Photo by Надя Кисільова on Unsplash

Free yoga isn't exactly hard to find in Austin. This is the home of Yoga with Adriene, who became one of the biggest names in all of yoga with free online videos; Swift Fit Events, which hosts community fitness classes around town; and a steady stream of Austinites just doing their own thing at parks.

Still, that hasn't always been enough to convince people to try yoga. If what's been stopping them is a lack of choice, the upcoming Day of Yoga at Waterloo Greenway is blowing that excuse out of the water with 24 different classes on September 4. This is also a great opportunity to sample classes by different studios around town.

Community yoga has always been beholden to the least practiced yogi who might stop by, and that's the point — we're not complaining. But with the breadth of teachings available during this one-day festival, the seasoned practitioners may even be stretched into both shapes and head spaces they've never been in.

Beginners may want to stick to the more standard class types, like alignment and vinyasa, which expect and especially cater to newbies. But the seasoned teachers know how to modify for different skill levels, and are used to having them drop by their respective studios, so don't worry if you're not walking into any of these as an expert.

Some of the more niche, deep-dive classes include breath work, sound baths, and targeted energetic practices like Kundalini, an intense practice meant to "awaken" a dormant energy, which can lead both to euphoria and disorientation. Although these classes may intimidate a new practitioner, they may contain the hooks that finally draw someone into the practice.

This CultureMap writer has more than a decade of experience in yoga, has been to enough local studios to nearly lose count, and is certified as a flexibility coach in aerial arts.

Here are the six classes we recommend signing up for while slots are wide open:

  • Bilingual Yoga & Meditation (English/Spanish) by ESB-MACC: One of the hardest parts of getting into yoga is learning the shapes — often accompanied by a lot of neck craning. There are two classes on the Day of Yoga that are conducted in both English and Spanish so that practitioners can easily follow the verbal cues.
  • Sukha Revival Party: Mantra, Breathwork, Flow, & Dance by Sukha Yoga Austin: Yoga doesn't have to be serious or austere, and Sukha Yoga regularly commits to the ecstatic side of practice. The high-energy class is led by studio owners and power couple Erinn and Mark. The class description promises to get weird, and they mean it.
  • Align & Meditate by Yoga with Adriene and Practice Yoga Austin: Since Adriene Mishler is the patron saint of free yoga, her class is a must-try, and the subject is great both for beginners learning the foundations of poses and more experienced yogis who need a tune up. Even though Adriene's online classes are very accessible, Practice Yoga gets very advanced in person.
  • Flexibility & Mobility by Flow Yoga ATX: Flow Yoga has one of the best reputations in Austin, moving away from the blanket intensity of urban yoga and meeting practitioners on a more comfortable level. Flexibility and mobility are not just about looking great on a yoga mat, but reaching high places, walking with balance, using your strength in a balanced way, and more.
  • Full Moon Yoga, Soundbath & Tarot by Wild Heart Yoga: Most people who have taken a yoga class have heard it's "not about making shapes," and this class is demonstrating that with a new age twist. Fans of astrology may enjoy learning about the "approaching Moon in Pisces" and find that yoga is a great new practice to augment their more esoteric interests.
  • Kundalini Gong Yoga by Mehtab & Laura Benton: This powerful class will be taught at sunset, closing the day. Yogis who want a "transformational" experience should get this one on their calendars and look forward to an energetic awakening followed by a deep relaxation, and sensory input from every angle along the way.

All classes will be just 45-minutes, so an experienced yogi should be able to take a few classes with careful breaks in between classes, which are all outdoors. Participants should bring their own mat and plenty of water.

See the class schedule and RSVP at waterloogreenway.org.

Photos by Kelly Dewitt and Andrea Calo

Yoga With Adriene and FWFG stretch into new Austin space with smart modular design elements

Flexibile Design

Millions of people are familiar with Adriene Mishler’s double windows, her backdrop for Yoga With Adriene. But there’s another important space in Mishler’s business foreground: A new East Austin office bespoke for the egalitarian yoga guru to film and run Find What Feels Good (FWFG), her yoga and meditation subscription platform.

One of the most popular yoga teachers on the internet (so, one of the most popular yoga teachers, period), Mishler is known for getting casual yogis committed at home even if they’ve never taken a class before. Around town, she may also be known as the owner of Practice Yoga Austin, a more traditional space with fun twists on Sundays like a Motown playlist or cold brew sips.

