… And You Have to Go
Written by: Jessica Deutchman Ra Yoga Just Opened a Brand New Studio in Orange County
Photography By: Valerie Kon
Before heading to the brand-new Ra Yoga studio in Newport Beach, I had my expectations set reasonably high. After all, when the original Ra location opened its doors just five years ago, it quickly built a name for itself as one of the top yoga studios in Orange County. Even so, when I arrived, I was blown away.
I showed up at the new studio in a fluster, running a few minutes late, and carrying all of the worries and stress of the day with me. But as I stepped through the tall glass doors into the studio lobby, the worries I carried in were suddenly stripped away; I felt a strange wave of comfort and relief wash over me.
“We want people to walk in and instantly feel calm, ” said co-owner Bobby Kittleman. Bobby explained that the inspiration for the studio was the peacefulness of nature, plain and simple. The execution of this theme, however, is not simple at all. From the unique pieces of real tree bark wrapping around the wood of the front desk to the intricate murals of forests and mountains lining the walls, and the antiquated multi-grain doors taking you to stunning high-rise showers, every detail of this new Newport studio is both beautiful and thoughtfully designed.
Don’t let the image of high ceilings and large mirrors fool you, however. Ra, including the incredible co-owners behind it, is in no way your typical commercial studio. In fact, Bobby and his partner, Jenny Vande Hei, built those beautiful multi-grain doors with their own hands. And the murals? A number of them were painted by Jenny herself. My favorite is a painting she did in the larger of two yoga rooms. When looked at by the naked eye, it’s simply the outline of a mountain range, but once you turn to face the mirror, you see that flowing out of the mountains are the words Love is Simple.
Clearly, Jenny and Bobby are in no way your stereotypical highly successful business owners. Calm and down-to-earth, the two co-owners truly put their hearts and souls into creating this new studio from the ground up. Built on the three foundations of Ra Yoga, “creativity, authenticity, and community, ” their new studio is every bit as organic, genuine, and welcoming as the original Costa Mesa studio Orange County yogis have come to love so much.
Jenny is not just a co-owner, but one of the Ra Yoga instructors. If you have taken one of Jenny’s classes at the Costa Mesa studio, you know that her joy and spirit is one-of a-kind. Just a few minutes into my first (packed) Ra 2 hot-yoga experience, I could feel the sense of community in the room. When Jenny made an error in telling us which foot to rise about 10 minutes in, the entire room busted into the kind of laughter that only arises amidst old friends. I have never felt so connected to my practice as I did taking her class. The turnout of people at each Ra session is impressively large, yet the room feels intimate and safe. And you can expect no less from the classes at the new Newport location.
The new Ra Yoga studio, just like the original, offers a broad range of classes, both hot and not, for the beginner and seasoned yogi. With a large range of instructors, each one unique in their practice and teaching, and two separate rooms running over 300 classes a week anywhere from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., it is easy to find the right classes for you. If you are new to the studio, Ra offers a free first week, so that you can try out any and all of the classes offered.
Classes include introductory and slower-paced practices like Ra Vinyasa Level 1, meditation and stretching classes while higher-paced and more intense courses include detoxing, strength-based classes and (one of our LOCALE editor’s personal favorites) Yogalates, or yoga pilates. You can even request a private session or a Yoga therapy session, which Jenny teaches herself.
For those of you mom’s out there who don’t want to miss your workout or need a little mid-day break from the kiddos, Ra offers a daycare program for kids who are 6 months through 9 years old, so that you can be sure your “Little Ra-scals” are in good hands while you fully immerse yourself in your practice.
So grab your favorite sports bra and roll out your mat, because it’s about to get real hot at the hottest new studio in town. Ra Yoga in Newport Beach awaits.
1617 Westcliff Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Find your zen.