I live in the San Diego area, which means I have a LOT of options for which yoga studio to make mine. In fact, there may be more yoga studios than Starbucks coffee shops within a five-mile radius of my home. So why do I LOVE “my” studio (Mantra Yoga & Juice in Carlsbad, CA) so much, and wouldn’t dream of being “unfaithful” to it? Let me count the ways …

Location, location, location

Mantra overlooks the Pacific Ocean; both of its studios provide a stunning view of the water. This allows the teachers to say cool stuff like “shine your heart toward the ocean.” Plus, it’s only about a seven-minute drive from my home, so I can’t ever use “it’s too far to go” as a “namaste-on-the-couch-today” excuse.

Berry refreshing

Mantra includes a full-service juice bar, with custom-made drinks, salads, and pitaya bowls available. I’ll admit I haven’t yet tried the offerings beyond the berry smoothie (yum) and the coffee smoothie (double yum), but the customers who get those green drinks always seem delighted. Mantra also offers 1, 3, and 5-day “cleanse” options … definitely something I’ll be trying once I’m done overeating for the holidays.

Encouragement and understanding

As a yoga beginner, I was a little intimidated when I first came to the studio last April, but Mantra’s teachers put me at ease immediately. They understand that my long-neglected, 40-something physique has, um, limitations; they’re great about showing me how to ease into the postures and suggesting alternatives when I’m like “Half-pigeon? Oh, that’s so not happening.”

Community vibe

While this is likely something many studios offer, Mantra puts a unique spin on it … by offering special events such as creativity workshops, health/wellness challenges, even a monthly “open-mic night” for local musicians.

The little things make the yoga studio

I’ve already written about how Mantra provides towels soaked in lavender water. But there’s more: the staff takes the time to learn people’s names … the teachers “mix it up” in their routines so no two classes are exactly alike … the studios are always nice and clean. Now, I admit, maybe it’s the same with all studios, but I got enough comments on my previous post saying, “Hey, my studio doesn’t give me a lavender towel” that I have to wonder!

What are little (and big) things that set your studio apart? Let us know in the comments!