KKDW Studios headed the project, which was first unveiled in February, from conceptualizing the space to executing the build and even fitting it with appliances and decorations. The most important parts, to most viewers, are the sets where Mishler films her classes, against a white focal wall or some wood paneling almost like shiplap.

The entire space bathes in natural light thanks to a multitude of windows that leave most walls looking more like a house during framing than a place to hide away in an office. One of the considerations in creating filming spaces was to minimize the changing effects of natural light while preserving its benefits, resulting in moveable wall slats and other minimalist choices like removing air ducts from an 80-foot line-of-sight.

Find What Feels Good Yoga with Adriene office

Photos by Kelly Dewitt and Andrea Calo

Kelly DeWitt of KKDW Studios (left) sits with Adriene Mishler of Find What Feels Good (right) in the subscription service's new office and class set.

With all the wood details and small offices, no one would guess this space is inside a 5,000-square-foot metal building. They also may be surprised that everything is on wheels, even if it’s not primarily used for filming yoga. Plants, furniture, and the kitchen island all roll; the office walls themselves are only bolted together. The designer calls this “flexible” design, pun surely intended.

“The idea behind the entire build was to give the FWFG team a place to feel inspired, to play around and experiment, and most importantly to feel good in,” said a release from Kelly DeWitt of KKDW.

Eventually, there may be up to 20 people working in the office at a time, which also includes communal workspaces and a library. In addition to filming, events are a motivation for an easily clearable space. Either way, the value is the same: getting yogis together.

“Working with Adriene made this one of the easiest and most fulfilling projects,” said DeWitt. “There was a level of trust and love that allowed us to create exactly what we set out to do — build a warm, welcoming space that embraced the growth and innovation of Adriene and her team. I am very proud of what that collaboration achieved.”

More information about the project is available at kkdwstudios.com. Mishler's classes are available free on YouTube, on a pay-what-you-can basis at yogawithadriene.com, and by subscription through Find What Feels Good.

Photo courtesy of Mesa Rim

Climbing gym with the highest walls in the Southwest brings the Austin scene to new heights

getting high

An Austin climbing gym is never just a place to climb — many Austinites would live their whole lives within climbing gym walls if they could, and why shouldn’t they? Mesa Rim Climbing Center, a massive, 50,000-square foot facility with 55-foot climbing walls, is giving visitors an excuse to never leave starting on March 7.

These walls will be the tallest in the Southwest, according to a press release, and in the largest facility, too. For scale, that’s about five stories high (the walls, that is, with even taller ceilings), and about the sprawl of a football field. Climbing opportunities include rope climbing and bouldering, and it doesn’t stop at climbing; visitors can also practice yoga, work on weight training and cardio, and relax in a sauna.

Located in Northeast Austin, at the Sheldon Cove development near Dessau Road, this gym will be accessible mostly from residential areas, and given its wide range of offerings onsite, aims to cater to all levels. It also offers programming in youth and community events, local competition, private instruction, and team building, among other activities.

“At Mesa, climbing is all about finding joy through the exploration of movement,” said CEO Ian McIntosh in a press release. “No matter the age or skill level, we hope to cater to the city’s most experienced climbers as well as those who are curious about climbing or just looking for a healthy and fun activity.”

Just before the opening, Mesa Rim is honoring the other end of that experience scale by hosting the 2023 USA Climbing National Team Trials and Paraclimbing National Championship. Technically two events combined into one qualifier from February 28 to March 5, this event is changing the landscape of competitive climbing in the United States, combining bouldering, lead, and speed climbing.

More information about Mesa Rim is available at mesarim.com. It is already open to founding members.

Downtown Austin hotel hosts goal-setting and mindfulness event to start 2023 off right

New year, new goals

If you've already broken some of your 2023 resolutions ten days in, have no fear: There's never a bad time to re-evaluate your goals and meet like-minded people with a similar vision. Perhaps that's why the Hotel Van Zandt's Vision Board Workshop is taking place a full two weeks into the new year, on January 14, to ward off the annual pressure to start fresh on New Year's Day.

Since health and wellness are usually top of mind this month, the event is a partnership with author Gustavo Padron and ATX Yoga Girl founder Cynthia Aguillon Bernard. Rather than setting abstract or unreachable goals, the Vision Board Workshop is designed to help attendees visualize their goals, get clear on their 2023 vision, and start the new year off with peace and mindfulness.

