NEW YORK CITY — From spiritual enlightenment to physical training to stress management, the reasons that New Yorkers practice yoga are unique and varied.
With the number of yoga studios in the city now well more than 300, there's an array of options to help you achieve your yoga goals. Whether you are a seasoned yogi, or are just considering adding the mind-body practice to your current routine, here are some suggestions to help you effectively target your yoga practice toward your personal objectives.
For Spiritual Enlightenment
841 Broadway, Union Square
Cost: $13-22 per class depending on package size, six-month unlimited membership $175/month
Jivamukti Yoga offers an authentic, traditional form of Hatha yoga, with the goal of making enlightenment available to all beings. If you are a spiritual seeker, ready to delve into the traditional yogic lifestyle, you will appreciate the emphasis placed on veganism, yoga sutras and Sanskrit chanting, spearheaded by gurus Sharon Gannon and David Life. Classes are easy on the wallet and there is a warm community atmosphere especially in the organic, vegan café just off the reception area. The simple but inviting facility offers one shower and a small bathroom with lockers and cubbies lining the long hallway that leads to the three studios.
For the Luxury/Spa Experience
204 West 77th St., Upper West Side and 203 East 86th St., Upper East Side
Upper West Location: 212-877-2025, Upper East Location: 212-360-1888
Cost: Classes available to members only. Monthly membership fees range from $155-280 per month, with a $95 initiation fee for some memberships and an additional $15/month charge for access to both NYC studios.
Going to yoga class at Pure Yoga feels a bit like visiting a high-end resort. Expansive locker rooms with plenty of showers offer all toiletries. Mats are also provided and sterilized between classes, so there's no need to lug your own. There are six spacious, well-appointed studios throughout the three-level facility. Cool eucalyptus towels are available for no extra charge just outside the two hot studios, which are specially designed with environmentally friendly cork flooring to absorb water and stay cool.
Classes are available to members only and the "Premium Select" membership is not actually just for pure yoga. It also includes unlimited access to their trademark Pilates-fusion type Figure 4 Barre and Conditioning classes.
For Physical Training, Stress Management and Variety
New York Yoga
1629 York Ave., Upper East Side
Cost: $22-$27 per class depending on package size, monthly memberships ranging from $145-165 per month
New York Yoga offers more than 55 classes each week in a wide variety of styles. An affiliated hot yoga studio with another 55+ classes is located at 85th Street and Lexington Avenue. Teachers come from diverse backgrounds and no particular style or philosophy is emphasized. The facility has two small studios and a locker room and the hot studio has two showers. This is a mid-priced, neighborhood place with an accepting, something-for-everyone atmosphere. Beginners and serious yogis alike can feel at home here.
There are other ways to personalize your NYC yoga practice that are not specific to any particular studio:
New York Yoga was one of the first studios to offer this highly practical service to members and non-members alike. For $10 per month you get unlimited, round the clock access to videos of classes that have been recorded at the studio. Most studios now offer some version of this service, either through a downloadable app or at a password-protected website. Yogaworks, for example, offers a free two-week trial of their on-demand service that costs $15 per month after the trial period.
One-on-one time with your favorite instructor starts at about $100 and can cost as much as $550 to work with a celebrity instructor like Cyndi Lee. For an almost one-on-one experience, try semi-private lessons that you can share with a friend for a slight discount. Some studios also offer a variation on the private lesson known as the "in-class private." Originated at Jivamukti, where the cost is $120, an instructor guides you with hands-on adjustments throughout an entire group class led by a separate teacher. "Every serious practitioner should experience an in-class private at least once a month," according to the Jivamukti brochure.