My 5 Favorite NYC Yoga Studios

 

I’ve grown my roots here in NYC, more than ever before. It’s taken me 3 years to find my rhythm, but now I love the yoga community here. This list is of my 5 favorite spaces that foster my self-connection & movement.

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my 5 fav NYC Yoga Studios

The New York yoga scene is different than anywhere else in the world. In a city that is highly driven, New Yorkers gravitate towards ‘High-Intensity’ yoga. It’s not an exaggeration to say that classes are twice as physically challenging as what you might find in Florida or California. I love that intensity sometimes, but in this list, I’ve stayed away from the typical power-flow/ vinyasa classes and included boutique, unique studios that have something more to offer than just fitness-yoga.

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1. WOOM CENTER

Best Spiritual Yoga Class

I’m writing WOOM first, because it’s a true gem. A rare haven of good vibes, community, beautiful energy, and teachers that care about your well-being. In a world of fitness-yoga, the WOOM yoga experience stands out as a truly authentic yoga class, infusing intricate sequencing with heart-opening dharma and pranayama.

Photo @woomcenter

Studio Highlights:

  • Space: Beautiful light filled lobby and hangout with sofas, tables and books. Post-class they serve a complimentary fresh, plant-based elixir shot. Perfect to sip on while chatting with your classmates and friends.

  • Shala: The studio is equipped with an immersive, audio-responsive visual installation and incorporates elements of sound therapy in classes. Expect gongs, instrumental music and vocal toning; you won’t be listening to Justin Bieber here.

  • Movement: Class begins blind-folded with pranayama. Then warms itself up into a powerful flow that builds to a peak posture. Do not expect basic sequencing; woom transitions are challenging, sweat-inducing and innovative.

  • Recommendation: Super Woom on Saturday mornings with Francesca and Elian. This is one of my favorite classes in the city, if you go, perhaps I’ll see you there.

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2. FIT HOUSE - Union square

Best Hot Yoga Class

Hello, this is a shameless promo for my own classes here at Fit House! I’ve taught at Y7, Alo Soho and a bunch of other studios here in the city, but I went exclusive with Fit House back in August, and am still only teaching public classes at FH! Come by and say hello :*

Photo @fithouse

Studio Highlights:

  • Variety: Easily replace your gym membership with a FH membership. I 100% believe in having a versatile movement practice and recommend taking advantage of the HIIT, sculpt, and boxing classes in addition to the hot yoga classes.

  • Shala: Studio 3 is where the yoga magic happens! I personally demo a lot of the class so that students can see how to move not just what to move. The lights are blue/pink and dim, perfect to help keep your attention inside and not get distracted by how you or others look.

  • Movement: Hot Yoga Flow is where it’s at. Gooey flows that build, softly moving through transitions, challenging your balance, arm balances, core sections between flows, oh yes, it is SWEATY. Later classes have more chill vibes versus early afternoon classes that are more upbeat. Both will have you working up a sweat- and not just because the room is heated. Attention is placed on how not what and fostering mind-body connection.

  • Recommendation: My favorite class of the entire week is the 75 minute Hot Yoga Flow on Sundays at 12pm. I work every weekend so that I can teach this class: after 75 minutes you will feel like you just went on a JOURNEY. We’ve had enough time to warm up, flow, build your strength, cool down AND stay for a lengthy savasana. I often speak though it so instead of letting your mind wander to brunch, I keep you grounded in a guided meditation. The hot room can be a lot, but there is something so cathartic about sweating out what’s on your mind and having a visceral connection to your body.

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3. ALO Yoga- Soho

Best Workshops & Continued Ed

The ALO NYC flagship location has a yoga studio upstairs! It’s airy, bright, and modern with beautiful floor length windows. I love that there’s always enough space for your mat and teachers have the flexibility to express their own style of teaching (instead of one generic studio style). Every other Thursday they have free workshops for yoga teachers and they are always hosting amazing guest teachers.

Photo @alonewyork

Studio Highlights

  • Space: Downstairs there is a cozy lounge and cafe, a great place to meet up with friends before or after class.

  • Shala: The windows are iconic and management is super nice if you want to grab some shots in the studio (you will). The studio itself is huge, with tons of wall space to start playing upside after class. The class schedule is relatively light, so you never feel like you’re being rushed or crowded during class.

  • Movement: Class varies so much! Rebecca Hajek’s classes are sequencing magic and feel delicious in your body. Amina Taha has gooey, bendy flows while Melini teaches power flows and advanced poses. Try all the classes and stick with the teacher that resonates with you.

  • Recommendation: Try out all the classes + keep an eye on the workshop schedule. Plus, yoga teachers- keep your Thursday afternoons open, it’s so nice to connect with other teachers.

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4. YOGA VIDA

Best for Beginners

Yoga Vida has four beautiful locations in NYC: USQ, NOHO, Tribeca and Dumbo. Each location has multiple studios and hosts classes that range from restorative yin classes to heated power flow classes. The studio is strictly yoga. You won’t ever see pilates or sculpt classes on the schedule and the studios always feel like a yoga studio, clean and light. Instructors guide in a safe and effective manner and contribute to the peaceful energy of the studio.

Photo @yogavidanyc

Studio Highlights

  • Location: Yoga Vida has 4 convenient locations in prime areas. Most of their studios are on the second floor and help students rise above the chaos of NYC.

  • Shala: You can always expect YV to be clean, orderly, spacious and bright. They have beautiful studios but you are not allowed to take your phone in the room- selfies in the yoga shala are not allowed!

  • Movement: Classes are absolutely fantastic for beginners to intermediate. For the most part, advanced flexibility training or handstands won’t be in classes, however you will find great flows, move your body in every which way, and won’t get caught up in comparison.

  • Recommendation: Take my cousin, Erica Chen’s classes! She’s a senior teacher at YV and has the kind of voice to instantly calm you down. Escape from the bustle of NYC and find your Self in class.

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5. Warrior Bridge

Best Acro Yoga/ Skill Training

Warrior Bridge is near and dear to my heart! It was one of the first yoga studios that I worked at when I moved to NYC. It’s grown so much in the last 3 years and they now offer classes in Acro Yoga, Flexibility, Handstands and more. If you’ve been wanting to learn more about the acrobatic side of yoga, I would definitely check out Warrior Bridge. It has the strongest movement community I’ve found in NYC, so whether you want to play, train or practice, there is a community for you here.

Photo @warriorbridgenc

Studio Highlights

  • Community: The studio hosts open mat /acro jam times- times where people can come to play and move, learn from others, drop in and leave whenever they want. There’s no structured class. Just know that you’ll likely end up meeting a new friend and yoga buddy.

  • Shala: Warrior Bridge has high ceilings and mats on the ground, not the usual hardwood floors of a yoga studio.

  • Movement: Classes are geared to be acrobatic. Warrior Flow Yoga classes are your foundation where you can pepper in your own practice (if you’d like.)

  • Recommendation: Try Acro Yoga with your friend or partner. If the beginner one seems too much, start with therapeutic acroyoga and work your way up. It’s a great way to connect with friends, get out of your comfort zone and try something new.


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Huge thanks to OOFOS x Zappos. In love with my go-to shoes.

Emily ChenComment