GnG Does Portland Yoga Studios (Sweet Intro Offers Abound!)

I’ve never really considered myself a yoga person, but here I am – writing about yoga. Take it for what it’s worth because I’m possibly the un-yogi-est yoga lady in the whole world.

This year I made a conscious decision to get better about having a consistent practice. People do yoga for lots of reasons but mine are pretty simple: flexibility and sanity. Well-intentioned friends often try to steer me in the direction of fast-paced, loud-music “hip” yoga classes, citing my propensity to be competitive and maybe a little bit agro. Though I enjoy those kinds of classes on occasion, most often when I practice yoga I am looking for quiet and all the weird hippy crap that happens in more traditional classes or settings. I wanna get deep, man.

The best yoga class I’ve had all year happened in a Yin class in Bend, Oregon at Namaspa (where the intro offer is $29 for a month of unlimited yoga for new local residents). I’d always thought of Yin as boring, slow stretching – but the experience was intense almost to the point of being overwhelming. I went back for more. Here’s my take on a few Portland studios I’ve haunted over the past few years. Note that this list is SE heavy because, well, I live in the SE and these are all studios that I’ve chosen to try on my own accord and with my own cash. If you have thoughts, comments or suggestions for other great studios please chime in!

Yoga Union – SE Portland – $15 for 2 Weeks Unlimited

I’m back in Portland for a month or so, so I’ve started an intro offer with Yoga Union, just up the street from my house ($15 for two weeks of unlimited classes).  It’s a single-room studio, community-oriented atmosphere and diverse class offering from restorative Yin to cleansing Hot Yoga to more aggressive Prana Vinyasa. The hot yoga classes I’ve taken so far have been full but comfortably so – and the instructors helpful without being overbearing.

After a week of classes, I give this place a two-thumbs-up. Prices are mid range (One month unlimited at $120 or only $99 with a recurring debit set up, $15 for a drop in, about 5-6 classes offered daily). Changing room is tiny and overcrowded after class (and there’s only one toilet), but everyone there seems to make things work. This place feels very grass roots to me – I sense a lot of pride and ownership from the people practicing there. There are also a lot of white-ponytailed shirtless dudes.

BONUS: Free tea before and after. Large studio space. Yoga 101 for newbs. Super friendly vibe.
BUMMER: No super early classes (earliest 7am) and pretty full classes – arrive early! No lockers only cubbies.
READ MORE ON YELP

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Core Power – SE and NW Portland – FREE for 1 week Unlimited

My old standby for Portland yoga has been CorePower, which offers a week of unlimited yoga for free when you first start out. They have a studio in NW and one in SE – both are modern, clean and what I would describe as “fancy”.  I say this mostly because when I started my very first yoga classes at the NW location, I found a pair of Golden Goose boots in one of the cubby holes, which was my first indicator that I was totally fucking out of my league (I resisted the urge to steal the boots and pay my next mortgage :)

It’s part of a chain with locations in Colorado, California, Illinois, Minnesota and Oregon so you’re getting a pretty dialed-in program and in Portland you’re getting the advantage of two studios, one of which has two rooms -  for about 20 classes offered per day but you’re also getting the prices to match ($159 for a month unlimited, drop in at $18 – yikes! Consider a membership with recurring debit if you do yoga more than 3x per week).  I’ve enjoyed all the instructors I’ve had at both SE and NW locations. I found the NW location to be consistently full of primed, primped, Lulu-lemoned out super hot women so if you feel like rubbing shoulders with the beautiful people, this is a good place to do it.

BONUS: 6am classes, tons and tons of options for classes and special discounted half-price classes throughout the week (the woman at the SE location last time I was there also told me that the discounted classes were free to those who rode bikes, walked or used public transpo to get there – I’ll try to confirm this)
BUMMER: Luxury prices
READ MORE ON YELP

RACHEL’s Take – Another opinion on Core Power Yoga from the GnG staff:

I have really enjoyed my yoga time spent at Core Power. I went to day classes mostly and some night classes (those are always really busy-NW is not as busy as the SE at the evening classes). The thing I found most appealing about Core Power is that the hot yoga classes are slightly less hot than bikram and they offer 1 hour hot yoga classes and 1 1/2 hour classes. For me, someone who wants the heat and the work out but also wants to function after I go to yoga, the 1 hour is awesome. Also an hour and a half minimum is a lot of time to dedicate, I’m not always free for that much time to work out. So, I still get my ass kicked but I can do it in less time and I don’t have to sleep it off on the couch later.

