As yoga climbs steadily in popularity, yoga studio chains like CorePower Yoga, YogaWorks, and Jivamukti continue to pop up and flourish across the country and beyond. Some folks scorn the studio chain the same way some scorn the supermarket chain, opting instead for the intimate, more personal vibe of the independently run studio as they would the local health-food store. But others love going to a yoga studio that offers lots of different class options and has a consistent brand so that no matter where you are, you know what to expect. Plus membership at one can often allow you to take classes at another location.
Whether you're traveling or just curious about these big players in the yoga market, here's the lowdown on some popular yoga studio chains:
Where: More than 20 locations throughout California, including Los Angeles, Berkeley, and San Diego. East Coast studios in Washington, DC, and Boston are on the way.
Flavor: CorePower focuses on body transformation and offers intense, strength-building vinyasa classes set to music that will make you sweat.
Styles: You’ll find a lot of power yoga at these studios, plus hot yoga, and even a Yin-inspired class or two. There are also a variety of hybrid classes that combine yoga with Pilates, Barre method, bike work, and more.
Where: More than 20 locations throughout California and New York.
Mission: YogaWorks puts emphasis on smart, skillful practice, and employs mainly seasoned teachers with several years of experience.
Styles: Though it is a predominantly Vinyasa-based studio chain, YogaWorks also offers everything from Iyengar to AntiGravity yoga, Kundalini, Spulptoworks TRX, and yoga for seniors. There are also YogaWorks signature classes, which emphasize alignment and precision.
Yoga at Equinox
Where: Dozens of locations on both coasts, including California, Boston, Connecticut, New York, and Florida.
Flavor: Equinox, a high-end gym, raised its yoga profile last year with two sexy videos featuring yoga teacher Briohny Smyth doing beautifully executed asana in very little clothing. Located mainly in urban centers, Equinox caters to a busy, professional clientele who want quality classes in a state-of-the-art fitness environment.
Styles: Equinox offers flow yoga, but there are some variations on the theme, including Deep Flow Soul Yoga and Stiff Guy Yoga. You’ll also see mellower classes like Yin on the schedule.
Where: Eight locations throughout British Columbia, including Vancouver, Whistler, and Burnaby.
Flavor: YYoga (created by music mogul and yogin Terry McBride and partner Lara Kozan) offers an all-inclusive environment with multitple classes plus wellness services such as massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic. Studios are fairly upscale, and include showers, tea, and towel service. Some locations have a sauna, too.
Styles: A wide array of classes are offered here, including the usual Flow and hatha classes, as well as signature “Yhot” and “Ywarm” classes and yoga classes that include hiking and indoor cycling.
Where: New York, San Francisco, Berkeley, Arizona State University (ASU)
Flavor: Yoga to the People was created as a response to the high-priced studios all over the country, both chains and independently owned. All classes are donation-based (except at ASU), and the yoga is open to everyone.
Styles: Mostly strong vinyasa classes, so be prepared to get warm and sweat. The focus is more on awareness and community in these classes than it is on precision and alignment in poses.
Where: New York, Charleston, London, Munich, Berlin, Sydney
Flavor: More spiritual in nature than most of the other yoga studio chains, Jivamukti Yoga, founded by David Life and Sharon Gannon, emphasizes that the practice of asana is a path to enlightenment. This core philosophy is expressed through five tenets of ahimsa (non harming, and adherence to veganism), bhatki (service), dhyana (meditation), nada (listening), shastra (study). The practice has a devoted following of known figures such as Russell Simmons and Kris Carr, and the studios host popular kirtan and other musical events.
Style: Open classes are self-paced and include asana, meditation, and spiritual teachings; Basics, which go through yoga asana fundamentals for four-weeks; Beginner Vinyasa; Spiritual Warrior, an hourlong fast-paced vinyasa class; and meditation.