San Francisco’s love of all things local and a strong sense of community is what makes the city’s yoga studios so special. Most offer attractive trials for newcomers, and there’s a drop-in class to suit everybody, whether you’re after relaxation, a sweaty workout, or spiritual recharge. Start your day in a golden mood at one of these eight yoga and Pilates studios.
Strolling through Golden Gate park or enjoying a morning dip at Ocean Beach, it’s not uncommon to pass a group of blissed-out yogis in colorful leggings, flowing through sun salutations on even more colorful mats. Indoor practice is just as popular in San Francisco, one of the early adopters when the yoga craze spread in the West (and on the West Coast) as an alternative lifestyle, blending right in with the hippie movement synonymous with Haight-Ashbury. Although yoga nowadays is very much a mainstream fitness pursuit, San Francisco has remained true to its organic roots. There are so many hip boutique studios that it can be difficult to choose, especially on a short visit, so here are 10 of the best to loosen up stress and tighten up muscles. There’s truly something for everybody (and every body).
This locally-owned center runs classes in three studios in San Francisco and one in the Bay Area, each with its own unique features and inviting ambiance. The elegant 2,100 sq. ft (195 m2) salon of Yoga Flow’s historic Ocean building just south of the Mission District, originally built for Freemasons, has been repurposed with state-of-the-art heating, light and sound systems. The Noe Valley studio offers light-enhanced yoga, using color technology to heighten the senses – one of the newest trends to spice up practice for even the most experienced yogis. The light-filled Laguna studio boasts hardwood floors, high ceilings, and leafy views from bay windows. In addition to the heated vinyasa (FAR Infrared Radiant Heat) so popular on the West Coast and in other parts of the world, they also teach bakhti flow – asanas with a devotional focus grounded in traditional Indian practice – meditation, and mat Pilates and barre for more functional fitness training. A family-oriented institution, Yoga Flow offers kids’ classes, as well as childcare for busy parents wanting to get back on the mat.
385 Ashton Avenue, CA 94112, and other locations / Book at Groupon, classes up to 47% off
Baptiste Power Yoga
Situated in the idyllic Presidio parklands overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, this studio from the Baptiste Power Yoga Institute opened in 2015, but its roots run much deeper. Its founder, Baron Baptiste, studied with the likes of BKS Iyengar, Puttabhi Jois and other Indian masters, and his parents Walt and Magana Baptiste opened the first yoga studio in San Francisco in the 1950s. As the name suggests, much of the ‘power yoga’ practice is based on dynamic sequences and muscular reinforcement, the team of more than a dozen qualified teachers suggest options to modify or intensify movements so that classes cater to beginner, intermediate and advanced students. Beyond the physical practice, Baptiste encourages students to explore personal development and empowerment.
38 Mesa St, San Francisco CA 94129 / www.baptistepoweryogasf.com
Fit your yoga practice into a busy sightseeing schedule with al fresco asanas in some of the most breathtaking locations in San Francisco: Crissy Field, Hellman Hollow Meadow, Alameda Beach, Snow Park, and a daily East Bay practice. Outdoor Yoga San Francisco ensures you have just the right playlist for your flow, providing a ‘silent disco’ headset for each student. A great way to reconnect to your own breath and movement, surrounded by nature. Try a Friday night yoga and dance class at Baker Beach and finish up with a DJ session at sunset: it’s so San Francisco, and a great way to meet like-minded locals.
Outdoor Yoga San Francisco (various locations) / www.outdooryogasf.com
In the heart of the Mission, a small, independent studio born in the wake of the pandemic. LGBT+ locally-owned, Haum integrates several teachers left ‘homeless’ when San Francisco’s legendary Yoga Tree studios closed. Haum draws from the rich yoga tradition in San Francisco with a diverse class offering from alignment-focused hatha to creative vinyasa flow, strength-based yoga conditioning, or restorative yoga, yin, meditation, and nidra ‘sleep yoga’ to calm the nervous system and bring balance into daily life. Haum runs special events including kirtan sessions with live music – sitar, harmonium, guitar and chanting of mantras in sanskrit, for yogis wishing to explore the more spiritual side of practice.
