Want a Great Lakes-Ready Beach Bod… Without All the Running?

I’m going to be completely honest: I hate running.

Obviously I know it’s great for your body, and I have plenty of friends and family who swear by the endorphine high a good jog provides. But for me, running equals boredom and inspires a painful burning protest deep in my body, which I can only describe as what becoming a vampire must feel like. I love working out, but there has to be another option.

Yoga… For Weight Loss?
Like most people, I had heard of yoga. In fact, I had even been attempting a few poses before bed each night for years (although with my stellar coordination, I never made it too far into the trickier poses). When it was suggested to me, however, that I try a form of yoga which would combine heart-pumping movement with the deep stretches and emotional release I loved- all while ridding my body of toxins AND burning up to 600 calories in an hour- I knew I had to give it a try.

Enter the Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse. With locations in Grand Rapids and Holland, the Funky Buddha specializes in the “Power Vinyasa”- a slow, flowing form of yoga which takes place in a 95 degree room. Armed with my yoga mat (and lots of water!), I tried my first Power Vinyasa last year… and have continued shaking my Asana ever since. The heated room and challenging poses make me sweat, torching calories while building strength and igniting a feeling of powerful peace that no other workout can compare to.

Photo courtesy of The Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse
Photo courtesy of The Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse

If you’re like me and want a fun, challenging workout WITHOUT all the running, try a class at one of these Michigan studios! While they don’t all offer hot yoga, each one has a form of Vinyasa (your best bet for getting that heart rate up), as well as slower classes for those who are just starting out. Be sure to share your experience in the comments below!

Namaste Yoga Studio
309 S. Troy Street, Royal Oak, MI
248.399.YOGA (9642) – www.namaste-yoga.net
Voted Metro Detroit’s Best Yoga Studio for six years, Namaste Yoga Studio offers classes for all different fitness levels, and they even offer a mix of yoga and Zumba for an extra cardio fix!

Spirit Rising Yoga
8571 W. Grand River Ave Suite 1000, Brighton, MI
(810) 220-8571 – www.myspiritrising.net
Once you’ve mastered the slow flow vinyasa (for beginners and those looking for a slower, softer class) and sweated it out in the Hot Vinyasa, give the Aerial Yoga a try- yoga, a suspended hammock, AND an awesome strengthening workout? Suck on that, treadmills.

Photo courtesy of www.aerialyoga.com
Photo courtesy of www.aerialyoga.com

Sangha Yoga
157 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Mall Plaza Suite 140, Kalamazoo, MI
(269) 910-0162 – www.sanghayoga.com
Featuring classes ranging from Power Vinyasa to Yoga for Athletes to Pure Basics, Sangha is conveniently located near the Western Michigan Univeristy campus. BONUS- go on college night with a student ID and you will receive 50% off your class!

The Funky Buddha Hothouse
1331 Lake Drive SE, Grand Rapids, MI and
12330 James St, Holland, MI
(616) 392-3225 – www.yogahothouse.com
In addition to being my own personal hothouse, The Funky Buddha is awesome because of it’s loving, supportive teachers who will stop the flow to workshop a pose that’s giving yogis trouble, or to show a new variation. Lose weight, learn a new pose or two, and get your funk on!

Satya Yoga
133 Butler St., Saugatuck, MI 49453
269-857-7289 – www.satyayogasaugatuck.com
The don’t-miss class at Satya Yoga in Saugatuck is the Heat With a Beat Hot Flow class. Improve your yoga practice with challenging poses set to a fun soundtrack- a sure fire way to beat the elliptical blues.

Yoga State Hot Yoga
515 E Grand River Ave, East Lansing, MI
517.282.3922 – www.yogastate.net
Yoga State has it all! Hot vinyasa yoga, yoga basics, core-based yoga classes… not to mention yoga instructor training once you’ve mastered your inner yogi. Stop by either the Okemos or East Lansing location on Sunday night for $5 hot yoga!

