Mark McDermott

Best Yoga Studio

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Bikram Yoga

Kay Ostrenko and Leyla Assadi of Bikram Yoga. Photo by Robb Fulcher

Best of the Beach logoBikram Yoga – Devotees of hot and sweaty Bikram yoga flock from all over L.A. and beyond to the Hermosa studio of Leyla Assadi and Kay Ostrenko, where they practice a sequence of 26 postures developed by Yogiraj Bikram Choudhury, the founder of the worldwide Yoga College of India, in 105-degree heat and 40-degree humidity.

“That’s so you can go deeper, safer,” Ostrenko said.

Dan Cohen, a 52-year-old physical trainer who likes to lift, came to stretch about a year ago, suffering from rotator cuff and knee difficulties, and hip problems so severe he though he would need surgery.

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“All that is basically gone,” he said. “I’m young again.”

“This is an amazing workout and an amazing studio. The teachers are so great. They are encouraging, they know how to get you to do your best but they are not military style. They actually care about your growth,” yelps Diana H.

“The studio is beautiful, clean and I never smell any B.O.,” she adds without so much as an LOL. “This class also tones your body like no other.”

Diana says you should “drink a ton of water,” breathe, and stick it out for at least five classes.

“Be prepared to sweat — literally waterfalls. I was kind of fascinated to see myself sweat so much,” Susan S. yelps.

She describes a workout that is challenging, to say the least.

“I swore I was done with it, but afterwards I felt great. I felt cleansed, energetic, flexible, detoxed — I liked how I felt the next day too…Now I’ve been there about five times, and I plan on going at least another five times before the month is up. I’ve noticed I’m standing up straighter, my arms feel stronger, and I can balance better.”

The founder of the method began yoga at age 4 with the renowned Bishnu Ghosh, younger brother of Paramahansa Yogananda, author of The Autobiography of a Yogi and founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles.

He practiced Yoga four to six hours a day in Calcutta, and at 13 won his first of four straight National India Yoga Championships. As a teenager he suffered a knee injury while lifting weights, and shocked physicians with a speedy recovery through yoga. He went on to establish Bikram’s Yoga College of India and write books about yoga.

Bikram Yoga: 518 Pier Ave., Hermosa Beach. (310) 318-2647.

Runners-up (tie):

The Green Yogi, 3504 Highland Ave., Manhattan Beach.  (310) 546-9644

Harmony Yoga, 901 N Pacific Coast Highway Ste. 100, Redondo Beach. (310) 379-6905. ER


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