Zen Out: The Girls’ Guide to Yoga in NYC

New York City alone has about 300 yoga studios, according to Brette Popper, publisher of YogaCity NYC. Primarily concentrated in Manhattan, this number of studios doesn’t include yoga in gyms or community centers. From vinyasa to bikram to doga (yoga for dogs), you can find every conceivable style of yoga in the big apple.

Laughing Lotus in Chelsea

Laughing Lotus in Chelsea

A good group of my friends and I have been practicing yoga for many years. Being the New Yorkers that we are, we are all proud to have our own fitness routine and yogi temperament; some of us prefer to relax and meditate, some of us want to sweat profusely, and some of us want just want to be able to bend over and touch our toes (the last one describes yours truly). New York City has no shortage of studios for all types, whether you’re a spiritually seasoned yogi, you’re coming back after a yoga break and wants some tone and flexibility, or you’re a total beginner that wants to test out a balanced blend of strengthening the mind and body. For those of you who want to take a breather from the tread-mill at Equinox, the bike at Soulcycle, or the couch in apartment 4A, here’s a quick guide to some of NYC’s yoga studios NYC that can fit your own workout style.

Strala Yoga

Where: 632 Broadway (at Bleecker St), 6th Fl
Strala yoga is a “movement-based system that ignites freedom,” says founder Tara Stiles. Strala is about moving away from rigidity into expansive movement and connectedness, the word “Strala” itself is a Swedish word meaning to “radiate light.” According to the website the classes are movement driven, allowing each inhale to lift, expand and open, and each exhale to move further into the experience.

Golden Bridge

Where: 253 Centre Street (between Grand and Broome St)

Golden Bridge offers Kundalini, Hatha, and prenatal “family” yoga.
Kundalini Yoga balances the nervous and glandular systems. It includes chanting and doing physical postures and meditation. The first part of the studio offers an extensive shop of yoga gear and products for general wellness and spiritual health.

Yoga to the People

Where: Multiple Locations

12 St Mark’s Place #2, 115 West 27th St, 3rd Fl, 1017 6th Ave, 3rd Fl, 211 N. 11th St, 2nd Fl Brooklyn

This studio thrives on the idea that yoga class is what you make it, so there are no levels or degrees of difficultly. You’ll find beginners and seasoned yogis practicing side by side; having taken a class at the St Mark’s location, I found this concept quite powerful for me. The class is essentially free, with the studio running on an anonymous donation-basis. The 27th St location offers hot yoga, and the 38th St location has power vinyasa.

Unnata Aerial Yoga

Where: 241 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn

Michelle Dortignac’s Aerial Yoga is a unique hybrid of yoga and aerial dance. Using a soft aerial hammock suspended from the ceiling, the website states, you’ll explore new and traditional yoga postures with your body weight partially or fully supported. This will allow you to achieve greater flexibility, a deeper stretch, increase your range of motion, build strength, lengthen the spine, and relax the nervous system. No previous yoga or acrobatics experience required.

Unnata Aerial Yoga

Unnata Aerial Yoga

Laughing Lotus

Where: 636 Sixth Ave (entrance on 19th St)

Fast-flowing classes at this pink and orange studio in Chelsea are held in a huge factory loft. Midnight Yoga is held every Friday from 10pm to midnight and features live music. The website describes Lotus Flow™ as a dynamic, soulful yoga style – a devotional dance that takes you on an uplifting journey and connects you to your own divine path. It’s creatively bold fluid asana that builds momentum and rides the rhythms of real life, weaving in yoga’s timeless teachings to spiritualize the physical body, and bring you closer to your true self. For beginners, Laughing Lotus offers a three week absolute beginner series, held on Saturdays.

Laughing Lotus in Chelsea

Laughing Lotus in Chelsea

Dharma Yoga Center

Where: 81 West 23rd St

Founder Sri Dharma Mittra is revered as one of America’s original yoga teachers, being one of the first independent yoga teachers on the East Coast. Dharma Yoga has roots in all nine forms of yoga, including Hatha, Raja, Karma, Kriya, Bhakti, Japa, Laya and Jnana, as well as a focus on the Eight Limbs of Yoga (Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga) with great emphasis placed on Yama and Niyama. This is a great studio for those who may ultimately be interested in teacher training.

Jivamukti Yoga

Where: 841 Broadway, #2

Jivamukti is one of the country’s largest yoga studios and perhaps best represents America’s interpretation of the Indian yoga tradition. The classes are considered more demanding, and they are by no means intimate – often fitting 100 students at a time. Founders Sharon Gannon and David Life has fostered a very loyal community, and they occasionally come to the studio to teach sold-out classes. Workshops include kirtan yoga chanting, Sanskrit, meditation, advanced asana, and teacher training. The studio’s high-end retail store sells yoga stylized jewelry, and their vegan cafe is a nice spot to replenish post-workout.

