Despite popular belief, yoga is more than just stretching. Yoga is a mental, physical and spiritual practice that originated in India. Yoga can help increase your flexibility, align your spine, clear your mind, and assist in healthy sleeping patterns. In addition to increasing flexibility and clearing your head, yoga can be very healing.
Yoga expert Dashama began teaching in 2004, and turned to yoga as a form of healing after a car accident. Dashama now teaches yoga in Miami and Los Angeles. "People who live here and visit here gravitate toward a healthier lifestyle, which naturally includes yoga now," Dashama told us.
Jessica Lurie, resident yoga expert of Green Monkey Yoga, has been practicing yoga for five years. "I was mountain biking a lot and wanted to find a way to feel more open in my body. I found yoga did much more for me. Yoga has become therapeutic for my mind, as well as my body."
Miami is home to reoccurring yoga events, "Salutation Nation and the Yoga Aid event where everyone does 108 Sun salutations to raise money and awareness for charitable organizations," says Jessica. "Warm weather invites different events all year round - we hosted wanderlust 2011 - and Earth Day celebrations every year."
There are dozens of popular styles of yoga including Hatha, Bikram, Vinyasa, Power Yoga, Kundalini, Viniyoga, and Jivamukti, but some styles are more prevalent than others. Dashama and Jessica both agree Vinyasa and Power Yoga styles have become the most popular in Miami. "People find that the flow while connecting the breath with movement brings a great release," Jessica said. "I believe people appreciate Vinyasa and Power Yoga because they can have fun and still feel great results."
"They [Vinyasa and Power Yoga] are fitness based and that is more of a mainstream approach to the yoga practice," Dashama clarified. "They make you sweat, strengthen and tone your body while releasing stress, but they are more appropriate for more athletic and fit people."
Bikram yoga, practiced in a heated room, is popular as well. "I think it works because people like to party and eat junk food sometimes, so they use yoga to balance these poor health habits," Dashama said.
The Miami Yoga Community
Any community can be hard to fit into, but the yoga community in Miami is younger and more welcoming to newcomers than in other cities, Dashama tells us. Jessica Lurie says the Miami yoga community is vibrant and is available to anybody who is interested. "I believe yoga is available to everybody in Miami."
"In Miami Beach, yoga is very relaxed and intense at the same time," Dashama elaborates. "People come to get a great workout and to connect with the community. As people get more into the practice and lifestyle of yoga, they start to gravitate toward more community events and become part of the community which is a beautiful thing, as well."
"I would say it's a matter of confidence and coming in with what you have to offer and not just what you need from them," Dashama continues. "This is a secret to success if a person is looking to get in with any new community or group of friends."
Dashama teaches an all inclusive yoga training and retreat for 30 days in the autumn. This retreat is designed to train aspiring yoga teachers and includes daily yoga classes, meditation, detox, and much more. More information about how you can attend and become a teacher in the Miami yoga community can be found on Paranashama.com.
View MetroSeeker.com: Miami Yoga in a larger map