Los Angeles has perhaps the highest number of yoga practitioners per capita outside of India, and the city proudly offers enough variations on the ancient philosophy to appeal to just about any demographic. Sure, one can study with rockstar instructors inside the mothership studios of Iyengar, Bikram, Hatha and Kundalini styles here. But for those searching for a truly unique experience, read on for our guide to alterna-yoga in Los Angeles.
Enjoy LA's pleasant year-round weather and take an outdoor yoga class. There’s nothing like doing a tree pose under palm trees, surrounded by hummingbirds and the occasional stare of a groundhog.
Located in one of LA's most popular hiking areas, Runyon Canyon Yoga has been offering donation-based yoga to a diverse group since 1999. Yogi Daniel Overberger leads classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10:30am. Sessions are open to all experience levels and take place at the Fuller Avenue entrance to Runyon Canyon Park (2000 N Fuller Ave, Los Angeles 90046).
For an "only in L.A." yoga location, Hollywood Forever (6000 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles 90038) hosts daily sessions on the Fairbanks Lawn, where Cinespia movie screenings take place. According to HF: "In Buddhist and Hindu teachings, the Graveyard, or Charnal grounds, is an auspicious place of practice where yogis must confront our mortal destiny, our fear of death, and our aversion to constant change."
The idyllic setting includes green grass, a sparkling reflection pool, and expressive geese. All experience levels are welcome. The sessions are donation-based and parking is free. For more info, visit the Hollywood Forever website.
Of course there’s plenty of waterside yoga, like the giant classes offered by Beach Yoga SoCal or sessions hosted by Friends of the L.A. River. For the added challenge of yoga on the water, stand up paddleboard (SUP) yoga may be just what the guru ordered.
YOGAqua - “where the ocean is your mat” - offers Floating Vinyasa Flow in Marina del Rey several days a week. Classes are 90 minutes, including paddle instruction on the shore, paddling through the harbor, 60 minutes of SUP yoga on the water, and then paddling back to shore. Group classes and private sessions are available. Basic knowledge of yoga is suggested, but not required.
Offering a wide range of online flow and alignment classes, Siesta Yoga also features a monthly in-person Modular Sound Bath at rotating locations like the upcoming Autumn Equinox New Moon.
Crumbs & Whiskers: Cat Yoga
Crumbs & Whiskers started with owner Kanchan Singh’s Kickstarter campaign and the dream of helping more shelter cats get adopted. The first Crumbs & Whiskers in Washington, D.C. did so well that she opened another location on Melrose Avenue in L.A. Crumbs & Whiskers partners with local rescues to house homeless cats (mostly ages six months to two years old) until they find their furever families.
During the 45-minute Cat Yoga class, you can do a Cat Stretch (Marjaryasana) or Lion Pose (Simhasana) surrounded by more than 20 cats, then spend another 15 minutes hanging out with the kitties! Pricing is $45, book your reservation at the Crumbs & Whiskers website.