Yoga

Waterfalls, crystal sconces, and tons of natural light make this new yoga studio an urban haven.


amrita south

Fishtown mainstay Amrita Yoga & Wellness is opening a second location, Amrita South, today in Graduate Hospital. / Photograph courtesy Heather Rice

When Heather Rice opened Amrita Yoga & Wellness in Fishtown in January 2010, Fishtown was a very different place. Neither Frankford Hall nor Pizza Brain existed yet. The revamped Johnny Brenda’s was barely three years old. The median price for a townhouse was a little over $150,000. No one was thinking about yoga. “I decided to come back to Philadelphia because I saw a need for it,” says Rice, who was splitting her time between Oregon and Philly back then. “[Fishtown] was an underserved population.”

Nine years later, Amrita — a one-stop shop for several types of yoga, Pilates, barre, and rebounding — is overflowing with folks looking to feed their wellness obsessions. And Rice has decided to take her uncanny sense of opportunity and act on it again: Today, she launches her second studio, in Graduate Hospital. “I feel like what was happening in Fishtown when we opened there is happening in the neighborhood,” Rice says of Graduate Hospital. “We’re really excited to give people what we do best — access to wonderful ways of movement, a great community, awesome lifestyle practices, and events, all under one roof — without having to trek downtown or go across Broad Street.”

To be fair, Graduate Hospital is already more commercially built up than Fishtown was in 2010, but we get what she means: In the past few weeks alone, Be Well has written about two other companies opening in the area. And Graduate Hospital’s yoga options are certainly lacking, although it does have easy access to the hordes of studios in Center City.

Plus, Amrita South gives curious gym-goers plenty of reasons to venture over there, even if they don’t live in the neighborhood — especially now. Rice is offering free classes today (6:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. flows) and Thursday (9:30 a.m. and 6:15 p.m. flows and a 6:30 p.m. infrared hot flow) to celebrate. If you call the studio or make an on-site purchase, you can also get a 30 percent discount off the following packages:

  • Two months of unlimited group yoga, mat pilates, and barre classes for $180
  • Three months of the same for $270
  • Two months of unlimited group tower pilates, group yoga, mat pilates, and barre for $500
  • Three months for $750

If all of that wasn’t enough, Amrita South is also MASSIVE, measuring somewhere between 4,500 and 5,000 square feet, and it strikes a wonderful balance of elegance and calm. To wit: It’s got crystal sconces, a glittering chandelier, and beautiful all-white bathrooms — complete with four toilets and two huge showers — but also waterfalls, skylights, and the original wood ceiling beams to add a touch of nature to an urban setting. “The grounding element of wood especially can be really calming in our hectic, loud lives,” Rice says. “We want this to be a good reminder that you don’t really need to go anywhere to get away.”

Amrita South

The foyer area of Amrita South can get gorgeous light from either the crystal chandelier or the skylight. / Photograph by Mary Clare Fischer

Amrita South

#Want. / Photograph by Mary Clare Fischer

Amrita South

Shower. goals. / Photograph by Mary Clare Fischer

The main room will be used for yoga, while the two smaller rooms will host Pilates and barre, and infrared yoga and rebounding, respectively. (You’ll have to wait a bit for all the typical classes to join the schedule.) One cool thing: The barre will be freestanding and movable and was designed by Custom Barres in concert with former American Ballet Theatre dancers. It’s not in place at Amrita South yet — but that just gives you one more excuse to come back.

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