Deep in a lush corner of the Catskill Mountains, there?s a silence that?s almost palpable. After your ears adjust to the lack of city life, you can hear the sounds of nature creeping in: rustling leaves, chirping birds, and the slow breathing of retreat-goers guiding their limbs into therapeutic poses as a yoga instructor looks on. This is a common scene at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch, an Ayurvedic escape founded in 1974 on 77 acres of countryside. Surrounded by organic vegetable patches, flower gardens, and trees,visitors find it easy to immerse themselves into the healing studies of the ranch?s multiday programs.
As the sun peeks over the mountains and each day begins, practitioners gather at the Krishna temple to meditate, chant, and listen to a lecture. What follows?depending on the retreat?is a combination of a two hour yoga class, guest lectures and workshops, and meditation sessions. Some retreats are weekend getaways for yoga civilians, and others focus on yoga-teacher training, permaculture, and Native American spirituality. Throughout all programs, hiking opportunities abound.
Visitors stay in dorm, private double rooms (without private bathrooms), or apartment-style accommodations, (with bathroom and shower), and join fellow guests at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. for vegetarian meals based on yogic and Ayurvedic nutrition. Ingredients are organic, as local and seasonal as possible, and free from chemical preservatives. To soothe their minds and muscles after a day of strenuous work, visitors can also take in a view of the mountains from inside the ranch?s wood-burning banya-style sauna.
At New City Yoga, programs for adults and children alike focus on challenging the mind and body with a mix of modalities including yoga, tai chi, ki gong, and energy healing. Yoga classes focus on physical well-being with strengthening and toning work, and they also benefit students emotionally by introducing techniques that can improve emotional health by breaking unhealthy habits, including how to get the Cookie Monster off your speed dial once and for all. Along with meditation classes and private healing-massage sessions, the center also hosts energy principle and other meditation-based workshops.
Gina Goldberg?the director of hOMe yoga experience? discovered Anusara yoga more than a decade ago, and she is now a certified Kripalu-yoga instructor and children's yoga teacher. Gina's time in trainings and workshops has greatly influenced and inspired her to awaken the same passion in her students.
Gina and her fellow instructors teach an array of classes inside a hot studio, which cleanses the body and loosens muscles. In addition to guiding adults through intentional movements and conscious-breathing techniques, they also teach children's classes sans heat. After each session, the lounge and gift shop beckons students with cozy furniture and yoga accessories. When she isn't instructing students, Gina presides over workshops, teacher training, and drum circles.
A licensed chiropractor and experienced martial artist, Dr. John Surie started practicing hot yoga when he met his future wife, Natalie. Charmed by her Australian accent and passion for the practice, he soon became an avid Bikram student himself, and in 2002, the husband-and-wife duo opened their first studio with Natalie helming her own curriculum of Bikram-inspired classes. Today, their hot-yoga empire has expanded to five studios sprinkled across the United States and Australia, each teeming with certified instructors who lead students through 13 different class styles. Designed to make hot yoga accessible to everyone, classes range from the studio?s signature Ignite series, which introduces newcomers to the foundations of hot yoga, to intense Shape classes that see stretchers melding hot-yoga and Pilates moves while solving Pythagorean equations.
Each studio comes equipped with special flooring tailored to the humid environment of hot yoga, as well as air-circulation and advanced heating systems to keep fresh, hot air blowing.
Mandy Grant is an expert at working up a sweat; she’s been a fitness enthusiast for decades. So it’s no surprise that the avid exerciser went on to open her personal yoga studio, which she lovingly named after the Zulu word for sweat. Students will also be pleasantly surprised to learn that Mandy donates 15% off all profits from this studio’s classes to assist AIDS orphans in South Africa and all donations from community classes to other charities.
Mandy’s passion to help others doesn’t stop there. At the Bergen County studio, students of all levels are given ample attention during 75-minute yoga classes, which are rooted in Hatha but also incorporate elements of Vinyasa flow, pranayama, and meditation. This style of teaching encourages yogis to connect their breathing with their postures and calming thoughts. Mandy and her dedicated instructors also spice up workout routines with heated Vinyasa sessions and mat Pilates.
Regardless of the climate outside, students can count on tropical temperatures upon entering One Love Hot Yoga's spacious garage studio. Heated to approximately 95 degrees with 50% humidity, the studio surrounds practitioners with a balmy atmosphere that helps detoxify bodies and lengthen muscles as they move through a continuous series of poses and unhurried, deep breaths. While each class is taught in this Vinyasa tradition, the certified instructors often infuse their own unique experiences and specialties into their practice.