After a few months without seeing a single sign for vinyasa classes or an “om” symbol, I was starting to think yoga didn’t exist in Peru.
In Nicaragua and Costa Rica, practically every hostel offered daily classes. The Colombian coast provided several options, but moving south, we encountered less and less as we crossed into Ecuador and Northern Peru.

After the Peruvian beach destinations, yoga disappeared altogether. I still kept up my practice, lunging into warrior one next to glacial lakes while on our Santa Cruz trek, and on balconies above colonial squares in Arequipa. But I started to miss having company on the mat. I love teaching, and I enjoy taking other people’s classes. Especially when I can learn something new or get a new perspective on a familiar pose.

When we arrived in Cusco, I was overwhelmed by the options. There wasn’t just hotel yoga; the city had full-fledged studios! There are three primary locations, but they are all within a five block radius of each other, in a neighborhood called San Blas. Nestled in the steep hills directly above the Plaza de Armas, this section is best described as the “gringo quarter.”

Here its hard to find a restaurant that isn’t vegetarian or vegan, and the small doorways open onto health food stores, and boutique shops selling handmade organic cotton clothing at US prices.

It was inauthentic, but after being in rural Peru for so long, I welcomed the taste of home (though missed the meat).

We ended up staying in Cusco for five weeks, so I was able to get a feel for the yoga scene. If you’re looking for a class to stretch those sore muscles, here are the available studios and a quick review of my experience at each one.

The Yoga Room

Though the studio itself is tiny, it’s not much smaller than its competitors. Bellow the studio is a great little smoothie bar, complete with cacao and coconut smoothies, it’s a great snack for after class.

What I liked most about Yoga room was the quality of their classes and teachers. Currently, they are the only studio offering regular therapeutic yoga classes, which is hard to find in South America. If you get a chance to check them out in the next six months, I highly recommend taking a class from Natalie. She has a multi-disciplinary background and a fresh approach to teaching. She waits until her students are in the room, then goes around asking everyone’s name, how long they have practiced yoga, and if they have any injuries. You can tell she is fully present and interested in you, giving the practice a comfortable space. Before class starts, she enquires what her students would like to do that day. From their response, she plans a class on the spot and leads you seamlessly through a sequence designed specifically for you.

222 Carmen Bajo, San Blas
Cusco, Peru – Google Maps link

Healing House

I actually lived at healing house for almost three weeks through their Intentional Stay program. Though they give residents 50% discount on classes, making it an excellent option if you want to practice for a few weeks, I can’t recommend the experience. The residents were lovely, but management was abysmal, turning small booking issues into big dramas, and, in general, acting very unprofessionally.

As a yoga studio, they have at least two classes a day; the times they offered were nice because there were multiple morning classes most days. The majority are English speaking, and they are the only studio with Forrest yoga classes. I love Anna Forrest, so I was dying to try them out. Otherwise, they have a broad range of yoga disciplines, but their teaching quality is inconsistent. Unfortunately, I found teachers repeating the same class word for word a couple of times, and took a few classes comprised solely of sun salutations. Though this isn’t a problem if you are just passing through, or like the simplicity of basic vinyasa, for a fellow teacher or advanced student it was a drawback.

That being said, I also encountered a couple of phenomenal teachers whose classes I loved taking because I learned something new in each one. They clearly loved what they did, and took the time to make each class fresh and connect with their students.

Qanchipata 555, San Blas
Cusco, Peru – Google Maps Link

Yoga Inbound

Yoga Inbound is a chain organization, with studios throughout South America and abroad. Though I spent most of my time at either Healing House or the Yoga room, they seemed to have a decent variety of classes.

They also run several retreats out of the secret Valley–a beautiful area just an hour outside the city. If you are looking to delve into an entirely immersive retreat, they are one of the most affordable options I was able to find. There are a few other retreat centers in the Valley, but these primarily resort getaways out of reach for most backpackers.

La Casa de la Cultura
Calle Carmen Alto 111 San Blas
Cusco, Peru – Google Maps Link
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