Sal Chillemi didn’t realize just how much he valued yoga until September 11, 2001. A New York City fireman since 1988, Chillemi used the meditative techniques he learned on the mat when his team was called to Ground Zero. His yoga study may have helped him save lives that day, and the experience affected him so much that he decided to deepen his practice by opening a studio of his own.
Soon after Chillemi completed a 200-hour training course and hired a staff of experienced instructors, Yoga For Life was born. Today, the studio’s weekly schedule includes classes divided into three categories: gentle, moderate, and advanced. Aside from these flagship classes and workshops, the studio offers massage therapy, acupuncture, Thai yoga massage, and rolfing.
As she guides clients toward achieving their fitness goals, exercise guru Lauren Zummo also immerses them in her own fitness interests. Zummo is the owner of Prana Pilates & Yoga, where she draws from years of experience in movement analysis and a graduate degree in exercise physiology to train groups of no more than six students at a time. She helps them hone core strength in Pilates reformer classes, tone lean muscle in cardio barre classes, and learn poses and breathing techniques in her basic yoga classes.
Rows of glistening students gracefully bend and stretch within Smithtown Hot Yoga’s 4,000-square-foot studio. While the instructors’ series of yoga poses are enough to stretch out muscles and build strength on their own, the studio chips in some help with a thermostat that clocks in at at least 100 degrees during classes. This additional heat helps unlock tense muscles and detoxify bodies, as many of the studio’s regulars will readily attest. In a recent interview with Fios1 TV, a hot-yoga student who struggled with lower-back pain recounts her many attempts to find relief: trips to the chiropractor, injections, T-shirts dipped in menthol. "Nothing helped until I came to yoga," she said.
Though the studio’s instructors provide towels for each class, students are encouraged to wear light workout gear. After 90-minute classes, which run throughout the day, students can shower off or practice levitating in private stalls.
Inner Spirit Yoga Center's team of certified instructors foster a diverse community of yogis dedicated to wellness and kinship with a curriculum that accommodates all ages, skill levels, and abilities. A four-week beginner's yoga series imparts the foundational postures, breathing techniques, and tricks for housebreaking stubborn spirit animals. In addition to yoga, the center also hosts belly dance classes, tai chi, and peaceful meditation sessions. A packed calendar of events maintains community vibes through potluck dinners, movie nights, and inspirational book club meetings.
Between Om Shanti Om Yoga Center’s saffron-colored walls, eight gentle-voiced instructors guide students into meditative poses. They flow through a variety of positions, each designed to open up muscles while quieting the mind. The instructors have diverse backgrounds, which include degrees in math, doctoral degrees, and 30-year competitive-running careers. To introduce new students to the practice, Om Shanti Om offers a basics package, which includes beginners-only classes twice a week. There are also discounted rates available on more-advanced classes to encourage newcomers to test the waters of 75- or 90-minute classes, which involve finding the area under the curve of your back during each pose.
Embrace Yoga's team of instructors offer a series of classes aimed at transforming beginner and intermediate yogis into adroit practitioners of the bendy arts. Classes are offered in a body of styles such as Flow Yoga, which employs a steady stream of poses to build strength while shedding pounds like superfluous baby teeth. Beginners can take advantage of the soothing stretches and relaxation focus in Kripalu Hatha classes. Each session is capped at 16 students to ensure astronomical levels of student-instructor interaction, and daily availability of yoga classes requires minimal bending of inflexible schedules.