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Work(s) it!

November 30, 2009
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 ATTENTION! (for now) I have found the best yoga experience in NYC.

My research, although largely incomplete, indicates that Yoga Works is  most definitely a contender for best yogic experience in the city. Now, watch it Yoga Works, I could easily yoink this title away and settle it on another studio.

Yoga Works is so wide spread across the country that I almost prefer to refer to it as Yoga, Inc. There are studios in three major metropolitan areas of California and, of course, New York City. Seeing as how I’ve not been to Orange County, LA or the Bay Area recently, I’m speaking of the New York chapters.

Ok, because I’m lazy and this past week was Thanksgiving, I only got to check out the Downtown and SoHo locations of the Yoga Works family. Here is the extremely favorable outcome of those two experiences:

Yoga Works Downtown and “Lip”:  I came away from my first experience at YW thinking “shit, I’m not even sweaty.” This is a very bad sign, because I’m usually questioning (even after a brisk walk) if I have overactive sweat glands (according to my mother, and family history, this is probable). Cutting the studio a little slack (it was a Yoga Works 1/2 class) I took the levels 2/3 class the next day. Day-um! Right off the bat, this class was different because it started with us foraging through two massive bags of hats. (“Hat day!”) So, of course, even though we’re all adults we filed into Susan “Lip” Orem’s class with big goofy smiles on our faces and well-made (but slightly ridiculous)designer hats on our heads. I really thought we were going to practice in them, which would have made for interesting inversions, and I would have if any of the cool kids in class had mandated hat-wearing by example. With or without hats, the class was an absolute blast. Orem was pretty goofy, which lent a pretty light feel to the class, but the postures and corrections were nothing short of serious business.  I’m pretty sure I almost did a forearm stand. Don’t laugh, they’re hard. Jerk. One day, I’ll show you all when I bust out that scorpion pose at a party. On the table. In the middle of dinner. Anywho, I can’t really paint the picture of how good this class was…all I can say is everyone seemed to be enjoying it and you should do everything that everyone else is doing…like going to this specific yoga class.

Yoga Works SoHo, “the pretty studio”: 1st of all, I took my mother to this studio. The first class is free  (but for some reason, only at Yoga Works Soho..it was not offered to me at the downtown location) with a mat included, but this is no cut-rate studio. Oh, hells no. The SoHo location, like much of SoHo is a play ground for the rich and famous. Sadly, I did not see any famous people because they probably have houses that are like the 4 seasons and contract private yoga instruction (yeah, I would probably have a compound so I would never have to leave the house and be harassed). I went to this studio two times, and the classes are fine. In fact, one of the classes was taught by a teacher that I’ve taken a few times at Park Slope Yoga Center: Aarona. She’s good…maybe one of the harder instructors that I’ve practiced with, but not ground breaking in my humble opinion. What’s UP with this studio is the studio itself. Now, I’m a pauper…so free towels are a big deal. They’re an even bigger deal when they go with spa shower equipped with shampoo, condition and soap (this is a luxury, because most studios have something called “shampoo and body cleanser” egghh…) AND a sauna. The Downtown Studio does not even really have a shower, so imagine my surprise. Other flashy amenities included digital lockers and  little illuminated signs outside of each studio that read “Shhhh….Savasana”. No dinky print outs, no lamination. Real electric signs, telling you to stuff it because people are within and meditating.

I encourage you to pick up where I left off, or just do what I’ve already done. Yoga Works has studios in LA, Orange County and the Bay Area as well as 6 New York locations (Upper East, Upper West, Midtown, Downtown, SoHo and West Chester). Studios may vary as they seem to be some sort of franchise operation. Yoga Works is a multi style studio, offering classes in the styles of Iyengar, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Ishta and Therapeutic.  (Alan Finger helped found it before he went on to establish our beloved ISHTA studio featuring the great Rajiv!)

[Image via: Irish Rugby]

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