2973 16th St CA 94103 / www.haumsf.com
Love Story Yoga
Stephanie and David founded Love Story to bring a modern, bhakti-inspired practice to the Bay Area’s busy, urban yogis, with 60- and 90-minute classes from two studios in the Mission and Bay Area. Expect heated, creative and playful vinyasa sequenced to curated playlists, chanting at the beginning and end of each class (join in or just listen) and a little yogic philosophy and mindfulness woven into the practice. Clean locker rooms and showers with organic products make it easy to go from studio to street. Class offerings include advanced vinyasa, core flow (integrating Pilates and high-intensity training), as well as restorative and pre-natal classes. And to show that they’re serious about spreading the love, there is one free class every Monday at 12.45pm.
473 Valencia St CA 94103 / 2257 Larkspur Landing Cir, Larkspur, CA 94939 / Book at Groupon, classes up to 40% off
Founded in 2004 by Andrea Stern as a specialist in corporate wellness, Satori teaches yoga, meditation and stress management in offices and workplaces all over San Francisco and Silicon Valley. They are specialists in burnout and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, so you can bet that their public classes in the heart of the Financial District will have a relaxing effect on a busy day. Class types are varied, from beginners’ yoga basics to vinyasa with upbeat music, and meditation and mat Pilates are also in the mix. The 30-minute ‘Quickie’ workouts are popular with urban yogis dropping in on their lunch break.
110 Sutter St Ste 100, CA 94104 / https://satoriyogastudio.com
This locally-owned yoga center has opened studios in seven districts of San Francisco. Merging with the former Yoga Garden studio has enabled Moxie to offer classes in one of the city’s most iconic yoga locations in lower Divisadero: a blue-panelled, three-storey Victorian house with spacious, light-filled practice rooms – leave time to explore the area’s vibrant shops and cafés while basking in the yogic afterglow. Smaller class ensure more individual attention for students, and while most classes focus on the center’s own ‘Moxie Method’ – an all-levels power yoga sequence based on traditional ashtanga vinyasa practice – diverse styles are also represented: vinyasa, hatha, yin, restorative, and some studios offering pre-natal yoga, Pilates, and barre. Class tends to be more fitness oriented than spiritual, but Moxie instructors prepare their playlists with almost religious fervor, sometimes holding sessions with a live DJ.
286 Divisadero Street and other locations / https://moxie.yoga
Glow Yoga and Wellness
In the lively North Beach area, with a view of St Peter & Paul Church on Washington Square Park, Glow is not only a yoga studio but also a health and wellness spa, with massage, hot stones and red light therapy. Classes are designed to address specific issues such as lack of sleep and back pain, along with classic flow and yin. The Glow Core program is infused with Pilates, resistance training and barre techniques to increase core strength and cardiovascular endurance at any age. Try a gentle yoga session with sound bath, or a yin class with hot stones for the ultimate, full-body relaxing experience. And for those who really want to pamper themselves, facial and spa services are available. Post-yoga glow guaranteed, inside and out. An un-yogic but very San Francisco detail: drop-in classes may be paid for in bitcoin.
1548 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133 / www.glowyogasf.com
Bright Star Pilates
This is a spacious – and indeed bright – Pilates studio between the Mission and Castro districts. Challenging yet accessible Reformer classes are offered with state-of-the-art machines, including for the Gyrotonic system based on circular movement of the spine. Your instructor will ask you if there are any injuries or pain to keep in mind throughout the session, and will show you how to get the most out of Allegro2 Reformers, Wunda Chairs, and other fun equipment.
493 Sanchez St @ 18th, San Francisco / www.brightstarpilates.com
One of San Francisco’s longest-running studios in the heart of the Mission, this has been a local favorite for more than 20 years. With classes like ‘Inferno Hot Pilates’ and ‘Hot Box Yoga’, prepare for dynamic, heated classes and plenty of sass from the fun-loving, motivated team of instructors. For a bit of extra San Francisco buzz, try one of their ‘Hot Box’ sessions blending cannabis, yoga, and music. Get hippie vibes flowing with CybinFlow, a practice of chakra-opening asanas, spiral movements, meditation and therapeutic adaptogens (micro-dosing). This may just be San Francisco’s most spaced-out yoga trip, man.
2415 Mission St, San Francisco / www.newmissionyoga.com