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Not your everyday yoga: Groovy new happenings hitting the Austin yoga scene

Austin Photo Set: News_Shelley Seale_crazy yoga_Oct 2011_acro yoga
Courtesy of AcroYoga
Austin photo: Events_Singles Yoga_Poster

It may come as no surprise to learn that Austin is one of the hottest yoga cities in the country, with more yoga teachers and studios per capita than any other city.

From the recent surge in popularity of new styles such as paddleboard and aerial yoga to new studios and events, there's always something brewing on the scene. Here are some of the latest happenings in Austin yoga.

Yoga pants that turn heads

A new line of the grooviest, most unique yoga pants I've ever seen has just been launched in Austin. ässanas yoga wear was started by studio owner Leah Morelos and designer René Geneva, whose long history of fashion design began when she inherited her grandmother's Singer sewing machine in 1993.

Morelos, who owns Sunstone Yoga Austin, met Geneva when she noticed her very cool yoga pants. "I asked her where she got them, and she told me she made them," Morelos says. The two teamed up to create a very fashionable line of yoga pants that will get as many comments out on the town as they will in a yoga studio. 

"We like athletic wear as much as the next girl," the partners say. "In fact, we like it so much we found ourselves wearing yoga pants with abandon: to the grocery store, out to lunch, even surreptitiously disguised as leggings to parties and concerts." Morelos adds that they had both been challenged, as women who love to express personalities through clothes, to find a fashionable outlet when working out. “I’ve found, in the athletic realm, that you either sacrifice fit or fashion,” she says.

I have been trying a pair of ässanas for a couple of weeks now — the Rainbow Ruffle style — and I do love the way they look. They fit well and are comfortable, and one thing I really love is how long they are. I often have trouble finding yoga pants that aren't too short for me. But because of the hemlines on these pants, they can easily be cut shorter to customize to each woman's height.

The pants are perhaps a bit too warm for intense or higher-level yoga, but they are great for gentle-to-mid-range practice and, as the ladies intended, simply wearing around to be stylish outside the yoga studio. You can buy ässanas pants from the website or through Black Swan Yoga.

Yoga singles party

A frequent piece of advice for singles trying to meet potential dates is to utilize the activities you love to meet people with common interests. Here's your chance to meet and mingle with other single Austin yogis at this class followed by a party at Eastside Yoga on Saturday, August 18. "It’s like yoga meets speed dating but way more relaxed," the website states.

Fun partner practice led by Jessie Riley and Shawn Kent will be followed with music, mingling and good times. Food, drink and mats are provided and door prizes will be given away. The event starts at 8 p.m. and tickets must be purchased by August 17 ($25-28; no walk-ins allowed). Proceeds will be donated to Community Yoga.

Wanderlust LIVE

One of the city's newest studios, this venue is far from limited to yoga classes. Wanderlust LIVE is a one-of-a-kind community space for yoga, music and the arts; it also has its own cafe run by Blenders and Bowls, a local women-run food venture specializing in natural, blended smoothies and organic acai bowls.

The venue was inspired by the Wanderlust Festival, an annual event that brings together the world’s leading yoga teachers, top musical acts, renowned speakers, top chefs and much more in settings of breathtaking natural beauty such as Tahoe and Vermont. This year’s presenters include Deepak Chopra, Shiva Rea and Ziggy Marley. There’s yoga, dancing, music, meditation, hiking, healthy-food options and, most noted of all by participants, a cohesive community spirit.

“We were so inspired by the festival,” says Ashley Spence Clauer, co-founder of Wanderlust LIVE. She and partner Joanna Kutchey were so enthusiastic about what they experienced at the 2008 festival that they wanted to establish a permanent Wanderlust location that would be open year-round: the very first flagship home base for the event.

The location, in a renovated warehouse space at 206 E. Fourth Street downtown, held its grand opening on April 12, 2012 and has been going strong ever since. Upcoming events include a Yoga Jam on August 18 and the Yoga Aid Challenge on September 9.

“We have put our heart, soul and everything into this place to make it what it is," says Clauer, who credits her father, Roy Spence, with teaching her to do what she loves and learn to make a living from it. “We want this place to be somewhere that people from all walks of life can gather, celebrate, practice, listen to music, watch films and hear inspirational lectures. We are a place where you can come to breathe in and rock out, consciously.”

The Little Yoga House

The first kids-only yoga school has just come to Austin, leading me to wonder why someone hasn't thought of this before. A handful of studios offer mommy-and-baby or children's classes, but The Little Yoga House specializes in a unique approach and curriculum for toddlers through teens, as well as a yoga practice for the whole family.

Located at 1211 Parkway, this is a place where children can go to get balanced, stretch off some steam and learn the value of yoga, on and off the mat. There is a special focus on preschool kids age three to five, called the Yoga Peace School, as well as a variety of programs including art, dance, theater, music and teen workshops.

The school was started by funds raised through an Indiegogo campaign, and The Little Yoga House will continue to give back by putting a certain amount of class fees toward donations to a different children's charity each month. "Our magical studio provides a safe comfortable haven for children to grow individually and collectively," the website states.

"Our dedicated family of teachers strive to teach children and teens the importance of the mind-body connection and the connection we have to each other and mother earth through movement, meditation and environmental awareness."

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