I was determined to get my Ashtanga on in Playa del Carmen and with some friendly recommendations I found the best studios to practice yoga in, in Playa.
After feeling the benefits of attending yoga classes regularly in Puerto Rico, I made sure to research yoga studios in Playa del Carmen, Mexico for when we arrived. I was determined to get started as soon as we got there.
David Kyle and his lovely wife Elizabeth from ItsYogaPuertoRico had recommended YogaLoft - a gorgeous studio owned by the amazing Ashtanga yogi Michael Gannon. I have to admit, being new to the yoga world, I don't know the who's who in the yogasphere yet. Only later did I find out that both David Kyle and Michael Gannon are pretty big names in Ashtanga and Rocket yoga. So I'm grateful that I got to attend their classes. Anyway, Playa has a few yoga studios but there are two that I would recommend:
This studio is located between Avenida 10 and 15 (just a block above Avenida 5) and if you're staying in the heart of Playa (or in Playacar) it's really convenient to get to. It's a large school with two big spaces to practice yoga. It's right next to a parking lot (easy to park) and there is a bike rack out front to lock up your bicycle. Really, it's a beautiful space.
Inside there is a small shopping area where you can purchase mats, clothes, books, etc (including Michael's own line of yoga merchandise, Yoga Dealer). They also sells freshly made juices, coconut water, green juice and other healthy food for 25 to 50 pesos.
This is a mainly Ashtanga and Vinyasa school. Most of their classes are either Ashtanga, Vinyasa or Power Vinyasa. When I was there they offered one Sivananda class and one Yin Yoga class (though the schedule might change - you need to check their website). They're the only school that offers Ashtanga in Playa, last I checked.
I had paid 990 pesos (around €55 or $75) for a one month, one class a day pass which was great for me because I couldn't have made it more than once a day anyway. There are mats for rent for 15 pesos a day if you don't have one.
My favourite class was Michael's 'Follow the Leader'. It's almost like a led ashtanga class, except Michael does his Ashtanga practice and we follow along. Or try to! LOL! It was the first time I went for a full primary series class. I was a little scared at first but it all worked out well.
I really wanted to go for Michael's Intensive MySore practice but they weren't offering it in June when we were there.
As for the vinyasa class, Ellen de Jonge is an amazing teacher! I loved her vinyasa classes. She's light hearted, funny and so full of love. I met Elizabeth Gregg (the lovely yogini who took most of the photos I have of YogaLoft here in this post) and both she and Ellen were super open, friendly and inviting and made me feel welcome. I'm super grateful to them both and of course to Michael!
I have to say, the only thing that made me a little uncomfortable was the front desk. The girls were a little frosty but after a month they started warming up to me. However, it wouldn't hurt to be uhm... friendlier? :P hehe! Doesn't matter, you're there for the classes anyway!
Next up we have the beautiful Yoga District - located between Avenida 5 and 10, up on Calle 26N. It's on the third floor and there's a tiny pool which you may or may not swim in (hah! I never asked sorry!).
There is a big, bright studio space with a terrace to relax in before or after class. This space used to be called Yoga By The Way and was owned by Ellen de Jonge (who now teaches in YogaLoft). Her students now run the place.
Classes and Price
They only offer Vinyasa and Power Vinyasa classes here and I believe it's only 650 pesos (around €36 or $49) for unlimited classes a month. If you don't have a mat, you can use one of theirs for free.
This is a smaller establishment than YogaLoft, but it's cozy and possesses the same friendly, open, loving atmosphere that Ellen has in all her classes. Since I had already signed up for a month long pass in YogaLoft (and mainly because I wanted to practice Ashtanga), I only visited the District for a Masterclass with Laila Kuri and for a Vinyasa Class. Both which I enjoyed immensely.
Both these studios offer pretty intense yoga classes. If you're for something a little less intense, I believe there is a space called Palapa SUUK that also offers yoga classes like Hatha and Kundalini. Although I can't personally recommend it since I've never been.
Have fun with yoga guys!