I grew up in California. Not on the coast, but in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Maybe this is why I have been so obsessed with the ocean the past 8 years; because it is different, mysterious, alluring. Whatever the case, I have deep gratitude for having the opportunity to explore the ways of the ocean and all of her beauty. In fact, I believe the ocean has been and IS one of my greatest spiritual teachers. Fall is such a special time of year, especially on the California Coast, and inspiration for this article was sparked by my itch to get to the ocean after living at high elevation all summer. An ideal road trip for me includes; visiting friends, surf exploration, day hikes, and taking classes at new and different yoga studios. Some of these towns mentioned below I have lived in, while some I just pass through. All of these studios have touched my heart, have wonderful teachers, and are small studios that are full of SOUL. They are all wonderful places to stop and rejuvenate along or near the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). I highly recommend that next time you are cruising the coast, slow down and make time to take a class at one of these gems.
CALIFORNIA COASTAL STUDIOS…From NORTH to SOUTH:
This studio is nestled inside of Toby’s Feed Barn in the ridiculously adorable town of Point Reyes Station. It has a warm and welcoming vibe with a great mix of classes. It is the home studio of MC Yogi and his partner Amanda Giacomini. Point Reyes is a glorious town for nature lovers and hip foodies. It has an amazing Farmer’s Market on Saturdays where you can connect with local North Bay Farmers and passionate vendors such as Wild West Ferments. After class, head to the Point Reyes Seashore where you will find an abundance of diverse hikes, beaches, and wildlife.
Enso is a center for yoga and art. Enso is very dear to me as it is the studio that allowed me to really fall in love with yoga. For one year I lived in the area and consistently took classes with amazing teacher, Amy Outman. The studio is located on the coastal trail and has views of the sea. The wood burning stove is magnificent on foggy Half Moon Bay days. The wind and rain are amplified by the tin roof in this 100 year old warehouse structure. It is easy to feel a deep connection with nature while practicing here. They also host an array of community gatherings, art, and music events. Truly a jewel on the coast. After class, visit Raman’s Chai for a cup of goodness.
Photo: Sawdust Imagery
This is a vibrant, colorful studio on the east side of Santa Cruz. Great local vibes. They have an eclectic mix of classes for all levels. The first word that comes to mind when I think about this studio is: FUN! The studio is walking distance to Pleasure Point surf breaks and many restaurants and shops. Pleasure Point Yoga boasts an amazing lineup of intelligent and compassionate teachers and they frequently feature incredible workshops by international guest teachers. Studio owner, Aimee Joy Nitzberg is a true inspiration.
A heartfelt and cozy studio in downtown Pismo Beach. They offer a variety of classes with a strong emphasis on community. Started by Kelly Metcalf, a traveler, ocean lover, and surfer with strong roots in the area. They also have a really nice boutique with unique yoga and wellness treasures. After class, get a smoothie at Honeymoon Cafe just next door or take a short stroll to the ocean.
(Now GATHER Encinitas)
Encinitas is known for being a yoga mecca and offers a large variety of yoga studios. This one is a little off the beaten path but well worth a visit! It is a tiny space with a huge heart. One thing that makes this studio so special is their commitment to making yoga accessible to everyone by way of a donation model. Take a class with studio founder Lauren Duke, who is known for her raw disposition and her love of sharing the spirit of yoga. Walking distance to many fun beach breaks, and always amazing weather in sunny San Diego:)
THANK YOU, THANK YOU to all the committed students, teachers and yoga communities out there. Keep doing what you makes you feel alive and share the love!
Erica Hartnick grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California, and enjoys all things wild and free. She teaches nature inspired yoga and leads mindful adventures in California and Costa Rica. She gets excited about; LEARNING, intense weather, glassy ocean peaks, pillows of fresh powder snow, crystal clear water, positive people, cultural travel, thriving vegetable gardens, fresh mint chip ice cream, nature’s glory, LIVING YOGA, and connecting with others. She is passionate about the collaboration with friends that led to the creation of Yoga Trade, and is devoted to connecting the yoga community with infinite opportunities!