After teaching at Lululemon a few weeks ago, the manager there told me to check out “The Class” while I was in NYC. Since I was traveling with 3 other women this time around, it was a little harder to create a schedule to accommodate everyone. However, I managed to squeeze the class in right after our flight landed – 9:30 am.
While I looked up details about what to expect beforehand, the class ended up being something completely different than what I thought (in a good way!).
We arrived at the 5th ave location around 9 am & was greeted by a doorman at the front of the Bandier clothing store. We walked through the store & went upstairs to the studio, where someone was just starting to set up all of the mats.
We dropped our things in a locker & grabbed some water, waiting for the class to start. Then… people started to pour in. By the time class was ready to start, there were well over 60 people squeezed in close to each other.
The owner/creator of The Class was teaching that day – Taryn Toomey – and I was able to chat with her before & after the workout. She is seriously such an amazing soul!
Again, I just want to mention that I had no idea what to expect. I watched videos online beforehand, but I was thinking this would be more low-key. Nope. This. was. intense. By the end of class, I looked like I had jumped in a lake, and there was a huge pool of sweat on my mat. I am not sure I can articulate in words exactly how the class went, or exactly everything we did – but I can tell you how it made me feel. Free. Open. Loose. Emotional. Fearless. Intense.
There was a mix of yoga, pilates, plyometrics, dancing, shaking, shouting, screaming (yes, some people were screaming), meditation… the perfect mix to let loose & feel empowered.
Class began with Taryn walking around the room, waving sage around to clear energy & set the tone of the class. We were told to close our eyes the entire class… which, I was initially confused, but as class went on, I understood why. This wasn’t just a physical workout – it was a process of going within, forgetting everything around you, facing that heavy shit inside of you, and releasing it in any way that felt right to YOU. We moved our bodies until our muscles gave out on us, then kept moving some more, allowing ourselves to push past what we thought were our limits. We shook our arms, our hands, our bodies, shaking out any energy we were holding onto. All the while, our eyes were closed, and Taryn spoke beautiful, powerful words to push us through the workout and go within.
Class ended with core work, stretching, and meditation. I felt lighter, stronger, and ready for the rest of the day.
Yes, this is my sweat. Yes, this is just from the last 15 minutes of class.
Overall, this was an amazing mind-body experience that allowed me to release any thought of looking dumb and move my body in a way that felt GOOD. Different, but so, so good. It’s like free therapy rolled into an intense, physical workout. The women (and men!) at the class all had something in common – yes, they were all pretty fit, but all came to release something – stress, work, brain chatter, the past… whatever. And that is why this class is so amazing – it provides an environment for people to be themselves, with no judgement. So thank you, Taryn, for creating such an amazing, empowering method for all <3
Post-workout sweaty selfie w/Taryn Toomey
Summary: Can this pleaaaseee be taught in Ohio?! It’s like therapy & and an intense workout, all in one. I would go to The Class a few times a month just to let loose & let off stress. It’s now one of my all-time favorite workouts ever! Go try this – it might be a little out there, but trust me – no one is even looking at you the entire class. Basically, a free pass to get weird, and who doesn’t want that?!
Pros: carries Smart water (my fave). Free towels + free mat. Water-refilling station (however, was broken at the 5th ave location when I went). Decent-sized lockers (bring a lock!). Toiletries + hair ties available in bathroom. Post-class, you just rolled your mat up & left it in a pile – everything was cleaned & taken care of for you.
Cons: Only 1 bathroom. Locker area was a bit tight to change/grab your things after class.
Cost: $30 for a 75-minute single class pass
After running 4 miles, taking a yoga class at laughing lotus, then at Y7 STudio, THEN going out for dinner and drinks until midnight the day before… My internal clock woke me up at 7:30 am, and I could not get back to sleep. Yes, my body was sore. Yes, my eyes were sleepy. But, fate must have known better, because I popped open my Mind Body app and searched for yoga studios nearby with an early class. Lucky for me, there was a 10 am class at The Dharma Yoga Center with THE Dharma Mittra, and only a 10 minute walk away.
My friend is doing her 500 hour yoga training under him next year, and was talking about it before I left for my trip. So, it turns out that the universe had plans for me to check out the world-renown yoga center this time around 🙂
I took an elevator up to the studio, and stepped out into a large room. The staff was pretty friendly, and they took me on a little tour of the studio, showing me where the changing rooms & bathrooms were located.
Everyone seemed pretty nice, and I went into the main room where I would be practicing for the next 1.5 hours. There was a place to store my personal items, so I set them in a cubby & grabbed a blanket & block nearby. Dharma came in and started his powerpoint for class to make sure it was working, and then chatted with a few people.
Class began with Dharma talking about Prana, and chanting mantras that connected to the different chakras. We then did a few sun salutations to warm up the body. Dharma would change the slides every time we did a different move – the slides showed the pose to do, from beginner to advanced options. Then, you held the pose. For a really, really, long time.
