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3 Most Welcoming San Francisco (SF) Yoga Studios

Updated on September 30, 2010
Satori Yoga Studio:
40 1st St, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA

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Located in the financial district, this studio is great for people who need lunchtime and after work classes.

1823 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA

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This studio has classes from early morning to late evening.

Bend Yoga Studio:
1935 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA

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This is a small yoga studio near the Panhandle.

I can’t believe that it has been nearly two years since I first started going to yoga. I have to confess that I was a little bit intimidated when I first began going to classes. San Francisco is such a yoga city. It’s not uncommon to see people of all ages and genders walking around with their yoga mats. There are options to do naked yoga, yoga with hiking and there was even a brief time when there was a lunchtime yoga and wine class. In other words, people here do a lot of yoga. Just starting out, I felt like it wasn’t a good place to be a beginner.

Of course, this is ridiculous. The yoga community is one of the most welcoming communities I’ve ever encountered. Besides, this is San Francisco. Nobody cares what you are and that includes what level of yoga you might be when you join a class. Nevertheless, I felt a bit intimidated starting out so I imagine that there are other people here who feel the same way. This hub is for those people because it outlines the three most welcoming studios that I’ve found in San Francisco.

This isn’t to say that other studios here aren’t welcoming. I’ve tried classes at a lot of different places and I think that any one of them might be a fairly comfortable place to take a first class or a beginner’s class. But with that in mind, these three are the studios here that top my list.

1.    Satori Yoga Studio. This was the first studio that I ended up taking classes it and it remains one of my favorite yoga studios. They offer a special beginner’s class. This is a small class of four to six people who meet in a little room that is not intimidating at all. It’s a great class to learn about the basics of yoga so that you can feel more comfortable joining the other classes.

However, it’s also possible to jump in to a lot of the classes here as a beginner. Typically classes are defined by levels one, two and three. Oftentimes, level one classes (beginner classes) are taught separately from 2-3 classes. This isn’t always the case at other studios where 1-3 are often taught together. For people just starting out, it can feel a lot more comfortable to get started with other beginners rather than having to see what more advanced students are doing.

This is a small yoga studio so you get a chance to get to know the instructors and front desk staff. They’re all quiet friendly. I’ve found that the other people attending class are also friendly but they also respect your space so you can stay in your own yoga zone without having to make small talk. At least that’s been my experience. The teachers I’ve had here are very good at helping students to find the right positions and make adjustments without calling a lot of attention to them. It’s quite the opposite of intimidating.

2.    Yogaworks. Here’s a studio that is a lot different from many of the small studios I’ve enjoyed in the city. That’s because it is a chain yoga studio with branches in several states. However, there are some great things about that. One of those benefits is that it almost feels like a luxury gym. If you’re used to working out a gym then this can be a great way to ease into the comfort of working out at a yoga studio. People who are concerned about yoga classes being a little too “hippie” for them may find this setting more comfortable than some of the smaller studios.

This is not to imply that they don’t offer great classes for yoga lovers because they do. In fact, some of the classes are quite hippie in style. (There’s a Kundalini yoga class, which involves breathing and chanting.) This place also offers pilates mat and machine classes as well as body conditioning. In fact, another reason it’s great for beginners is because it offers many different types of yoga and related workouts so you can start to get a really good feeling for the types of yoga that might be best for you.

3.    Bend Yoga Studio. This is the smallest of the three yoga studios on my list. It’s a single room with only a bathroom rather than a separate changing area. It’s very intimate. Many people might find that intimidating as a new student but there’s a lot of comfort in it if you like small group instruction. Your teacher can really see what you are doing and give you personal feedback. The teachers I’ve had here were friendly and easy to get along with. It’s a very laidback place. It doesn’t even have a front desk; the teacher checks you in.

Different types of classes are offered here. One that I really love though is the candlelight massage yoga class. This is a restorative class which is a type of yoga where you do a lot of relaxing in poses. If you’re afraid that you aren’t athletic enough to do yoga then you can always start with something like this. Everyone can do restorative yoga. Plus, it’s done in a room with candlelight and the instructor comes around and gives you a little neck and shoulder massage as you sit in the positions. Who could complain about that?! It’s lovely.


Submit a Comment

  • Rossogrosso profile image


    6 years ago from San Francisco, CA

    Thanks for taking the time to write this. I suppose now I could google these places, but I might not get around to it. Why not put the locations in the hub (if not the exact address, just the cross streets). Just a friendly suggestion. Thanks again for taking the time to do this service to your fellows. Namaste.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Nice stuff. A few years ago and maybe still Bikram yoga is the rage. I've also just recently been introduced to Restorative Yoga (DomarCenter) for pregnant women, it wouldn't work for me. I myself am doing Yoga X from the P90 series and not sure how it is compared to other forms. I never thought it would be challenging as a guy but it is.


  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 

    8 years ago from San Francisco

    This is quite the smart guide! Yoga studios can indeed be quite intimidating, so it's great that you've taken the time to map out the friendly places!


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