"It's hot in here." When that's all you can think about, you tend to forget about the intense physical exertion involved with a series Bikram moves. But the work does pay off, as practitioners are kicking up their core strengthen while sweating away heaps of calories. Garnering the attention of New Jersey Monthly Magazine and New Jersey Health and Beauty, Surya Yoga Academy's three welcoming studios are a great place for men and women of all skill levels to practice hot yoga and other yoga genres, including Vinyasa or Jivamukti poses. Alongside traditional sessions, the studio's specialized workshops train athletes and runners to maximize their exercise potential, and focused mom-and-baby yoga classes build mother-child bonds and telepathy skills.
After Lisa Usherovich had her first baby, she discovered yoga as a way to get back in shape and relieve stress. She eventually founded MiMi Yoga for Everyone, a welcoming studio where prenatal classes help keep expectant women comfortable, as well as post-natal classes that let mothers and babies practice yoga together. A full schedule includes other types of yoga, from a fundamentals class to an iyengar session that uses props to help bodies stretch to new limits and practice new stand-up routines. In all classes, Lisa and her team invite more experienced yogis to set up in the front row so new students can hang behind and follow their lead.
Whether you want to stand taller, bend over backwards, or open a pickle jar taped to your back, Devotion Yoga offers a suitable yoga style. Launch a quest to find peace of mind, openness of heart, and baby Jason’s golden pacifier during a bhakti open flow session, or celebrate the night’s final departure during an "Om in the a.m." class, a yogic excursion that starts a brand-new day with challenging postures and breathing techniques. Devotion’s Uptown location sits in a cozy storefront space right across from Manhattan’s skyscratchers, and the original downtown location has two relaxing studios: the Sun Studio, a bright yoga lounge with yellowed walls, high ceilings, and bulletproof windows, and the Moon Room, decked out in bamboo floors and meditative plants.
A Thai yoga massage is an ancient healing method that uses full-body stretching and muscle manipulation to improve range of motion. First, your trained massage therapist will take you through a 20-minute ayurvedic test to find any imbalances or maple-syrup deposits. Then she will create a customized treatment plan to knead your needs. For the next 70 minutes, acupressure techniques and pressure-point reflexology will free your energy flow and induce relaxation. Rhythmic massage movements mingle with passive progressive-yoga stretching to release at least seven caged pigeons of tension.
Swanand Yoga gets its name from two Sanskrit words: swa, which means innate, or belonging to oneself, and anda, which refers to happiness or bliss. This is a fitting name for the studio, as its goal is happiness and its philosophy maintains that happiness results from a healthy body occupied by a healthy mind. With this philosophy in mind, instructors lead group and private lessons in a studio dominated by warm colors and soothing, sparse adornments; the radiator even sits on a bed of pebbles that will eventually hatch into yoga props.
As students of all levels move through mostly Hatha-style poses, track lighting dims to cast a soft glow on the honey-colored hardwood floor. Mats can be brought from home or rented from the store, which also rents towels, sells water and lavender eye pillows, and doles out complimentary Luna bars. The center also hosts private yogissage sessions that blend yoga, shiatsu massage, and passive stretching, as well as events, specialty workshops, and a monthly Yoga for Foodies get-together, which pairs a yoga session with a communal meal.
Karma Kids Yoga helps developing children and teens become aware of the mind and body through animated poses and stretching exercises that increase strength, flexibility, and coordination. Young'uns will step into the fun studio space and learn about yoga through animals and nature, resulting in a welcoming atmosphere for children to have fun and learn beneficial lifestyle practices. Plus, if your little-you always has the energy of a professional sports mascot hopped up on performance-enhancing hugs, these classes will teach kids how to focus, relax, and develop self-control. The instructors are not only more flexible than your child's favorite Twizzler flavor, but also much sweeter and more colorful to be around. Check out the weekly schedule of classes, which is itself flexible enough for even the busiest of schedules to stretch out and find a time.
The Sanskrit word “yogamaya” means potent inner power, or, in another translation, all-doing capability. The West 20th Street studio aims to guide its students toward this ideal not just through postures but also through spiritual teachings and melodic kirtan chants.
As for the physical practice, the instructors lead Vinyasa flow classes, which link breath to movement. The dynamic sequences increase strength and flexibility while developing a moving meditation, one in which students focus on nothing but monitoring the alignment of every movement. Though every level of class incorporates a range of asanas, such as standing poses and inversions, advanced sessions introduce deeper holds, centering breathing exercises, and yogic philosophy.
Regardless of the difficulty of the class, the instructors maintain a warm environment by dispensing advice, offering specific adjustments, and furrowing their brows when someone tells a sad story. New York magazine commented on the empowering benefits of this personalized guidance, claiming, "even beginners are pleasantly coaxed into positions more difficult than they might think they could accomplish."