Take a vacay from LA with these spots to sweat in OC.
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There’s one word to describe Namaste Fitness in San Diego, CA: community. This eclectic, all-encompassing studio offers something for everyone (and every level), which is just the way owner Ana Hutz wants it. As soon as you walk through the door, you know you belong.
Located 20 miles south of downtown San Diego amongst the carefully manicured Otay Ranch Town Center, Namaste Fitness is a not-so-secret workout haven in the South Bay. Whether you want to try something new—TBarreX, anyone?—or would like to move with intention, you'll find no shortage of exercise experiences.
So, what can you expect when you book a class at Namaste Fitness? We drove south one rainy Thursday to find out (and work out). Here’s everything you should know:
It doesn’t matter if this your first visit, or you’re a seasoned “Namaster,” you will immediately feel Ana’s passion for wellness throughout every single detail of Namaste Fitness. It has natural light pouring in from nearly every angle in the seating area, awe-inspiring and highly motivational quotes adorning the walls, and a carefully curated, sustainable in-studio boutique (warning: you’ll want to buy everything). Namaste Fitness is inspiration, self-love, and everything you want it to be.
Clean, bright, and bustling with a plethora of classes, Ana’s vision for wellness is anything but a one-room studio. With multiple areas outfitted for the workout of your choice, you can be assured you’ll work out in the right space—and yes, that includes a yoga wall (which, we are currently too afraid to try).
With over 22 different types of classes to choose from, there’s no shortage of opportunity for you to find the right flex for your muscles (and your mind) at Namaste Fitness. Pilates, Barralates, TRX, Heated Hatha—finding a class that fits your goals, age, skill level, and schedule is simple. Don’t know what a Barralate is? Namaste Fitness offers in-depth class descriptions, which are super helpful when booking. Plus, Namaste Fitness offers Childcare and Littles Yoga so you can BYOB (baby, not beer) and mat. And If you’re new to a type of workout or are looking to challenge yourself in class, they’ve nailed it in the instructor game. The hands-on instructors—including Ana—are friendly, encouraging, and approachable, which is what we found during our midday Heated Vinyasa 1 flow, thanks to the confident and calm Mikko. (More on this magical human below.)
After being welcomed into the studio by Mala bead-wearing Mikko five minutes before class (wow, she was quick to know we were newbies), it was easy to see she literally lives and breathes the spirit of yoga—and loves what she does. Oh, and she enjoys making your muscles work, even in a Vinyasa 1 class.
For a midday flow, it was quite crowded (but not cramped), and we found ourselves sneaking into spots between other students who seemed to space out their mats randomly. Guess they like sharing our sweat. Taking place in a room heated by infrared ceiling panels, it was easy to notice and appreciate the padded flooring as soon as you rolled out your mat. It was like practicing on 10 Manduka mats. Class started a few minutes late (a “grace period” for those of us that are always rushing), and the one-hour yoga practice was as diverse as the students. Mikko led with the traditional intention setting, and then we were off into Chaturanga Dandasana. Downward Dog. You know the drill.
As we flowed through everything from Warrior 1 to Chair, Mikko had us hold poses for longer than expected—our muscles were trembling. And the was sweat dripping. Honestly, it was more challenging for a level one class—but hey, we were there for a workout so we couldn’t complain. When our sweat towels didn’t seem to be doing the job, the lights went low, we folded down into Savasana, and Mikko performed a surprise singing bowl session. Talk about the perfect end to a trying class. We left with open minds, hearts, and hip flexors.
A quick cool down and a few selfies later, Ana’s event promotions (including a retreat to Puerto Vallarta) caught our eye. While Ana has created wellness and fitness magic north of Mexico, she encourages Namaste Fitness students to share their skills outside the studio through events and workshops. Whether you want to learn more about your chakras, are interested in taking flight with acroyoga, or if mimosas, brunch, and barre is your thing (maybe not in that order), it’s all about expanding your well-being—and having fun while doing it. Talking about brunch reminded us that Mikko’s class left us hangry with a capital H.
Craving something a little “fresher” to help us cool down after the heated flow, we stumbled upon Vitality Bowls for a quick midday feast. If you haven’t tried Vitality Bowls, all you need to know is that it’s a super awesome superfood café. The hardest choice of the day: do we order smoothies or açai bowls? Influenced by Mikko’s flow, we opted for the Warrior Bowl (with extra sliced strawberries). And channeling all things wellness, we walked across the street to Sephora for post-class face masks to-go—and maybe some mascara. We had no idea this wellness oasis existed in Chula Vista. Needless to say, we namaslayed our drive south to Namaste Fitness.
Ready to try a class (or two) at Namaste Fitness? Still debating if Barralates is right for you? Listen up to what owner and wellness expert Ana has to say about her studio—and trust us; you’ll be ready to book a class in no time at all. We will see you on the mat, at the barre, or over an açai bowl in the South Bay.
Things are weird. Times are changing. It seems like just when we’re starting to get a grip, there’s another surprise. When it comes to beauty, we've had to adapt on our own due to salon closures, keep an eye on preparations and protocol changes during those closures, try to know what we’re doing before booking an appointment once they reopened, and maybe even brave the journey back to the salon. Whether you live in a place where salons are open, you’ve experienced a second shutdown, or you straight up haven’t had a haircut since March, we can all probably agree that we’re expecting some differences in the salon and spa world thanks to COVID.
We wanted to gauge how everyone is thinking and feeling about all this, so we put out a poll on our Instagram, asking you all what you expect from beauty salons right now.
Here’s what you had to say...
53% of you have returned to the hair salon by now, while 47% of you have not. This makes sense, because every area of the country is different when it comes to cases, closures, and mandates, and every person is different when it comes to risk and safety.
While many hair salons have begun operating outdoors due to government regulations, 58% of you said you’re fine with getting your haircut indoors, while the other 42% are more comfortable keeping it outside.
58% of you said you’d rather go to your hair salon than have your stylist come to you. I get it, home is a safe space, probably shouldn’t let any outsiders in.
69% of you said you’re “totally!” going to tip more for services once you start receiving them again. During this time without our stylists and aestheticians, I think we all realized how much we need them and appreciate them, and many of us are willing to show them a little extra gratitude to make up for the time we spent apart.
But, most of you aren’t. 56% of you said you have not cut or colored your own or a friend’s hair, because it was too risky, while the other 44% just “had to!”
Only 29% of you have returned to nail salons, while the rest are sticking to at-home manicures. Maybe we’re all just getting really good at it? But probably, it’s because a lot of them are still closed down, or because it’s a little more difficult to get a pedicure outdoors (we need our massage chairs!).
Our last poll question asked about what differences you’ve all noticed when heading back to the salon, and you all had a lot to say...
It’s a beautiful thing to see how the salon and spa community has come together, taken precautions, and adjustments, all so they can continue to help us look and feel our best. If you haven’t spoken to your stylist lately (or even if you have), don’t forget to shoot them a thank you and let them know you appreciate them.