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Yoga Options for Partiers, First-Timers, Fighters and Outdoor Lovers

In Open Air Yoga students practice with an instructor in Central Park or Battery Park City.
In Open Air Yoga students practice with an instructor in Central Park or Battery Park City.
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Open Air Yoga

NEW YORK CITY — Whether you're a partier, an impatient fitness buff, pregnant or just flat-out broke, the city has yoga options lined up to meet your needs this summer.

"Yoga doesn't have to be done in one certain way," proclaimed Erin Jacques, co-owner of the new Upper West Side SLT (Strengthen Lengthen and Tunes) studio.

In keeping with Jacques' philosophy, DNAinfo.com New York took a sampling of the diverse mix of yoga — the Sanskrit word for "union" — on tap this season.

Yoga for the Impatient

When first-time yoga students walk in the door to SLT Yoga, Jacques feels certain of one thing: They won't be bored.

"We get a lot of physically fit, strong first-timers," Jacques said. "Our classes are one hour long and physically demanding...we're fun, with fun music, and dynamic."

SLT Yoga's pulsating pop tunes and challenging flow sequence began in Los Angeles and just migrated this spring to the city on West 57th Street, where students can try their first class for free.

Founded by Amanda Freeman, a "Type A" woman who "took a bit of time and lots of experimenting to finally love yoga," according to SLT's website, the studio boasts an ability to whip students into great physical shape.

Yoga for Partiers

If recorded music doesn't cut it for your practice, you can listen to a live concert while you partake in a "Cosmic Yoga Party" any Sunday night in Bushwick, at the six-month-old studio Body Actualized.

Different live bands play in the room during a "relaxed and casual yoga class," and a feast of raw foods is available for purchase after the $10 class.

"Healthy Hedonism takes into account the law of averages concerning the dualistic, positive/negative aspects of reality," the studio's site explains about the yoga parties. "In this internal alchemy we find balance in the sensual and spiritual."

Yoga for the Fighter

In a daring hybrid session at OM Factory studio, students can step beyond yoga's classic warrior poses and embody fighters on an entirely new level — in the "Yoga Fight Club."

The combination kickboxing-yoga class in the well-established studio (with locations in Union Square and in Manhattan's Fashion District) uses yoga asanas (poses) to begin and then switches from one cardio exercise to the next. This allows participants to combine "the intense physicality of kickboxing and the more fluid forms of yoga in a no-holds-barred, melt-down workout," as the website describes.

Yoga for the Aspiring Tightrope Artist

When you first try Slackline Yoga at the indoor rock-climbing center Brooklyn Boulders, chances are you'll need all the patience you can muster. But Yoga Slackers teachers insist that with enough persistence, almost anyone can master the art of sitting, standing, arm balancing and more on a thin cord suspended between the walls.

The young yogic form is offered just once a month and is helpful to climbers and other athletes, since it "redefines your sense of balance and mental focus," Brooklyn Boulders' site explains.

Yoga for Fresh Air Seekers

If you love nature too much to sacrifice outdoors time for the walls of a studio, you can venture to Central Park or Battery Park City in the fifth annual Open Air Yoga led by instructor Donna Klimkiewicz.

"The variables make it even more interesting: a random dog wants to sniff your mat, two ants march past your toes carrying a sliver of leaf, a bird overhead drops droppings an inch away," Klimkiewicz says on her website for the $15 classes, which include a different fresh juice or smoothie after each session.

"It all adds up to another layer of yogic practice: Can you be focused and present in the midst of it all?" she writes about the setting. "And conversely, can you embrace the distractions and let them be part of the the moment you’re in right now?"

Yoga on a Budget

One option for donation yoga is the Park Slope studio Brooklyn Yoga School, which offers traditional classes at a pay-what-you-can price. Hosh Yoga in Greenpoint also offers donation yoga, as does the well-established Yoga to the People with its studios in Williamsburg, the East Village and Chelsea.

Yoga for the Pregnant

The pregnant yogic community congregates at the Upper West Side's Prenatal Yoga Center (which also offers classes in other parts of the city), a nine-year-old studio with sessions that also include infant massage and baby sign language.