Gold Coast: A Yogi’s Paradise

Yoga Journal Editor Jessica Humphries explores the yoga scene on Queensland's Gold Coast

Until recently, I had never found myself drawn to the glitz and glamour of the Gold Coast. The GC didn’t feel like the place for a Byron Bay bare foot yogi who spends most of her time in fisherman pants. But recently, as I felt the pull to investigate yoga outside the confines of my small community, I started to explore this little pocket of the world. I’m not going to lie, the Goldie isn’t the place you would expect to find inner peace. The high-rise buildings, bikini clad beach babes, fashionistas and stimulation of traffic, shops and crowds is enough to scare any sensitive yogi back into their cave. But as I began to weave my way into the yoga community, I was welcomed with loving arms and introduced to a flurry of yogic activities and incredible nature in the area.

 

Coolangatta to Palm Beach

 The Southern side of the Gold Coast almost feels like home. Sleepy towns dot the side of the highway after the NSW border, and not far from Coolangatta airport you’ll find some beautiful, quiet beaches like Snapper Rocks and Kirra. If you’re feeling some rainforest time, head twenty minutes west of the coast to the Currumbin rock pools and delight in this little pocket of heaven. Tallebudgera Valley is also a natural wonderland, with a wealth of yoga retreats to indulge in.

If you really want to get amongst the trees, head further west (and a little south) to Springbrook National Park. There are some stunning nature walks and incredible lookouts.

Palm Beach is home to some real yogi action. Ritual Yoga and Pilates’ young owners have created a youthful and modern vibe. Classes are supportive and inclusive and the timetable offers Yoga, Pilates, Barre and meditation. Gold Coast Yoga Centre is a traditional, homely centre inviting curious and experienced Ashtanga Yogis to enthusiastically fill the space. It’s one of the oldest studios on the GC and teachers are highly experienced and holistically knowledgeable.

Palm Beach Organics is a cute and comfy health food shop serving arguably the best acai bowls on the GC (and there are a lot of acai bowls on the GC).

Burleigh Heads to Broadbeach

 Burleigh Heads has a distinctly yogic energy with something for every breed of yogi. Centre for Life offers authentic Kundalini classes with experienced teachers. Hot Yoga Gold Coast is certainly not for the faint hearted, but Bikram fans and gym go-ers will love this Burleigh studio (they also have a space in Mermaid) where teachers guide students through a dynamic, 26 posture series in a room heated to 40 degrees. Breathe Yoga and Meditation offers Hatha and Kundalini in an inviting, humble space and The Yoga Room teaches Iyengar inspired Hatha with dedicated and experienced teachers.

Head to Govindas for a good old fashioned Hari Krishna feast. And if you really want to immerse yourself in the yoga culture, head to the park on a Sunday afternoon for Acro Yoga Jams and a drum circle.

In Varsity Lakes you’ll find funky studio Boheme and Body offering a variety of styles (including Hip Hop Yoga and Kids Yoga) and also the newly opened 42 Athletic, which offers fitness classes, Hip Hop Yoga and Chill Yoga.

Greenhouse Canteen & Bar in Miami serves vegan share plates, street food and raw treats. The deliciously inventive menu (like raw salted caramel and popcorn slice with vanilla cashew cream) and funky bar aims to demonstrate just how hip a plant-based lifestyle can be.

 Mermaid is also bustling with yogic goodness. Essence of Living is a popular studio with a clear community atmosphere. All students seem to be regulars and there are hugs and kisses all around on arrival. The space is big and inviting with two large, bright studios offering an abundant timetable of Yoga, Pilates and Barre with experienced, Essence-trained teachers.

Australian School of Meditation and Yoga (ASMY) is a traditional school with a big following of yoga devotees. They host Kirtan evenings every Friday night and offer free meditation classes daily, as well as Hatha Yoga in the Mermaid /Nobby Beach space. They also have five other, smaller spaces around the GC.

Mandala Organic Arts Café is a friendly, healthy, vegan café. The space is big and inviting, with a lush outdoor area perfect for health conscious gatherings.

BSKT is a stone’s throw away from the beach and has a bright and funky yoga space with ocean views. Downstairs there’s a whole foods café with delicious, healthy options for all diets (raw lovers – try the vegan Pad Thai).

Peace Yoga was the perfect post Hot Yoga indulgence. I arrived sweaty, dishevelled and ready to relax. Owner and teacher Doreen Styles has years of experience and teaches from a place of deep knowledge and compassion. Her studio felt like home with deities, prayer flags and ornaments creating a cosy vibe. Devoted, blissed-out students stayed for long chats and hugs after class.

 My Health Yoga in Broadbeach is owned by our cover model, Carrie-Anne Fields, and business partner Matty McDonnell. There’s a very enticing simplicity about the space and the style of yoga feels accessible and inclusive. Although I felt odd rocking up to the shopping complex (My Health’s home) in my bare feet, once I found the studio I felt instantly at home.

Around the corner is Cardamon Pod, a social and inviting café, with plenty of outdoor seating to bask in the sun, serving up all sorts of vegetarian, Hari Krishna goodness and

Around Surfers Paradise

 Chameleon New Age Salon in the heart of Surfers Paradise is the epitome of New Age. A water fountain welcomes you as you enter the alternative hair salon. Colourful, hippie décor is strewn around the space as you wander up the stairs – home of the whole foods café, healing spaces (including aura pictures and readings) and yoga studio. The yin class I took was the perfect antidote to my pre-arrival, over stimulated anxiety.

 Fire Shaper in Bundall is popular amongst the hot yogis and classes range from Flow (for Vinyasa fans) and Blaze (prepare to sweat).

Southport and beyond

Shanti Yoga in Southport is owned by Indian born Shanti Gowans who has been studying and practicing her entire life, as well as establishing a number of yoga studios and centres throughout Australia since the seventies. The Shanti centre has a traditional timetable of Hatha, meditation, Yoga Nidra, Pranayama, philosophy and chanting.

Elemental Hot Yoga in Parkwood has an abundant schedule of hot and power classes. Zen Soul Life, owned by Madonna Williams, runs a number of classes in the Paradise Point area – including some outdoors. Floating Lotus in Helensvale is a beautiful little space offering a diverse timetable, including SUP Yoga, and is one of the only studios in the area.

Look up D’Yoga owner Darci Cole-Ensor, a very loved local teacher who takes her classes all around the GC and regularly hosts fun yoga events.

The yogic activities don’t stop with asana. Check out moregoldcoast.com.au for details on all of the amazing markets (arts, organic etc. along the coast). With so much going on, there’s even a Facebook group (Gold Coast Yoga Community) with over 1000 members, dedicated to sharing yoga happenings in the area.

The Gold Coast yoga scene is not what I was expecting. I found pockets of peace in stimulation central and now keenly look forward to my day trips to this little mecca of goodness. Look closely and find a welcoming community of golden hosts creating a yogis’ paradise.