Welcoming students to its 90-degree heated power yoga room, a small sign in the waiting area of Namaspa states "come as you are, not as you should be."
"There are no mirrors here," says co-owner and founder Suzie Newcome, who encourages people to let go of any ideas of needing to be good at yoga to try it. "Just come and have fun, be a beginner, ask questions, and explore. With that as your goal, you will be successful from the first class."
A Bend native, Newcome left town to earn a Harvard MBA and a living as a corporate consultant. Nine years ago, she returned to Bend to contemplate a career change.
"I was living by what others thought I should be," she admits. "When I gave up my concern of what people would think, this became the best move for me."
At that time, Newcome enrolled in a yoga class with Baron Baptiste and earned a massage therapist license. Over the years, her persistence and belief in yoga has prevailed to where she now oversees a studio with 30 teachers and 50 classes.
"We have a lot of great studios here and it is really a wonderful community," she exclaims, adding that she is currently working to extend her reach to Redmond this fall with her second location.
2nd place: Groove Yoga