Yoga in Southern California (SoCal): The Ultimate Guide

five woman standing on seashore

If there’s one place outside of India that has to be the hub of all things yoga, it’s gotta be Southern California.

From the early origins of yoga in West Hollywood, to the famous Swami’s in Encinitas, San Diego, yoga is a default way of life for many southern Californians.

With amazing weather year round, it’s no surprise there is lots of outdoor yoga class options at the beach or the park. Some studios like Trilogy Sanctuary in La Jolla even have a rooftop dome for classes.

What are the most popular yoga studios in Southern California?

woman doing yoga on rock platform next to body of water

There are many popular yoga studios in Southern California, and it can be difficult to determine which ones are the most popular. Some popular studios in the area include:

  1. YogaWorks: With multiple locations throughout Southern California, YogaWorks is a popular choice for many yogis in the area. They offer a variety of class styles and levels, as well as teacher training programs.
  2. CorePower Yoga: This studio has several locations in Southern California and is known for its high-energy, athletic classes.
  3. Y7 Studio: This studio is known for its “hip-hop yoga” classes, which involve practicing yoga to a soundtrack of popular music.
  4. Golden Bridge Yoga: This studio, founded by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, is known for its Kundalini Yoga classes and its spiritual approach to the practice.
  5. Laughing Lotus: This studio is known for its fun, energetic classes and its welcoming, inclusive community.

It’s important to note that the popularity of a yoga studio can vary depending on an individual’s personal preferences and needs. It’s always a good idea to try out a few different studios and see which one feels like the best fit for you.

Highest Rated & Popular Yoga Studios in San Diego County

Looking at Yelp reviews for yoga studios, we can get a good sense of both popular and highly-rated studios.

Here are the top rated studios in all of San Diego County, based on dozens of hours of experience attending many area yoga studios by this website’s owner.

We recommend looking at the about page of each yoga studio’s website, as well as its Instagram profile to get a feel for the culture, community, and styles of each studio. Some yogis prefer a deep, holistic yoga approach – which Trilogy Yoga in La Jolla is great for. Others prefer high-energy, fast moving sweat sessions from a reliable franchises – in which case Yoga Six and Core Power are good fits.

Many in the yoga community value deep communities of spiritual beings looking to journey and grow with others. For these connected yogis, it’s important to have offerings of new workshops, teacher trainings, and yoga retreats to grow and strengthen their practice while connecting with others.

Interestingly, I’ve found that there are no stereotypes that truly apply to yogis – event the most dedicated connected yogis. They may be college students, entrepreneurs, career yoga teachers, spiritual teachers, retired doctors, retirees, or those going through a transition in life. The stereotype of crunchy hippy or corporate Alo glam yogi are but segments of the overall yoga fan base.

Keep these concepts in mind when considering yoga studios in San Diego County. The San Diego region incorporates a wide variety of neighborhoods and cities that also align with yogi subcultures themselves. The urban, hipster yogis in Normal Heights foster different studio cultures than the surfer yogis in Encinitas or the college yogis in Pacific Beach.

Best Yoga Studio in the City of San Diego

Looking at a cross section of many different neighborhoods in San Diego, the overall best within the city limits, according to Yelp, is tough to perfectly identify, so we recommend choosing from one of the neighborhoods below, which are all within San Diego city limits.

Best Yoga Studio in La Jolla

Trilogy Sanctuary

Founded by Leila and Joe Caldera in 2014, Trilogy Sanctuary is just that – a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of urban San Diego, even a refuge on the tourist plateau of La Jolla Village.

What differentiates Trilogy Sanctuary most prominently is its rooftop deck hosting three distinct areas:

  1. Two yoga decks – an outdoor aerial yoga structure & separately, a yoga dome.
  2. Totem boutique – a yoga goods botique replete with yoga spirituality books, gemstones, yoga mats, yoga accessories, apparel and more.
  3. Trilogy Cafe – a fully vegan, plant-based cafe with lots of raw, macrobiotic, paleo, and allergen free options.

