Co-owners Adam Roper and Erik Cummings didn't always sport the healthy bodies they do now, but through years of dedicated practice and, eventually, Bikram certifications, Adam lost 35 pounds and Erik addressed a shoulder injury caused by a previous bike accident. Today, the two yogis share their passion for the heated practice with the help of a team of fellow certified instructors and Bikram Yoga Harlem's unofficial mascot, a pint-sized dachshund named Sebastian Kumquat. The studio welcomes practitioners of all experience levels, with Bikram's series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises catering to even the rustiest of tin men. Balmy temperatures around the 100-degree mark warm the muscles, helping students achieve deeper twists, binds, and bends, and encouraging the body to expel harmful toxins and clingy droplets of T-1000.
Donna Rubin and Jennifer Lobo have extensive experience in Bikram yoga. Donna, a former Broadway performer, noticed that actors, musicians, and stagehands had little space to stretch and warm up before their performances. In turn, she chose the theater district for her flagship BIkram Yoga studio built in 1998, when Bikram was just gaining in popularity. The first Bikram Yoga NYC location soon blossomed into seven yoga rooms spread across four locations, and all are covered in Flotex anti-microbial flooring. This waterproof flooring protects against germs more effectively than than wood floors or cooties shots. Hygiene is important when practicing Bikram yoga, as the increased temperatures cause participants to work up a healthy sweat.
On the flipside, Jennifer has an athletic background, with experience in everything from marathons to soccer and tennis. She also worked as the communications director for IMG—a powerful force in the world of sports marketing. Together, Rubin and Lobo produced the very first Yoga Asana Championship in New York. They continue to do so each year while leading a team of more than 70 certified instructors who host nearly 300 classes each week, making it convenient for clients to fit sessions in to busy schedules.
Yoga and Pilates in Tribeca?formerly 'Do Yoga Do Pilates'?was founded in 2008 by Elisa Chen, who strived to create an eco-friendly space where students could further their mental and physical prowess. Though Chen has since left the studio, the same team of certified instructors helps each patron reach his or her fitness goals by offering a robust repertoire of yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and under-the-table bribes. The studio?s more than 30 weekly classes are designed at an open level, so that students of all skill levels and ability can keep up amid the studio's soothing lemongrass-hued walls and burnished hardwood floors.
The studio shares its space with Hip + Fit Kickboxing, run by a Brooklyn-born black belt and indie rapper. She helps students build muscle tone and lose weight with weekly bootcamp classes that blend cardio fitness moves with martial arts technique. Classes take place at one of two locations: Tribeca or the Upper West Side.
Inside a serene, sunlit studio, Sonic Yoga's instructors lead students of all skill levels through dynamic Vinyasa flow classes. Teachers guide new students through the basics during Flow Fundamentals sessions, where they help budding cobras link empowering poses with deep-breathing techniques and build balance with transitional movements. In advanced classes, they challenge lethargy with challenging binds, twists, and inverted poses.
In addition to regular classes, Sonic Yoga's instructors pass on their yogi-knowledge during teacher-training and mentor programs. The facility is also home to the Sonic Boutique, a store stocked with fashionable yoga clothing, towels, mats, and jewelry.
My Yoga Revolution Studio employs a unique method of Vinyasa yoga to harness the therapeutic properties of the art. Its form of the discipline emphasizes focused breathing in each posture. They meld those teachings into their classes, custom yoga therapy sessions, all-levels classes, and retreats for beginners, experienced practitioners, and those with injuries and chronic health conditions. All-levels classes teach advanced asanas such as inversions and arm balances, while guided meditation focuses on soothing relaxation techniques. For a more personalized healing session, teachers detoxify the body with Ayurvedic consultations and Panchakarma therapy, which corrects seasonal imbalances in the body over a three-five-seven-day period.
In addition to teaching students the art of therapeutic yoga, the studio offers 200-hour yoga teacher training for students that can be taken over six weekends or within three weeks. Teacher training aims to help graduates learn the necessary skills to teach yoga and market and self-promote themselves in a variety of settings, ranging from gyms to private practices. When the serene interior of the studio isn?t enough to whisk their students? minds to another place, the staff whisks away their bodies by leading regular retreats to the Catskills and Bali.
Hot air swirls around hard-working bodies, causing students to collect beads of sweat as they stick challenging postures. Reflected in the wall-to-wall mirrors, bodies bend, fold, and twist into 26 gentle, therapeutic Hatha postures as high humidity facilitates deep stretching, accelerated fat burning, and detoxification. Feet plant themselves onto the blue floor, which is illuminated by light that floods the white-walled studio from the rounded wall of windows. Certified by Bikram Choudhury himself, all the instructors draw on their rigorous 500 hours of training to captain morning and evening classes, ensuring attendees feel confident and secure and dispensing hands-on guidance. After each sudorific session, students can hit the on-location showers to wash off skin salt and prevent unwanted garment pickling.