Downward Dog in Paris: Yoga Centers in the City

Downward Dog in Paris: Yoga Centers in the City
Yoga is all the rage not only in the United States but now in France with yoga centers popping up everywhere in Paris. Classes are being offered in a wide range of venues and locations from posh spa-like centers to free yoga classes in the Tuileries Garden. During the summer months you can get on your mats on the roof of BHV or the Maison Blanche and be treated to spectacular views of Paris. The possibility of combining the health benefits and the relaxation of yoga to your vacation plans in the City of Lights is as easy as “Om”. In fact, it is a perfect match. What could be better than to balance a highly charged week of sightseeing with one or more yoga sessions? A good place to begin is by perusing the website Yogateau. In one convenient location is a plethora of information on yoga in Paris. They have compiled an excellent list of the majority of studios with their addresses, telephone numbers and their mètro stops. They also let you know if the center offers classes in English. For example, BeYoga in the 14th advertises that all of their teachers are fluent. Plus, most of the instructors on staff at Yoga Yoga in the 7th and Paris Yoga in the 8th are either fluent or they have a good grasp of English. If your interest is to have more of a spa experience, I suggest le Tigre Yoga in the 16th. Le Tigre has a hammam and provides a variety of massage work and holistic therapies including Ayurvédique and Shiatsu treatments. A lovely vegetarian Café has opened in this center where all of their dishes are prepared with only fresh organic produce. Another nice perk, for those of you visiting Paris with your little ones, is that this center offers yoga for children. Cost is often a factor, particularly when traveling on a budget. Therefore, let me introduce you to the Meetup Group, Affordable Yoga in Paris, founded in January of 2013. Their goal is simple: they wish to make yoga and fitness affordable for everyone who would like to stay fit, re-start their practice or just give it a try. The instructors are fully qualified through Yoga Alliance. The cost is 5€ a class or you can purchase a block of ten classes for 45€. Once you sign up, you will be advised by email where the classes are to be held. This Meetup Group attempts to make classes accessible to as many people as possible so the location will rotate from one section of Paris to another. You simply sign up online! If you wish to have affordable yoga that is more structured, check out Affordable Yoga Fitness. The cost for a new member is 30€ with 30 days of unlimited classes. If you want only to “drop in” for one 60 minute class, no problem. The cost for one fitness session is 5€. With this kind of savings, I am sure you will be wanting to purchase blocks of 5, 10, 25 or 50 classes. What is particularly attractive about Affordable Yoga Fitness is that there is no expiration for blocks of classes purchased. For anyone who will be staying in Paris for an extended period of time, this is a great way to help get you on the “mat” and not be worried that work, school or travel will interfere with your ability to schedule before the time restrictions imposed by many studios. Another terrific concept is “Happy Hour Yoga”. This was introduced by BeYoga which schedules a one and a half hour session of yoga at the reduced rate of 12€. This is nearly half of their usual fee. You can sign up for Happy Hour Yoga at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday and Friday mornings and at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. BeYoga is located at 17 rue Campagne Première in the 14th and all of the instructors speak English. Most of the studios in Paris will have mats available at no extra fee. (There are only a few that charge a small rental fee.) Manduka is a brand that I am very fond of and they sell a lovely, light weight, affordable travel mat. Having your own travel mat may be interesting to consider as part of your travel gear. If you will be participating in any of the summer Meetup Groups in one of the beautiful parks in Paris, it will prove to be a very practical and comfortable choice. It is normal that some of our readers will be inclined to want an instructor who provides a class in their native language. I would like to encourage you to sign up even if there is not an English speaking instructor available. Chances are good that they will know enough English to provide basic assistance and while you are in Paris full emersion can be a lot of fun and a great way to meet new friends. I leave you with the translation of the beautiful Yoga Teacher Student Prayer and an invitation to make yoga a part of your next visit to Paris. May we be protected together. May we be nourished together. May we create strength among one another. May our study be filled with brilliance and light. May there be no hostility between us. Om peace, peace, peace. Namasté.  

Lead photo credit : Yoga in the Grand Palais/ Lolë Paris

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Loui Franke is author of "Parisian Postcards: Snapshots of Life in Paris."