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Crouching pose, Hidden Dragon

The downtown area sports several new spots to achieve Zen.

Heide Brandes July 24th, 2013

While The Mat’s Edge draws an over-35 crowd seeking more of a journey than an intense practice, Hidden Dragon Yoga is faster-paced.

Specializing in hot yoga, Hidden Dragon, owned by Vicki Bryant and Desirae Penton, officially opened June 10 in a massive warehouse space at 26 N.E. 10th.

“We love what Oklahoma City has become, and we wanted to be a part of that,” said Penton. “Yoga is for everyone. In our studio, I’m going to push you a little harder. I’m lovingly intense.”

Close by, at 1705 N. Broadway, Beyond Yoga is a Christian-based studio. Owners Sarah Gardner and Nicole Atteberry started offering basic, pay-what-you-can classes, as well as rooftop yoga on The Packard Building.

The studio’s philosophy is embracing a noncompetitive, nonjudgmental practice with contemplative prayer and meditation, focused on healing.

“Our spiritual beliefs will be incorporated into everything we do, as messages of truth, life and hope. We will create an environment to grow, connect and heal as a community,” said Gardner. “But, you don’t have to believe in what we believe to come here. We do play Christian music. You make it what you want and focus on what you believe.”

Because each studio offers a unique style and atmosphere, their owners believe downtown can support not only three or more yoga venues, but can become a strong community of like-minded, stretchy practitioners.

“Downtown can become a yoga district,” said Gardner. “It’s not really competition. There are different aspects to each studio, and you have to find the one that works for you.”

Tracy Dawn Espinosa Checotah, a teacher at The Mat’s Edge, 720 N. Broadway, hopes the crop of new businesses will draw more residents to self-awareness and health.

“We are all so different, but we work together to bring yoga to downtown,” she said. “Oklahoma City is growing, and the yoga community is a little behind the curve here. Downtown needs yoga, and we are meeting the needs.”

The bond between the studios encourages students to visit multiple places in order to find the practice that works for them. In that vein, Penton helped coordinate Unite, a group yoga event that draws from studios throughout the metro. “You could have a yoga studio on every block and people will find out where they fit,” she said. “Unite is an effort to get a yoga community in downtown. Watching what happens here in Oklahoma City, you can see how yoga changes people.”

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