest yoga studio, located a few meters from the sea at Tel Aviv’s northern port. Open seven days a week, the studio offers a diverse schedule of Iyengar, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Integrative, Yin, and Yoga Therapy classes taught by some of the country’s most senior teachers. With a glow of natural light and high ceilings, this seaside studio is both aesthetically pleasing and simply put, one of the country’s most professional yoga establishments. For more info, visit ellayoga.com.
Don’t miss …The workshops. Ella Yoga hosts teachers from all over the world, including Gabriella Giubilaro, Maty Ezraty, Sean Corne, and more.
With seven different studio locations and more than 300 weekly classes, you will most likely find what you’re looking for at Studio Naim. “Naim” translates to comfortable or soothing, which portrays the cozy feel of each studio location. In addition to yoga, the studio also offers ballet, dance, Pilates, and more alternative movement and mindfulness classes. For more info, visit naim.org.il.
Don’t miss …Naim’s Florentine or Yafo locations. These neighborhoods are located in the more eclectic side of South Tel Aviv. If you go for a class here, make sure to walk around Shuk Hapishpishim or the Noga neighborhood for some great restaurants, bars, and shops.
Shook Hapishpishim & Shook HaCarmel
The Carmel Market and Shook Hapishpishim are can’t-miss stops and undoubtedly the best places to buy local fruits, vegetables, olive oil, hummus, and more. The busy markets personalize Tel Aviv’s Middle Eastern essence for an energizing and genuine experience.
Don’t miss …The Nahalat Binyamin Arts Fair that takes place every Tuesday and Friday on the street parallel to Shook Hacarmel. Tel Aviv’s arsty and craftsy minds create several yoga inspired pieces such as mandalas and jewelry out of crystals and stones.
Beach Front “HaTayelet”
Tel Aviv enjoys 318 days of sunshine per year, which makes going to the beach a must all year long. With 14 kilometers of beachfront to run along and 120 kilometers of bike paths throughout the city, Tel Aviv calls for an active and outdoorsy lifestyle. As you walk down the beach you’ll see Israelis playing volleyball, surfing, running, biking, and doing Handstands and other tricks.
Don’t miss …Jaffa beach and the Old City at the end of the boardwalk. This is a great spot for surfing, sitting with friends, having a picnic, and seeing some beautiful historic sights.
Urban Shaman is an organic, plant-based, gluten-free eatery located in central Tel Aviv. The café offers quality food with no processed sugar or additives, as well as a delivery service for its different juice cleanses and detox programs. One floor below the eatery is an urban healing oasis—a space that offers holistic workshops, hands-on treatments, an infrared sauna, yoga classes, and events like full moon or cacao ceremonies. For more info, visit urbanshaman.co.il.
Don’t miss …the cacao shake or cacao super bowl.
Located in the picturesque Neve Tsedek neighborhood, Meshek Barzilay is a beautiful, ivy-covered home of vegan delight. With the restaurant and take-away deli side by side, Meshek Barzilay is one of the tastiest farm-to-table choices in the city. The food is vegan, organic, and natural—and Meshek also offers a separate menu based on each season’s produce. For more info, visit meshekbarzilay.co.il.
Don’t miss …The Meshek Breakfast, which is a fresh take on a classic Israeli breakfast. It comes with a hummus omelet or tofu scramble, an assortment of dips including vegan tzatziki and vegan cheese, and a vegan muffins.
For quaint café lovers like me, Haminiya (which means sunflower) is the perfect place to spend your day working from your laptop or reading a book. The café sells one-of-a-kind books about plants, yoga retreats around the world, and more, and also sells succulents and naturally-made household goods. There are also delicious and abundant vegan and vegetarian food options. For more info, visit Haminiya’s Facebook page.
Don’t miss … a side of Spirulina tahini, their ocean blue charcoal latte or the breakfast tray.
For such a small country, Israel has the most relative amount of vegans per country in the world. At this chef’s restaurant you’ll find a completely vegan menu of deluxe and colorful dishes. Perfect for a midday lunch or dinner with health-inspired cocktails, Bana is a great stop to make if you’re in Tel Aviv’s well-known Rothschild Boulevard. For more info, visit banatlv.com.
Don’t miss … the quiche, summer gazpacho or the “This is not a burger, burger”.