Taking place this Saturday, January 14, from 10 am to 11:30 am in the Merriweather Ballroom inside Hotel Van Zandt, the workshop will begin with gentle breathwork and a vision quest meditation. Afterwards, attendees can craft a vision board to ground their goals in more physical and tangible forms.

A soundbath experience will conclude the event, intended to help attendees expand and elevate their visions as they are immersed in the sounds and vibrations of crystal and quartz bowls.

As well as being a yoga and meditation teacher, personal trainer, and author, Gustav Padron is also a mindset and manifestation coach. He is fiercely passionate about helping people reframe their thoughts and heal their limiting beliefs by applying the tools and practices in his published journal, grounded practice.

Meanwhile, Cynthia Aguillon Bernard is the creator of ATX YOGA GIRL, a mobile yoga studio bringing wellness to the community. A teacher, guide, and facilitator in yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and sound healing, she specializes in children and family yoga, creating community and positive experiences in a safe, nurturing environment.

The Vision Board Workshop is the latest in health and wellness programming at Hotel Van Zandt, which provides a complimentary yoga mat in each guest room as well as access to the 24-hour fitness center and fourth floor pool deck.

Tickets to the Vision Board Workshop are $70 per person and can be purchased via Eventbrite.

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Austin food truck chef licks the competition on Guy Fieri's chaotic cooking show

Vegan Victory

Austin keeps gaining bragging rights in the food category, and this one comes with a plant-based twist.

Chef and founder of plant-based Austin food truck Lick It Up was crowned winner in the latest episode of Guy’s Grocery Games. The episode titled “Meatless Marvels,” which aired Wednesday, September 20, challenged four talented chefs to make a meat-free steakhouse dinner and appetizer using only ingredients that fit into the "world's smallest produce case."

In this cooking competition — in its staggering 33rd season — chefs play mini-games in a set modeled after a grocery store, collecting what items they can with certain restraints based on the challenge, and preparing a meal that may include a twist mid-preparation. This time, contestants had to improvise and incorporate a mushroom jerky.

Ultimately, Chef Edgar Delfin won the hearts and taste buds of the judges with his fully plant-based dishes.

"I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to represent plant-based cuisine and showcase the incredible flavors inspired by the El Paso/Juarez border, and it's an honor to bring the tastes of the region to a national stage," said Chef Delfin in a release.

This is not Delfin’s first claim to fame on the Food Network. The Lick It Up food truck in El Paso was featured in Season 30 of Diners, Drive-in, and Dives, also hosted by Chef Guy Fieri for its truly delicious and healthy flavors that pleased vegans and non-vegans alike.

The first Lick It Up opened in 2017 and later turned into a brick-and-mortar in downtown El Paso. The vegan menu recreates traditional Mexican flavors with vegetable-forward alternatives like mushroom chorizo.

After the success in West Texas, Delfin decided to expand Lick It Up to Austin in 2020 to reach a wider audience of plant-based food lovers. The truck, located at East Austin’s Lost Well Bar, features street-food staples such as “carne” asada fries, tacos, flautas, and burritos.

Lick It Up hours of operation are Sunday to Thursday from 7 pm to midnight, and Friday and Saturday from 7 pm to 1 am. Learn more about Guy's Grocery Games at foodnetwork.com.

Here are the top 7 things to do in Austin this weekend

Weekend Event Guide

Nonstop cinema, critically acclaimed comedy, and tons of festival fun are in our sights for the next several days. Enjoy riveting conversation and expert journalism up close at the Texas Tribune Festival, or enjoy nonstop cinema with the return of Fantastic Fest. Check out the top seven things to do in Austin this weekend. For a complete list of events, go to our calendar.

Thursday, September 21

Fantastic Fest
The country’s largest genre film festival returns to Alamo Drafthouse Cinema South Lamar for another year of all things fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and action. Attendees will have the opportunity to screen a curated selection of daring and thought-provoking cinema by filmmakers from around the world. Notable festival events include screenings of the opening night film The Toxic Avenger, the first two episodes of Netflix's The Fall of the House of Usher, the mystery thriller Eileen, the closing night film Totally Killer, and more. Screenings and events are scheduled through September 28. Badges are available at fantasticfest.com.

