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This yoga thing, it's nothing new. But just what the hell is yoga anyway? Merriam-Webster OnLine ( defines the age-old word as:
1) a Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation.
2) a system of exercises for attaining bodily or mental control and well being.

In general, Westerners appreciate the practice for its secondary, more commercial and physically demanding form known as hatha yoga. Flexible folks have also come to lean on Bikram (hot), Ashtanga (power) and Iyengar (alignment) yoga, all of which are rooted in hatha. These and other styles are taught at several studios throughout the area. In fact, so many are available that choosing the right yoga class could twist you up in knots. But don't sweat it. Just navigate the maze that is your spiritual path with this handy guide to some of Portland's noteworthy yoga studios.

  ashram mantra schedule price psst Yoga Shala,
1812 NE Alberta St.,
281-4452, This studio features an "asana of the month" for focused study of a particular yoga pose. Exercise here is grounded in the vinyasa system, emphasizing fluid movements between postures. Daily classes; visit website for more information. $7 community class, $12 drop-in, $50 five-class series (valid 60 days), $80 10-class series (valid 60 days), $120 one month unlimited. In April, visiting teachers Shandor Remente and Emma Balnaves will present lectures and workshops on the teachings of the Shadow School of Yoga. Bikram's Yoga College of India,
4831 NE Fremont St., 284-0555, Named for hot yoga's multimillionaire guru, Bikram Choudhury, this local franchise of the Bikram School follows a trademarked regimen of 26 yoga postures in a room heated between 90 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

9 am and 4:30 pm daily; 6:30 pm Monday-Friday; 6:45 am Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 8:15 pm Tuesday and Thursday.

$14 single class, $110 for 10 classes (valid 60 days), $110 one month unlimited, $295 three months unlimited, $1,100 one year unlimited.

Other Bikram's Yoga College of India schools include 5816 SW Hood Ave., 452-1132; 7070 SE 16th Ave., 232-9642.

918 SW Yamhill St., 227-3578, Yoga is just one of the classes held at this movement studio.

Noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 6:40 pm Wednesday, 8:30 am Saturday. See website for more. $11 drop-in, $36 four classes, $48 six classes, $60 eight classes, $66 12 classes, $75 30-day unlimited.

BodyMoves also offers NIA on weekdays, a trademarked workout that blends dance, martial arts and yoga. Movement Center,
1021 NE 33rd Ave., 231-0994,

The Movement Center, located behind Northeast Portland's mammoth spiritual center, the Nityananda Institute, offers more than a dozen classes for all levels and ages, including a number of intermediate and advanced classes.

Visit the website or call 231-0994 for more information. No classes Sundays. Class prices vary. Drop-in classes $7-$10. Specialty classes include Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis and Teen Yoga. Portland Parks and Recreation, 823-7529,

Yoga for the people. This is no-frills practice at no-frills locations. Classes teaching all the basics are some of the cheapest around, but don't expect the luxuries offered at most independent outlets. Ideal for starving artists, yoga-phobes and skeptical beginners. Classes in all quadrants. Consult the website or call for more information. Class prices vary based on length and type of instruction. Average price per class: $7.Class prices vary based on length and type of instruction. Average price per class: $7. The parks department doesn't discriminate. Senior-, kid-, teen-, couple- and family-themed classes are all offered.The parks department doesn't discriminate. Senior-, kid-, teen-, couple- and family-themed classes are all offered. Portland Yoga Arts, 4400 NE Glisan St., 287-1078, Iyengar method taught with a strong focus on sequential yoga postures throughout a 10-week series.

Classes Sunday through Friday. Winter term started Jan. 5, but you can begin at any time. $120 to $150 for a 10-week term. PYA will hold a training retreat for teachers in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, in early February. The workshop cost is $350 Yoga Bhoga, 600 SW 10th Ave., #406, 241-5058, Located on the fourth floor of the Galleria, this studio offers a variety of Ashtanga classes for the working workout crowd.

Daily classes. See website for more information.

Drop-in $12, $60 six classes (valid 90 days), $108 12 classes (valid 90 days), $108 one month unlimited. Ten-week community-education yoga classes offered through Portland Community College for $75. Yoga Northwest, 2277 NW Quimby St., 226-9642, All the teachers at this year-old hot-yoga studio are Bikram certified. Yoga Northwest also offers yin yoga classes, which are taught at room temperature with an emphasis on holding postures for up to 10 minutes. Hot-yoga classes offered daily. Yin yoga: 11 am and 8 pm Tuesday and Thursday, 8 am Saturday, and 5 pm Sunday. $12 drop-in, $55 five classes, $100 10 classes, $110 one month unlimited, $275 three-months unlimited, $500 six months unlimited, $900 one-year unlimited. On Mondays, Yoga Northwest offers a Qi Gong ("chee-gong") class. This form of non-contact martial arts moves slowly, emphasizing breathwork and energy flow. Yoga Space, 2536 SE Ankeny St., 281-6282, This cozy Southeast studio serves as host to nearly two dozen yoga teachers. Most classes welcome all levels. Classes run daily. $7 to $12 per class. Prenatal yoga, new mother/baby interactive, and women's meditation classes. Yoga Union, 2043 SE 50th Ave., and 4135 SE Gladstone St., 235-9642, Yoga Union is hot. Literally. The main room, at Southeast 50th Avenue and Lincoln Street, recommended for beginners, is heated to 105+ degrees. The Creston Park studio, where more intermediate poses are practiced, is a cool 90 to 95 degrees. Weekday classes at Yoga Union's main studio, 9 am and 4 pm Monday-Friday, 6 pm daily. Weekend classes available.
See website for more. $12 drop-in classes, $50 five classes, $100 10 classes, $275 30-day, $500 60-day. Introductory special: $10 for 10 days. Yoga Union offers a two-and-a-half-hour intermediate class, and a class taught in complete silence.