14 May Yoga in Manhattan
The New York skyline from the Equinox Print House yoga shala in the West Village
New York is often referred to as ‘the city that never sleeps’. It’s fast-paced, noisy, and magnificent in its size and activity. If you are travelling there to visit then the chances are that you will want to see and do as much as you can to make the most of every New York minute. This can leave one feeling like you need a break to recover from your break. Step in NYC yoga to pace your days. As they say, yoga doesn’t take time, it makes time….
NYC, like other big cities, has a huge amount on offer in the yoga world. Some of our best Ashtanga teachers reside there and call it home to their shalas, and there are some wonderful Vinyasa Flow teachers to be found too. Below are some of the places that I practiced at on my recent trip to NYC and some local healthy eateries nearby.
Jivamukti NYC, 841 Broadway, 2nd Floor, Gramercy, NY
Jivamukti Yoga was co-founded in New York in 1984 by dancer and musician Sharon Gannon and her partner, artist and cafe owner David Life. This is the central hub of Jivamukti yoga with an abundance of both experienced and newer teachers on the schedule. There are several practice rooms all with their own Indian inspired alters, a wall of inspiration featuring photos of great spiritual leaders, thinkers, musicians, artists and saints who have inspired the pair. There is also a vegan café and shop attached to the studio where you can grab a vegan wrap, burrito or salad. My favourite teacher is Jeffrey Villaneuva whose adjustments are incredible. Treat yourself to a private lesson with him if you have time. If you are familiar with Jivamukti yoga then you will know that the practice adheres to five central tenets: shastra (scripture), bhakti (devotion), ahimsa (nonviolence), nāda (music), and dhyana (meditation). Encompassing a physical, ethical and spiritual practice, this is a one stop shala for a mind-body practice in the centre of bustling Union Square.
Local eats: Jivamuktea Café within the studio. For something a little less on-the-go eating then check out local restaurant Friend of a Farmer at 77 Irving Place.
Kula Yoga Project, 28 Warren Street, 4th Floor, Tribeca, NY
Studio founder and co-creator of the Wanderlust Festival (and oddly and completely unrelated, former actress and star of Anne of Green Gables), Schulyer Grant, teaches at the Tribeca venue and her class is, not surprisingly, packed. Her aim in opening Kula Yoga Project was to bring a little of the California yoga vibe to NYC. Expect strong Vinyasa classes from Schulyer, with some seriously creative sequencing and prop use. It was, to say the least, challenging! However, her sense of humour and no nonsense spirit will carry you through the tougher moments. My fellow practitioners were a little daunting to look at physically (you know the type – biceps bigger than their wisp of a leg!); and there is definitely a community group that as a visitor, I felt a little apart from, but it all added to the yoga-off-the-mat opportunity. Kula is probably my favourite studio to practice in in NYC. If you are familiar with, and enjoy, the teaching style of UK based teacher Mercedes Ngoh-Sieff then this is right up your street. Look out for their Honey Flow 95 minute classes which are made up of 60 minutes of sticky, sweaty flow, followed by 20 minutes of yin yoga and rounded off with 15 minutes of restorative asanas. Oh one more thing, word to the wise, be prepared for a climb up to the studio – see photo below!
Lyons Den Power Yoga, 279 Church St, Tribeca NY
Lyons Den Power Yoga is Manhattan’s only yoga studio dedicated to teaching Hot Power Vinyasa Yoga in the Baptiste Yoga Method. If hot yoga and Baptiste are your thing then this is where to head to get your asana on. I attended an evening class taught by Bethany Lyons, founder and teacher. The group that numbered over 40, were at the end of a 21 day yoga and meditation challenge so the practice was strongly geared towards them. Bethany is a firecracker and it was a little shouty and forced for my liking but then I don’t lean towards the hot yoga thing. There was a strong community spirit and lots of positive thinking and soul searching thrown into the flow. The changing rooms were a little challenging which was tricky after being in a heated room.
Local eats: Sun in Bloom at 165 Church St – gluten-free, vegan & raw food kitchen with curious take away options such as vegan BLTs. I don’t normally go for non-meat products pretending to be meat but this really worked. Also selling juices, teas and coffees made with dairy alternatives and lots of sticky baked treats.
Mulberry & Vine at 73 Warren Street – is a clean, modern, cafeteria-style restaurant with interesting hot and cold dishes. It is a little on the pricey side but good for a nutritious replenish after a strong Kula class.
If you are a member of Equinox in the UK then you have reciprocal membership to all of the US clubs. I visited Broadway and The Print House in the West Village on my recent trip and as is synonymous with the brand (even if I do say so myself!), the clubs and their teachers are impressive. The Broadway club is packed to the rafters with the fittest looking people you have ever seen. Opposite is ABC Carpet and Home which has to be the most inspiring design shop in the city. I could literally spend a whole day in there. The Print House was quieter and had the most spectacular views of Manhattan from the yoga studio itself. I would say these are a must if you are looking for a regular practice space in NYC.
Local eats: I just had to mention matcha heaven in the West Village very near The Print House, Chalait at 224 West 4th Street . See the photo below for their menu – need I say more?!
Other yoga experiences to try out:
Eddie Stern – Ashtanga Yoga New York, 430 Broome St, NY
Yoga to the People – various locations NY
Guy Donahaye – Ashtanga Yoga Shala, 295 E 8th Street, NY
Yoga Agora, 33-02 Broadway, NY
Dharma Yoga Center – 61 West 23rd Street, NY