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The Yoga Space – SE Portland – $20 for 1 Week Unlimited

I took one class at The Yoga Space last year with a few friends of mine so probably cannot comment on much other than first impressions: it’s small and community oriented offering Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Hatha, Kundalini, Yin, and Restorative. Prices seem relatively on par with other studios of this size ($120 for one month unlimited, $13 drop in, approx 5-6 classes per day).

BONUS: Classes scheduled with 9-5ers in mind: 6:30am for early risers and 5:45 / 7:30pm starts for after work wind-down. Community yoga classes on a sliding scale that starts at $5.
BUMMER: Small, so not as many options.
READ MORE ON YELP

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Yoga Shala – SE Portland – $21 for three classes, good for a month

I attended a few classes at The Yoga Shala several years ago and didn’t fall in love. Studios are fairly small in size and my overall impression was that this was serious yoga for seriously spiritual people. It was a little too much heady stuff for me, but I’m sure it’s perfect for lots of people. The introductory offer is not that mind-blowing compared to other studios but they do have a learning series that I wish had been around when I started out: 4 weeks of 2 classes per week, specifically focused on teaching yoga basics, introducing different kinds of practice and exposing you do different instructors ($75).

BONUS: Childcare available during some classes, specific pre-natal yoga available, cool beginner series offered.
BUMMER: This is sort of the yoga studio I feared when I went looking… seriously heady yoga peeps.
READ MORE ON YELP

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Belmont Yoga – Ellee Thalheimer Yoga for Cyclists and Athletes

I went to Ellee’s class as part of a story I was doing for the Oregonian about yoga and cycling so I’m not able to comment on this particular studio as much as on the work of Ellee herself. The class I attended was different than anything I’d ever experience and while I didn’t get to participate in the entire progression because I was also taking photographs, I was impressed with the casual atmosphere, cycling-specific focus on problem areas and the down-to-earth vibe of the other people in the class. All body types were represented and people wore gym shorts or sweat pants or… cycling messenger knickers. It didn’t matter – the point was in working on the body and having a good laugh while you were at it (Ellee is not only charming, she’s also very funny.)

This class is currently held on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:45pm. Check the Belmont Yoga website for more information or drop by Ellee’s personal site to learn more about her services (she’s a massage therapist too) and cool cyclotouring adventures.

On the List – Yoga Pearl

This place has been recommended to me by several people. It’s on the list. Sign up deal seems good: $20 for 2 weeks unlimited.

More reviews from Rachel*

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Peoples Yoga – NE Portland

I love The People’s Yoga, there are a really wide range of classes but the amazing thing is no matter if I’m in for a relazing yoga or a super tough session I always come out relaxed. You can pay $8 per class, $38 for a 5 time card, $70 for a 10 time card, or an unlimited monthly membership is $55 if you set up an auto payment. There are other deals as seen on their website. Also if you are spread thin in the cash department, they offer scholarships! $5 of every membership payment goes towards their scholarship fund. I love this place, it’s relaxed, and depending on the instructor you can get your spiritual on-or not. The instructors are really friendly, the studio is great also if you become a member you can get other benefits like bringing a freind for free once a month, and discounts on workshops and events.