Texas Tribune Festival
Lone Star journalism takes center stage at the return of the Texas Tribune Festival. The three-day event is curated by the journalists of the Texas Tribune itself and features interviews, surprise talent mashups, panel discussions, and several guest speakers all in one jam-packed weekend. Confirmed speakers for this year’s festival include Jake Tapper, Katie Couric, Coln Allred, and many more. For a full schedule of events and to attend the festival, go to texastribune.org.

ACL Live presents "Jim Gaffigan: Barely Alive Tour"
ACL Live hosts multihyphenate entertainer Jim Gaffigan for two nights back-to-back. He’s widely known for his keenly hilarious observations on life and is also a New York Times best-selling author and three-time Emmy-winning recording artist. Ticket information can be found on acllive.com.

Cap City Comedy Club presents Kevin Nealon
Comedic great Kevin Nealon is the newest featured artist to take up a residency at Capitol City Comedy Club. He’s best known for his decade-long stint on Saturday Night Live and other popular television series including Weeds and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Shows are scheduled through September 23. Get more details at capcitycomedy.com.

Public Power Block Party
Photo by Leah Muse Photography

Bust out your best moves at the Public Power Block Party on September 24.

Friday, September 22

Beerthoven Inc. presents "From the Top: A Duet for the Beginning of Time"
Duo da Capo, a local harp and oboe ensemble, explores the story of creation with a special live concert at Saengerrunde Hall. Guests can expect a program of contemporary music accompanied by creation artwork, for a dynamic showing for multiple senses. Pastries, beer and wine, and non-alcoholic beverages will be served. For tickets, go to Eventbrite.

Saturday, September 23

Dripping Springs Pumpkin Festival
Take a short trip to the Dr. Pound Historical Farmstead in Dripping Springs to welcome the fall season with a cornucopia of autumn-inspired activities for all ages. Pumpkin Festival highlights include live musical performances, seasonal food offerings, photo opportunities, games, attractions, a marketplace, and more. Following opening weekend, festival programming continues through October 29. For tickets and additional event information, visit geoji.com.

Sunday, September 24

Sierra Club Texas presents Public Power Block Party
Moontower Cider Company partners with the Texas Sierra Club to open its doors and grounds for a block party to raise awareness about clean energy plans and sustainability efforts. Visitors can enjoy food, drinks, live music, and other family-friendly activities all while learning about Austin Energy’s upcoming resource plan and other new initiatives. Block party admission is free and open to the public. Go to sierraclub.org for more details.

Austin wakes up and smells the brews at 2nd annual coffee festival

cool beans

Making a cup of coffee is one of the most ritualistic morning activities for millions of people every day. It's a truly customizable experience: You can use pre-ground coffee or grind whole beans yourself, and there are many different brewing methods, such as a traditional drip coffeemaker, a moka pot, or an AeroPress.

The local coffee community in Austin is in a world of its own, and coffee aficionados can enjoy a special weekend all to themselves to meet their favorite local roasters at the second annual Austin Coffee Festival on September 30 and October 1 at Fair Market.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own reusable cups to enjoy endless coffee tastings from about two dozen well-known Austin roasters like Merit Coffee Co., Medici Roasting, Barrett's Coffee Roasters, and Greater Goods Coffee Co. Master roasters can help newcomers learn more about coffee, and local musicians will provide the soundtrack for the weekend.

If you're not a coffee drinker but would still like to tag along, there will be non-coffee options available, like tea tastings from Kilogram Tea and Kinship Milk Tea. Snacks will be available for purchase from Gelu Italian Ice and casual Mexican mini-chain Pueblo Viejo.

Additional roasters that will be at the festival include:

  • Creature Coffee
  • Red Horn Brew
  • Malone Specialty Coffee
  • Fara Coffee
  • Intelligenista
  • Kimbala
  • Sightseer Coffee Roasters
  • Vision
  • Springtown Roasters
  • Casa Brasil
  • Hard Charger Coffee
  • Haciendo Coffee Roasters
  • Carta Coffee Merchants
  • Dog Day Coffee
  • Tianon Coffee
  • Little City Coffee Roasters
  • Wild Gift Coffee
  • Luna Espresso

ATX Theatre, Topo Chico, Oatly, Mill-King, Minor Figures, and Loveramics will also be in attendance.

More information about the festival and tickets (beginning at $25) can be found on austincoffeefestival.com.