Kula Yoga Project

Where: Multiple Locations

28 Warren St, 4th Fl & 85 N 3rd St

The location is very typical New York – the Tribeca location is up three flights of stairs and hidden behind a modest wooden. Kula specializes in Vinyasa-style practice. During classes that range from 65 minutes to two hours, experienced yogis guide students through sweeping sequences. Run at a very quick pace and led with minimal demonstration, so this studio is meant for those with a deeper knowledge of yoga.

OM Factory

Where: Multiple Locations

265 West 37th St, 17th Fl & 873 Broadway, 202

According to a recent review of the studio, OM Yoga is the vision of Cyndi Lee, who combines vinyasa yoga with Buddhist meditation and mindfulness practices. Lee is one of the country’s most recognizable yoga teachers — thanks to her popular books and DVDs — and she has built a reputation on intuitive, accessible, and high-quality yoga. Classes here are guided by the very simple concept that yoga should be approachable and suited to each student, making OM Yoga a great community for beginners. Yoga-seekers often gather from across the U.S. to take classes here.

Integral Yoga Institute

Where: 227 West 13th St

The Integral Yoga Institute was founded by Swami Satchidananda in New York in 1966. Classes here are in a classic hatha style, with more focus on breathing, stretching, and strengthening than of mastery of complicated poses. The yoga studio’s schedule includes cooking classes, concerts, and meditation practice. Hatha consists of postures (asana), breath control (pranayama), relaxation, and cleansing practices (kriyas) meant to strengthen and purify body and mind. Hatha style is a great introductory practice for beginners.

Bikram Yoga NYC

Where: Multiple Locations

182 5th Ave, 797 8th Ave, 143 West 72nd St, 173 East 83rd St

Bikram Yoga is a different form of yoga altogether, although some love the concept because of how much you’ll sweat through it. Usually set in upwards of 90 degree heat, Bikram is a 90 minute class that offers series of twenty-six Hatha Yoga postures and two Pranayama breathing techniques designed to provide a challenging, invigorating, rejuvenating and effective yoga experience. Having taken a Bikram Yoga Class, I must say it’s not for everyone, especially those who tend to feel claustrophobic. Passing through the initial congested feelings, I had one of the best workouts of my life at Bikram.

Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga

Lyons Den Power Yoga

Where: 279 Church St

Lyons Den offers an interesting spin on yoga. Their website states that they are Manhattan’s only yoga studio dedicated to teaching Hot Power Vinyasa Yoga in the Baptiste Yoga™ Method.

Pure Yoga

Where: 203 E 86th St

Pure is the Four Seasons of yoga studios. They’re owned by Equinox, have amazing facilities, and they don’t take drop-ins, it is membership only. Pure offers a unique barre program, which complement to yoga through its disciplined and more rigorous movements. If you’d like a more workout central approach to yoga, you’re most comfortable in a gym and you’re just starting out yoga, this is the right place for you.

YogaWorks

Where: Multiple Locations

459 Broadway, 138 5th Ave, 37 West 65th St, 1319 3rd Ave, 210 Joralemon St, Brooklyn
YogaWorks began in 1987 as a one-room operation in Santa Monica. Today, the chain has 23 locations in California and New York, including this 11,000-square-foot flagship in Soho, a two-floor studio with multiple rooms and a stunning changing area and showers. They offer a wide range of classes, including classes for kids, Ashtanga, Iyengar, TRX (a prop-based yoga requiring specially designed walls), Pilates, and hybrid classes like BarWorks and SculptWorks.

YogaWorks Soho

YogaWorks Soho

Yoga wouldn’t be complete without a post workout juice or healthy meal. Jivamuktea Café offers vegan fare in-house, adjacent to the Jivamukti Studio in Union Square. Well + Good has a cool map of the juice bars in NYC: some top names include Organic Avenue, Juice Press, and Creative Juice, each with multiple locations throughout the city.

To keep up to date with yoga happenings and events in New York City, read reviews on yoga studios and classes, and learn how to balance yoga with the rest of your life, check out these blogs: YogaCityNYC, Well + Good, and Yoganonymous.

I should note that I haven’t personally been to all these studios, and that this list is by no means exhaustive and covering all studios and wellness locations in NYC. If there are any studios or places you’d like to share with the iLab community, please post them in the comments below. Happy Yoga-ing!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: AMANDA EFTHIMIOU

IMG_9202I’m an entrepreneur based in New York City. I also co-organize #ArtsTech meetup, which focuses on the intersection of art and technology. One of my greatest passions is world travel: when I’m not home, you’ll find me somewhere in Europe, Asia, or Latin America. I graduated from the George Washington University with a BA in Art History. Get in touch with me on twitter @amaiou.
 
Read more about and from the author: Amanda’s WiLab Profile