READ MORE ON YELP

Hot Yoga for Life – NE Portland – $10 for 10 classes when you first sign up

Hot Yoga for Life A warning, this one is hot. The temperature is closer to that of a bikram style yoga and the classes that I have been to are pretty fast moving, in a good way. You get your workout in for sure. Also you get 10 classes for $10 when you first sign up. The studio is a good size, but there is only one which means there is only one class at a time. Some of the classes can get a little busy. Lots of sweaty people. A word to the wise, these hot yoga places can get a little intense. As in the people who consistently go are tough birds and so are the instrucors. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, it’s just good to know what kind of planet you’re landing on before you get there. Don’t be intimidated, these ones are the nice guys. Also if you’ve never done the hot yoga thing, drink water, don’t eat a ton before you go and don’t get down on yourself if all you can do is lie there and sweat for the entirety of the class. It takes time to get used to the heat.

READ MORE ON YELP

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Hook a Sister Up

Where do you practice? What do you like about it? What studios should I try when my intro is up at Yoga Union? Do you have experiences with the places above? Please chime in!

*Who the Hell is Rachel: Rachel kicks ass. She’s a part time studio assistant at Swift Plus Creative. As such, she occasionally pinch hits at the Grit and Glimmer blog. When I found out that she had some strong PDX yoga opinions, I asked her to chime in here. Look for her to bring an additional voice to the blog with a focus on recipes, test kitchen adventures and general Rachel-style awesomeness.

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8 comments

  1. I’ve done a few classes at both Core Power and you’ve nailed it. Fancy, and spendy, but really enjoyed the classes.

    I also did an intro month of Bikram at a studio on NE Fremont (they’ve since expanded to a 2nd studio on Alberta). I enjoy the temperature, but the Bikram practice gets stale for me, as it’s the same 26 poses. Challenging, enjoyable, but not good for a consistent practice for me.

    Thanks for this, i’m looking forward to trying yoga union and possibly the new cycling/yoga classes at Portland Bicycle Studio/Upper Echelon. Thoughts?

    • I’d love to make it to some of those classes at Upper Echelon – Julie Westlin-Naigus is a class act. Love her in general and guessing she’s a kickass yoga instructor. If I can fit one in, I’ll update!

  2. Spike Benjamin

    Great reviews that ring true for the studios here that I’ve visited first hand. Thank you.

    Here’s a shout for Sellwood Yoga (http://sellwoodyoga.com/). This studio is relatively new to Portland (they operate another in Bernal Heights-SF). The yoga for athletes class they offer on Monday and Thursday nights is just the ticket for any cyclist or runner — outcomes focused, serious instruction — and they have other classes that range from intense to beginner. They offer intro specials and a very welcoming, low-key atmosphere with a mix of students that doesn’t easily stereotype.

    • Sounds like a sweet spot, Spike. (Wow – alliteration!) I look forward to checking this studio out. Thanks!

      • Julie W-N

        I also teach at Sellwood Yoga and highly recommend it. P.S. Thanks for the call out SnarkyP. Would love to see you at an UEF class!

  3. also a newbie to the yoga scene, but have found a couple of classes i like. love the teaching style of these ladies—patient, not overbearing, and always ready with another layer of difficulty or challenge to throw into the pose.

    http://www.yogapearl.com
    an introductory rate of $20 for 2 weeks unlimited. i haven’t done a wide variety of the classes— the two i like are either sunday night yin yoga, or tuesday/thursday morning power vinyasa w/ nikki weaver. both are great (with entirely different end results…)

    for inexpensive classes, there’s a woman who teaches at 24-hour fitness in the pearl (marchond- mondays @7, wed/fri @ noon) who runs a great class. not the best environment with tvs and a room full of elliptical trainers on the either side of the glass, but…if you’ve already got a membership and are looking to keep costs down, this will do the trick.

    • Sarah,
      I do yoga at my 24 hour, too (Hollywood). Agree, it never really lets me get my zen on, but it’s definitely cheap. Haven’t fallen in love with any instructors there so the tip on the woman at Pearl is awesome. Sweet bike commute for me, too. :)

  4. Root is also great in NE. If Chia still teaches there, take her classes. Also, anything taught by Shanie Albers – she used to teach at Yoga Pearl, Root and maybe 24 hr Fitness too.

    There is also the Bhaktishop at SE Division/26th. Nice studio and good cheap/free class options if you can handle the extreme spirituality (I can’t).

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