You could spend hours at trilogy. Come in for morning coffee, do an early class, buy a new gemstone from the boutique, get lunch, read a book on the outdoor couches, do a meditative session, buy a new yoga bag, move your car, do a high-intensity class, grab a post-class smoothie, and either go home or keep going you crazy yoga animal!

The food at Trilogy Cafe is probably the best healthy food in a casual setting you’ll find in San Diego. Much like Casa De Luz, they create the food with intention and a focus on health, incorporating probiotics and macrobiotic concepts in the food. Those rare few of you on a fully vegan raw food diet will take delight in some gastronomic offerings like the Raw Wrap, Coconut Yoghurt Parfait (sans granola), smoothies, acai bowls, and Majestic raw carrot cake with lemon cashew vanilla filling.

Best Yoga Studio in Normal Heights

Normal Heights is another core yoga neighborhood in San Diego. Its gentrifying, urban environment has a buzzing collection of new wave eateries, studios and interesting shops. Perfect for young adults in their 20s and 30s looking to find their community and establish life-long yogic friendships.

Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga

Yelp link

This yoga and mediation center has a perfect 5-stars on Yelp, with over 200 reviews. Clearly this is in the running for the best studio in all of San Diego.

Best Yoga Studio in Ocean Beach

reunify Yoga

Yelp link

While there may be other studios with more ratings, reunify has 5 stars aggregated on Yelp, and has a strong recency of strong reviews, as well as high qualitative reviews.

Students of reunify have called it the best in San Diego. Other appreciate the strong spiritual element the studio has in its classes. Many say the teachers’ yoga knowledge is deep and always evolving.

reunify is high on my list to visit soon.

North County San Diego Yoga Studios

North County San Diego spans from Del Mar north to Oceanside, across to Escondido, and back down south to Scripps Ranch, roughly everything from the 56 freeway north.

The North County coastal cities of Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff, Encinitas, Leucadia and Carlsbad are havens for the yoga-surfer stereotype. While there are plenty of those, there’s also a rich diversity of ages, genders, demographics, and psychographics that enjoy yoga – from Carmel Valley soccer moms to Escondido winery owners.

Best Yoga Studio in Encinitas

The Soul of Yoga™

Founded in 2001 by a husband and wife team, The Soul of Yoga™ goes deep into the practice.

The studio highlights that they are “one of only 25 IAYT Accredited Yoga Therapy trainings in the world”. They offer tons of 200-300 hr trainings across many specialities and also newly offer Sound Training and Ayurveda certifications.

Best Yoga Studio in Carlsbad

Yoga on State

With a full 5-star profile on Yelp, Yoga on State is the best yoga studio in Carlsbad.

With the Self-Realization fellowship as a core tenet of the community, Encinitas is one of the main hubs of yoga in San Diego, Southern California, and even the world.

Best Yoga Studio for Aerial Yoga

Trilogy Sanctuary

La Jolla’s Trilogy Sanctuary takes the lead with two dedicated, permanent aerial yoga setups – both outdoors on the deck and indoors on the third floor.

Best Yoga & Rock Climbing Combination

Grotto Climbing and Yoga

Yelp link

I love the combination of rock climbing gyms with yoga studios. They are two very complementary sports, and you can keep it fresh with just one subscription. Not feeling yoga? Go climb. Sore from climbing? Stretch it out in class.

That being said, it looks like there are roughly only two yoga classes a day. So this is very much a subscription for those who mostly want to rock climb and also do some yoga. Their limited scheduling means it’s unlikely most people would have enough options throughout the week to get a full range of yoga classes.

But if it’s perfect for you, the $85/mo subscription for both unlimited rock climbing and yoga is still an amazing value for most people.

Most Luxurious Yoga & Spa Combo Retreat

Golden Door

Nestled among hundreds of acres in North San Diego County, in the city of San Marcos, lies the mysterious estate of Golden Door.

This ultra-luxurious destination has hosted A-list celebrities like Oprah and almost everyone else.

Among their many activities is a full spectrum of yoga classes. We don’t yet have intel on the quality of the classes and instructors, but assuming the 5-star experience applies to fitness classes as well, we imagine they bring in the top instructor around.

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