Ombodies Yoga Studio and Boutique
210 W Pickard St, Mt Pleasant, MI
989.317.3035 – www.ombodies.com
Located in downtown Mount Pleasant, Ombodies offers a variety of drop-in yoga classes for all skill levels, without requiring any membership fees. Drop by the boutique to pick up your yoga accessories and organic body products, then head next door to Dharma Mojo for tea and a delicious vegetarian/vegan entree… Talk about a perfect Saturday!

Photo Courtesy of Ombodies
Photo Courtesy of Ombodies

Yoga Roots
444 E. Mitchell St., Petoskey, MI
231.838.8992 – www.yogarootspetosky.com
Like many Petosky institutions Yoga Roots is unique and charming, with a fresh perspective on traditional Vinyasa yoga. There are beginners and vinyasa classes, plus a “Warming Up to Hot Yoga” class if you aren’t sure whether you’re ready to get your sweat on. In addition to being a full yoga studio, Yoga Roots also holds healthy lifestyle workshops on everything from green juice to perfecting a tricky inversion pose!

Shanti School of Yoga
2074 S. Airport Road, W. Suite B, Traverse City, MI
231-632-0615 – www.shantischoolofyoga.net
Shanti offers everything from thoughtful, meditative classes to aerial yoga for alignment and strength. Or skip the treadmill and try the Hot Sunrise Detox Yoga class, which is specifically designed to use the gentle twists of your yoga flow to “facilitate the removal of waste products such as carbon dioxide, lactic acid and lymphatic fluid from the deep tissues and extremities of the body that a jog or cycle just will not get to.” Talk about yoga power! BONUS- This weekend, March 23rd and 24th, Shanti is celebrating their one year anniversary and offering unlimited monthly memberships for $49!

Smiling Lotus Yoga Center
103 E. Ludington Ave, Ludington, MI
231.852.0848 – smilinglotusyoga.com
Smiling Lotus features a variety of yoga classes, whether you prefer your practice to be more “slow” or “flow” (although it doesn’t offer hot class varieties). Or, if you’re feeling particularly bold, give their hula hooping fitness class a try for some cardio and core strength you won’t find at the gym!

Northern Life Studio
529 Court Street, Sault Ste. Marie, MI
906.253.9644 – www.northernlifeyoga.com
Complete with vinyasa-style yoga classes for beginners and experienced yogis alike, and a built in tea lounge for post-workout recovery, Northern Life Studio has everything you need to yoga away the pounds- and with drop in class packages starting at $30, it won’t break the bank.

Marquette Yoga Center
130 W. Washington St. Suite U3, Marquette, MI
906-250-2323 – www.marquetteyogacenter.com
You have a goal for your workout. Marquette Yoga Center has a class to get you there. Hot Vinyasa, Hot Power Vinyasa (for a heart-pumping sweat-boost), Yoga for Runner’s and Cyclists (focusing specifically on stretching and strengthening your muscles to help your body recover from a workout with one of the tougher cardio options)… Not to mention Hot Yoga Fusion, a mixture of heat, yoga, and traditional workout moves that will torch calories while connecting you to a sense of inner peace.

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Thanks primarily to long marathons of the Food Network (shout out to Alton Brown!) and many failed kitchen experiments, I have come to appreciate the ever-important role of food and fitness in a healthy a lifestyle. My view? It doesn't make you an elitist to be educated about what you put in your body. There is no rule book that says you have to become a vegan overnight, or cut out gluten entirely, or start wearing a beret and shopping solely at fair-trade markets. You can still go out with friends, shop at Meijer, and keep quick, easy food on hand. You're in a hurry, you're on a budget... I get it. But you CAN make just a few small changes and lose weight, prevent disease, and have more energy. I'm here to prove it. Join me on my ever-growing quest to find the most delicious, nutritious food and learn from the people who grow it, sell it, and cook it- right here in our own backyard.