Best Yoga: Yoga Loft, Manhattan Beach [Best of the Beach 2014]
Never underestimate what a small group of strong, highly flexible women can do. Yoga studios have popped up all over the South Bay in recent years, but what Yoga Loft owner Suzy Nece describes as “the little studio that could” has somehow managed to rise above the yogic din. Partly, it’s about location; the Yoga Loft is a beautifully pacific room perched above the Manhattan Beach pier. Mostly, though, it’s about the instructors at the Loft — a mostly female cadre of yogis led by Nece herself, a stand up comic who infuses her teaching with humor and thus makes everyone breathe easier. The presiding ethos of the Loft is “no mud, no lotus,” meaning this is yoga delivered without an iota of pretension. “I just think that life is serious enough, and when someone finally finds a bridge to walk through those doors — people don’t walk in here because, ‘Oh, everything is perfect and my life is fantastic,’” Nece says. “You know, they usually walk in because they are jacked up, or life is so busy, or somebody begged them to finally do it. The culture of this studio — the yoga culture, really — is one of inclusion and acceptance. There is that quote: the shortest distance between two people is laughter. Yoga is union; yoga is about connection. That to me is laughter.”
“The concept of ‘om’ to me is a belly laugh,” she adds. “It’s not this crunchy hippie thing; it’s the religious experience of a deeply felt belly laugh. Just pure, and not a contrived ‘laughter yoga .everyone we are going to laugh now. to really be in the moment, and to be able laugh at yourself is such a gift to be able to take out of this room into reality.”
1112 Ocean Dr, Manhattan Beach, (310) 372-7334. Yogaloftmb.com
Runner up: The Green Yogi, 3504 Highland Ave, Manhattan Beach, (310) 546-9644. Thegreenyogi.com.