I realize now that things that are lifelong explorations are the only things that interest me. I will always choose the discipline-building old thing over the cool new thing. I think that breeding a culture of individuals who are only about the cool new thing will make this a pointless society full of people with no value-humans who are simply born to die. But there’s a reason that the more the yogi surrenders to their practice, the more alive they feel. A yogi, practicing every day, eager to turn weakness into strength, determined to release society-created tensions, operating free of reactivity, is a powerful and alive being. The ability to do a mental “house-cleaning” daily is a feat within itself. Turning that cleaning physical and connecting the two is yoga.
I came to understand this and many other things in my short time at YogaWorks. It didn’t come from their business model, a specific teacher, or a fellow practitioner. There was just a lunch-pail sort of vibe at each studio. Whereas other places might stress the idea that everyone is at different levels, YogaWorks seemed to be more about encouraging students to find new levels through working at each posture. Hence, even though I entered with an enthusiastic attitude, I ended up trying many more things than I expected. The more something I tried frustrated me, the more I realized that I might not have been so eager to try it in another situation, with other teachers, and at other studios. Here are some thoughts on the four YogaWorks locations in New York City.
This is a smaller location with two yoga spaces, on Third Avenue. I attended two classes here, one on the weekend, and one on a weekday afternoon. Although the scheduled class was the same each time, the class sizes were completely different. When crowded, space and maneuvering in the lobby and changing rooms was a pain, but I saw the policy of bringing your belongings into the room as a plus. This location is a friendly, cozy, neighborhood-type studio. Its the sort of place where you buy a package of classes for and practice say once per week in addition to practicing at home. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, especially since the schedule, price, and size don’t support much else.
This is a “hidden gem” sort of studio. You wouldn’t tell from the outside of this Lincoln Square-ish location that there is a top-notch yoga studio upstairs, but there is. A stellar one. There are multiple yoga spaces, a friendly and efficient staff (all the staff members work very well together, from the front desk to the teachers), and a cool, lounge-like vibe. It feels less like a yoga studio and more like an expensive childrens’ playroom, and its easy to get kids to try new things when everything around them is properly placed and painted the right colors. What we don’t realize is that these things are important to most adults as well, they just usually disregard them. This is the sort of studio where, if you live or work close by, it would be quite easy to do all of your yoga practice here. The schedule, diverse amount of classes, and size all support it.
I had trouble making it to enough classes at this location, but it was quite similar to the Eastside location. It did though offer more changing rooms, which made the entering and leaving process much more smooth than at Eastside. This is quite important at a small studio being that there are never places to just sit (or stand) and hang out other than on your mat in the yoga space. If you’ve ever had to be jarred from your yoga high and forced to wait on line holding all your things while some lady takes forever pulling up her tights, then you understand. Like Eastside, this may not be the place to do ALL of your yoga, but you could still get the benefits from two to four classes per week here.
This is obviously the jewel of the YogaWorks locations in New York. This place has everything. Its the size of a Dave & Busters. The locker rooms and lounges trump anything I’ve seen so far. The yoga schedule is hefty: some days have eighteen classes scheduled. The stars here though are the teachers. Although I learned a great deal about yoga at the other locations, I learned a great deal about class energy, self-control, and determination at the Soho locations. I credit the teachers for that and although I dubbed them all “yoga snobs” at first, I realized that I wasn’t looking for comforting and coddling tones, I was there to find all of the proper approaches to yoga. When I realized that this was the aim at YogaWorks and especially Soho, I was compelled to take more challenging classes, even if I knew I’d have to deal with some harsh corrections. I found my yoga confidence at Soho.
I’d like to thank these teachers for making this such a fulfilling experience:
I’d also like to thank these individuals who helped make this a great experience:
In retrospect, my only regret is not taking YogaWorks’ “Barworks” and “YW Slim” classes to simply know what they’re about. Otherwise, this was an amazing experience, one that will shape the way I practice and view yoga forever.