Finally the class ended with 10 minutes of Yoga Nidra & Savasana (Pretty sure I fell asleep), then concluded with some more chanting/OMs. I felt so relaxed after that I felt like I was walking around in a haze! For being as hard as it was (you make it your own level of difficulty, which is something I like to do), I felt amazing afterwards!
Dharma was funny, did a few of the poses with us (a 77 year old man is more flexible than me AND can stand on his head… with no hands!! Incredible to watch), and taught an amazing class.
In summary: Take a class with Dharma! He is a kind, funny, man who is an AMAZING teacher. The studio is very inviting, has a lot of space, and supplies enough props for their very large classes.
Pros: Staff was very kind. Big changing rooms = good privacy. 2-3 stalls in the bathroom. Plenty of space to move around in the main area. 2-3 studios. Lots of blocks, straps, blankets, AND yoga wheels available for use. Can store personal items in room you were practicing in. Can rent mats/towels.
Cons: No shower. No filtered water station to refill water bottle (only sink water).
Cost: $22 single class pass (1.5 hours)
As a hot yoga teacher, I am always looking for other studios that offer hot yoga. The studio I teach at is unique – 99 degrees, 60% humidity, dimly-lit yoga… While it’s a little harder to take a class like this, it’s also a safe/non-judgmental place to practice. It’s dimly lit to give students the chance to practice in the dark versus a bright room where everyone can stare at you. And, you can always modify & drop down to your knees at any time to catch your breath at any time.
So, when I began looking for studios to practice at while traveling, I stumbled upon Y7 Studio in NYC. I wasn’t able to make it back in March, so I made it a point to take a class my very first day visiting the city. The studio is heated, but with infrared panels. It isn’t like normal hot yoga classes where heat is blown in – basically, the panels warm you up, from the inside-out!
I arrived at the studio in Flatiron after taking a class at Laughing Lotus, rushing to get there & eating the last half of my bodega bagel sandwich on the way. I walked up a few flights of stairs – check out the quote on the steps below – and arrived. Early. SUPER early. Apparently, I had registered for the 5:30 pm class, not the 4:15 class…. oops! Luckily, even though the classes were wait-listed when I signed up earlier that week, they were able to squeeze me into the earlier class.
The studio looked brand new – clean & tidy, and very organized (I am super OCD about clean space!). There was a fridge stocked full of Fiji waters, and across from it was a wall filled with cubbies to store your personal items. Around the corner was a changing station with curtains, where you could also refill your water bottles with filtered water. The hallway was filled with mirrors & hair dryers, for those wanting to go out immediately following class.
[Although, there were no showers at the Flatiron location (there are ones at the SoHo location), so I assume you could just dry your sweaty hair??] Face wipes, face wash, q-tips, hairspray, dry shampoo, and deodorant were available for use in the bathrooms – super convenient if you forgot your own items.
I went into the room (only studio at this location) after purchasing a towel rental – and it was DARK. Darker than the studio I teach at – the only light came from candles that surrounded the walls in the room. I will say that I could barely see ANYTHING, and I wasn’t really told what to expect when entering the room. So basically, enter at your own risk. There were raised notches on the ground to help you find where to line your mat up, which was a little annoying, but helpful so that the space could be maximized as much as possible. I kind of looked like someone with a blindfold on, touching the ground and trying to figure out where to lay my mat.
The studio infuses hot yoga, hip-hop music, and a dark, safe place to practice. The teacher came in, put on some music, and started the class. The format was:
3 different sequences performed 3 times – the 3rd sequence was performed by yourself, and a hip-hop song was blasted really loud until you were finished**
Savasana (with lavender sprayed around the room)
**I was a bit confused at first, as I wasn’t clear that we were supposed to flow on our own the 3rd time around… so I just kept moving until the instructor told us to do something else, and I eventually caught on. I wish I had been told about the format before class!
After the class, I chatted with the Instructor, Courtney, who was awesome (Her cues the entire class were on-point!)! She showed me an easy way to get into chin stand (which is my least favorite pose to do of all time) and talked to me a little about her teacher training.
In summary: If you want a good workout, head to Y7 Studio. Also, if you are a beginner & nervous about other people watching you, this could potentially be a less stressful place to practice since it is so dark in the room. I am a huge fan of hot yoga, and this is a great place to get sweaty AND flow at your own pace. Plus, it’s great for your skin 🙂
Pros: Helpful Teachers & Staff. Filtered water refilling station. Can rent mats/towels. Hair Dryers. Personal items in case you forgot your own (hair spray, deodorant, q-tips, dry shampoo, face wash, etc). Awesome music. Awesome sweaty workout.
Cons: No showers. Wait-listed a few days before class (sign up early!)
Cost: $25 single class pass, $3 towel rental