When spring is so close we can (nearly) taste it, Seattle provides appealing ways to wait it out and, in the meantime, to get the body moving in exciting and beneficial ways. Whether it's stretching, strength training or suave dance steps you're after, this city has the perfect activity for you.
The Northwest Yoga Conference – the Pacific Northwest’s largest yoga event – comes to Lynnwood (just a 20-minute drive from downtown Seattle) in early March.
In 2015, more than 500 yoga enthusiasts and teachers will gather for a vibrant, immersive experience that features workshops with world-renowned instructors, dazzling live music performances, inspiring talks and a bustling marketplace selling yoga-centric wares.
Yogis unite at the Northwest Yoga Conference — Photo courtesy of Lion Lady Photography / Northwest Yoga Conference
This year's fest also features a powerful theme: "Illuminate Your Mind, Body and Spirit." Highlights range from national-level presenters like Richard Miller and Annie Carpenter to special events with DJ Hyfi, free community classes, demos and even motivational and educational talks.
The event draws teachers and students from near and far. And, while many attendees have practiced for years, newcomers are welcomed with open arms, too.
Throughout the calendar year, Seattle studios welcome yogis of all levels to their mats, each neighborhood featuring its own community scene. Classes boast a variety of styles, getting things flowing in the Central District at tranquil spots like the Samaraya Center; on Capitol Hill at 8 Limbs Yoga Center and Seattle Yoga Arts; and in Fremont at The Yoga Tree and Levitas Studio, to name a few.
High-flying fun comes to Fremont's Levitas Studio — Photo courtesy of Samantha Danielle / Levitas Studio
At Levitas, Seattle's first antigravity yoga studio, the welcoming space combines elements of dance, Pilates and gymnastics, allowing participants to benefit from a hybrid mind-body exercise while suspended in a supportive, cocoon-like hammock.
And now this spring, the studio launches a stand-up paddleboarding series, during which students grab a board (indoors) and learn how to perfect their balance and stability.
Dance classes also prove an ideal way to melt away stress and gray-day blues, and studios like Velocity Dance Center and Century Ballroom instruct on a variety of styles.
In Fremont, Salsa Con Todo sizzles with Latin flair. Then, on the second and fourth Mondays of each month, Ballard's Tractor Tavern hosts a square dance and old-time jam. The jam enlivens the space from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., the dancing from 8 p.m. till 11 p.m. (The Tallboys provide the boot-stompin' tunes, while experienced callers shout out step instructions.)
If honky-tonk-fueled "Outlaw Swing" is your thing, check out private and group classes led by Seattle-based Michael Augusta; many of his high-energy gatherings take place at Ballard's Conor Byrne Pub on Tuesday evenings.