At Buddha Shack, you do salutation to Drake and triangle pose to Biggie. Enter the studio that’s bringing the hip to a 5,000-year-old practice.
Clockwise: Cofounders Jenna Guadagni and Cristina Echavarria.
You walk in and it’s shadowy and dim, with just a bit of light spilling in from behind the drapes. You notice the beat of the music first, the pulse in your chest. Nobody is wearing much of anything at all. The air feels warm and electric. It’s time to move. No, it’s not 1:30am and you’re not at the hottest new club. It’s 9:45am and you’re about to get your vinyasa on.
Buddha Shack in Coconut Grove (3444 Main Hwy, buddhashack.co) is the city’s first hip-hop yoga studio, joining the growing ranks of fitness venues that blur the lines between nightclub and health club. Loungy couches replace sterile benches, pretty chandeliers replace gymnasium overheads, and generic soundtracks are replaced by the beats of Drake, The Weeknd, 2 Chainz and French Montana.
“Finding a cool yoga studio was a challenge,” says Cristina Echavarria, who has a background in P.R. and design (and who loves rap). When she mentioned her conundrum to Jenna Guadagni, who has a background as a Pilates, spin, and boxing instructor, a partnership was born. Six months later Buddha Shack opened its doors, offering more than 25 classes a week (some incorporate weights and high-intensity intervals; others are heated to 75 degrees).
What you won’t get at any of the Buddha Shack classes is one bit of judgment if your triangle pose is more of a quadrangle or if your crow looks more like a frog. “Our goal is to make everyone feel better spiritually, mentally and physically,” says Guadagni. “If you walk out feeling happier and more confident, we did our job.” What you will get at Buddha Shack? A chance to groove to Tupac barefoot—and one hell of a sweat.
Photography by: PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARY BETH KOETH