BIZ FEATURE: ESCAPE TO THE KEY WEST YOGA SANCTUARY

Key West Yoga Sanctuary offers yoga and pilates classes in its backyard studio. CONTRIBUTED

Despite its well-documented and all-over health benefits, yoga can be an intimidating endeavor for those who think their bodies simply don’t bend “that way.”
But fear not, my fellow inflexibles.

The Key West Yoga Sanctuary, 612 Fleming St., understands the intimidation and doubt that make newbies reluctant, so their expert instructors are armed with variations to make the practice and positions accessible to everyone.

“All classes can be easily adapted for all skill levels, and our instructors are amazing at finding variations for everyone, no matter their experience or ability,” said owner Erika Hawks.

Then there’s the tropically lush backyard studio at Key West Yoga Sanctuary, where most classes are offered. The wooden platform under a shaded cheekie hut in a palm-filled garden next to a koi pond is enough to move the most sedentary person off the couch and onto a yoga mat.

Hawks has been practicing yoga for more than 20 years and teaching it for 12. She has studied extensively in India and with several world-renowned experts. 

“The Key West Yoga Sanctuary has been in Key West for 12 years, but we just moved to this location on Fleming Street in late 2019,” Hawks said. “Then we had to close the school for 18 months during COVID. But even during that time, we were offering daily yoga classes via Zoom and down at Truman Waterfront Park.”

The sanctuary still offers Zoom classes as well as subscriptions for the Zoom classes.

“We also have all-access memberships for online and in-person classes, as well as drop-in rates for both online and in-person classes.”

Hawks emphasized that she views the space more as a school than a studio, because she regularly offers specialized workshops with visiting instructors who are experts in various yoga practices and philosophies.

“The real emphasis for me is the special programming that goes above and beyond our daily yoga and pilates classes,” Hawks said. “Key West is really an incredible community for yoga. Its offerings rival that of a much larger city.”

The school also teaches kids’ yoga classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays for kids 3-10. (Talk about adorable.)Key West Yoga Sanctuary’s comprehensive class schedule is available online at keywestyogasanctuary.com.

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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.