WRITTEN by CLAIRE BACHOFNER
INCLUDED IN THE LOCAL VOL. 1
Helena is home to a wide range of yoga studios and offerings, but they all have one thing in common. Walk into any yoga studio in town, you’ll be met with warm smiles and welcoming conversation. People are glad to be there, so, they’re glad you’re there too. Whether you step into the melty heat of Helena Hot Yoga or the chique minimalist space of The Loft, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the genuine hospitality of everyone in the room.
40 N Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT 59601
Emphasis: HOLISTIC/THERAPEUTIC WELLNESS
The Lotus, houses two beautiful, newly remodeled, spacious, lively studios, a therapeutic massage room, a comfortable community space, a lending library, and even a few mental health counselors. The Lotus operates from a holistic perspective and those in charge have worked hard to create a center where all areas of need may be addressed in order to fully heal and thrive.
As far as yoga goes, the classes are varied and the teachers are well trained to offer many options for all levels. They deliver warm but straightforward instruction and have really, really great playlists. Like, make you fall in love with music all over again playlists. There is an overall feeling of ease, humility and honor in this space. The teachers aren’t afraid to joke and be themselves, balancing humor and inspired leadership very gracefully.
Classes offered: barre, movement therapy, Nia, OULA, Balance & Core, Candlelit Slow Flow, Flow Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Sweet & Sweaty Flow, Yoga Basics, Yoga Flow(ish), Mid-Day Meditation, Hope Group, Child Loss Support Group and many more.
740 Front Street, Helena, MT 59601
Emphasis: MINDFULNESS & MOVEMENT
Located on the second floor of one of downtown Helena’s most modern structures, The Loft is good medicine. The space is very well laid out, has an obvious flow and offers space to breathe and release. The huge windows overlook the town and pine trees sway as you meditate or move mindfully through your practice.
The teachers demonstrate an obvious passion for yoga and mindfulness. It is clear that those who teach and lead the classes at The Loft are very personally invested in what yoga has to offer and they have experienced the benefits firsthand.
Because the building also houses an art studio, craft distillery, and top floor private residence, you may notice a Portland-ish vibe about the place. Perhaps you’ll treat yourself to a post-class cocktail at Gulch Distillers and wonder just what took you so long to find heaven on earth.
Classes offered: barre, hot power yoga, yoga flow, pilates, gentle yoga, Warm hatha, mindfulness/meditation and, of course, Downdogs and Draughts every Sunday at Ten Mile Brewing Company
GENTLE HEALING WELLNESS CENTER
513 Saddle Dr, Helena, MT 59601
Gentle Healing Wellness Center is tucked on the South edge of town near the hospital and many other healing facilities. Their mission is in line with the other yoga studios in town to help people heal, balance, gain strength and realize their potential. The studio is naturally well lit and feels very welcoming, just like home. There are limited class sizes, which helps assure individualized assistance and personal attention. Gentle Healing Wellness center also offers counseling, therapeutic massage, bodywork, and meditation guidance.
Classes offered: Curvy yoga, Yoga flow, restorative yoga, vinyasa yoga, adaptive movement, Nia, Adult ballet.
HELENA COMMUNITY YOGA
15 W Placer Ave, Helena, MT 59601
Helena Community Yoga is truly a space for every body. The focus is community and the space is a celebration of just that. The studio is modest, open, welcoming and comfortable. It is a place where people of all ages, abilities and body types gather together to move in a way that feels good to them. Many students who practice here are older in age than the stereotypical yoga-goer. There are also very experienced yogis who are glad to be in the company of such a diverse community. Helena Community Yoga is a safe and peaceful environment for people from all walks of life to come downtown and experience yoga in a way that truly suits their needs. Those who attend may walk away feeling that yummy mindfully relaxed buzz from all of the stretching and flow but they will also walk away feeling very personally connected to their community.
Classes offered: Gentle yoga, Yoga 2, Yoga Basics, Open Houses and Special Workshops
HOT YOGA HELENA
206 W Lawrence #B, Helena, MT 59601
Hot Yoga Helena will politely push you to your limit. It’s a very hip little studio in the basement of a historic building just on the edge of downtown. It would be hard to spot if it weren’t for the giant flaming sign on the side of the building. You enter from a door around the back of the building signified by pretty planters and a charming tiny wooden patio. It’s kind of a quaint little let’s get down to business type place. You come in, roll out your mat, dive into the infrared heat, tap into strength you didn’t know you had and, by the time you duck back outside, you’ll feel invigorated and surprised at what your body just conquered.
The yogis here are well connected and are all happy members of the part of the push yourself to the limit club. The instructors are talented and operate with a matter of fact ease, offering many options to each pose.
Not exactly their mission statement but the quote they chose to identify with on their website: “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.” – Patañjali
Classes offered: Bikram/Barkan Method, Core Vinyasa, Vinyasa Flow, Baptiste, Restorative, Slow Flow, Lunges n Twists, Barkan Vinyasa
NORTHERN LIGHTS YOGA
9 W Placer Avenue, Helena, MT 59601
Northern Lights Yoga has deep roots in the Helena community and the studio space reflects that. The building, as well as the studio itself, is tried and true: wooden accents, large windows, warm lighting. There is a strong emphasis on both inclusivity and individuality here. Since the founder of Iyengar Yoga is responsible for introducing most common yoga props known today, (mats, bolsters, straps, blocks) Northern Lights has gone out of their way to assure that EVERY BODY’s needs are met. This is a place where even those who don’t think yoga is a possibility for them may be delightfully surprised to find that it is. There is a real sense of true dedication and deep commitment towards personal intimacy here. The instructors make great efforts to reach their students on an individual level and help them in every way they can. At Northern Lights, feel free to arrive just as you are, stresses, messes, issues and all. Step into this old, gorgeous room and press pause on the daily drama, to dive into practice, greet fellow yogis and soak in all you can. When you exit, carry this acceptance and hope back onto the streets of Helena. It’s what Northern Lights would want.
Classes offered: Iyengar level I, II, III, restorative, neck and shoulders, low back, hips, and knees, and kids class
FREE RANGE YOGA PROJECT
The Great Outdoors, Helena, MT
Emphasis: FRESH AIR/ADVENTURE
Free Range Yoga Project is something so cool and so Helena you just have to try it out. This project operates seasonally, June through September only and all classes are held outdoors. The project was founded by two local yoga instructors but many instructors from studios and gyms all over town have been known to guest star as teachers for the day. Classes include but are not limited to: Sunrise Yoga Hikes, Full Moon Yoga, Yoga at the Park- next to the Farmer’s Market, Yoga at the Lake. It’s a bunch of folks who want to practice during the beautiful weathered months without being cooped up indoors.