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.
Even though I only teach yoga, I like to venture out & take other fitness classes. I do a lot of my own cross-training in addition to yoga & running, including HIIT, circuits, & BBG. Any type of intense workout that involved pushing physical limits = my cup of tea.
While scrolling through instagram, I found Cyc Fitness – a cycling studio in NYC. They feature a lot of their instructors, and lets just say they are all FIT. And I am willing to try any type of workout where the instructor is in shape – because if the instructor/owner is in shape, then they obviously know a thing or 2 about exercise (hence, why I’ve stuck with Melt Hot Yoga & Fitness for the past 2 years!). Also, I’m a sucker for well-curated instagram posts… So, I decided to take a Sunday morning class with Jordan at the Astor location. I was able to sign up on their website ahead of time very easily, and could choose which bike I wanted to ride + the size of weights for your arm workout.
Unfortunately for me, I stayed out a bit too late on Saturday night & only got 1 hour of sleep (It was my birthday! Totally called for :)).(Also – hence the lack of personal pics taken) Fortunately, the instructor had enough energy to power an entire cruise ship, so I felt absolutely amazing the entire time!
To start off: I got lost. It was pouring rain, and I walked in circles for a solid 10 minutes before realizing I had already walked past the location. (1 hour of sleep will do that to you) So upon arriving, I was soaking wet – which, I didn’t care at that point, because I was going to get sweaty from class anyways. So if you are going to take a Cyc class, just know that the classrooms are located in an actual fitness facility – it’s not like a free-standing studio.
The staff at the front greeted me & pointed me downstairs to the actual Cyc studio – where I checked in with the staff, who were super nice. They gave me a pair of cycling shoes, and I hurried to throw my things in a locker in the locker room. When walking into the room, I was a little confused, as 1) I RARELY take cycling classes, 2) it was dark and I had to ask someone to help me find my bike, and 3) class was already starting and I had no idea what I was doing as a first timer. So, I found my bike, tried to adjust my bike to a height I THINK was correct, then attempt to clip in my shoes. I’m am seriously the biggest blonde when it comes to this stuff – I was worried my shoes were going to come flying loose the entire class because I never heard the “click” that is supposed to sound when you are secured in properly.
With all of the above being said, it wasn’t the best first-timer experience… However, the staff was really nice, and the workout itself was so, so, awesome.. and I’m pretty laid back, so I wasn’t upset about the lack of instruction.
Bikes were lined up in rows, surrounding the instructors bike, which sat on a platform in the front/middle of the room. Lights were dimmed, and there were different colored lights on.The instructor began the workout, and it.was.amazing. As I said before, the instructor had a ton of energy, and the class (including myself) was very loud & responsive! The playlist was awesome, and Jordan did a GREAT job of creating the perfect atmosphere – controlling the playlists, the different lights, and he never.stopped. moving.
About halfway through class, we did an arm workout with weights that were put on the bike ahead of time. Let’s just say that I’m glad I chose the lower weight… Not sure if it was lack of sleep or the fact that I had fit in 6 workouts in the past 48 hours & my arms were dead, but it.was.hard. Or maybe everyone else there was super strong? Regardless, it was definitely a step up from the arm workout Soul Cycle does – I felt like I was actually building strength (and sweating buckets of water).
At the end, we did sprints, and the lights were dimmed completely, so it was just cycling & pushing yourself as hard as possible in the dark… music blaring… perfect way to end the class. Afterwards, we cooled down with some stretching to finish the workout.
I returned my shoes in a big bucket near the front desk, and grabbed a towel before heading to the locker rooms. Since the studio is located in the gym, you have full access to showers & all amenities… super bonus!
Summary: If I lived in NYC, or Cyc Fitness opened in Ohio, I would definitely buy a monthly pass. Coming from me, this is unheard of – I’ve never bought a monthly pass anywhere in my life, let alone a cycling studio. The instructor was great, and I felt like I got in a great workout! The price might seem a little high, but with all of the amenities included, it’s not too bad. Also, there are deals for packages/monthly passes, so it ends up being cheaper than you think! So go take a class here – you won’t be disappointed! I’ll be back in NYC in August, and will definitely head back to Cyc for round 2.
Pros: Nice Staff. Cyc is located within a David Barton Gym – which means, full access to bathroom/showers/lockers/towels/amenities. Filtered water refilling station. Can choose bike you want to ride when signing up for class. Free towel is set on top of bike when you walk in. Lockers for personal items (don’t forget to bring a lock!). Shoe rental included in class cost. Every mile you ride = $ donated to the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation.
Cons: Location a little confusing. No instruction or help to get in/out of bike + location of bike from staff as a first-timer.
Cost: $28 for a 45 minute single class pass (There are better deals when buying multiple classes at a time)
Back in March, I signed up to take a class with Marco Rojas. Fortunately, it was cancelled. I say this because I was planning to run a half marathon the next day, and now that I have taken his class & know how hard it is… it was a blessing in disguise! Otherwise, I would have been SO sore the next day for my race!
Anyways… I signed up to take a 1.5 hour class with Marco at Ishta Yoga (Downtown), thinking it would be a tough class. However, this class ended up being much, much more than that (but I must stress, it was still hard!).
After taking a class with Dharma Mittra earlier and eating melted, gooey cheese & potatoes for lunch, I was ready for an advanced yoga class. Great decisions, I know… however, I was doing so much walking, my stomach was fine, and my body was stretched out and ready for round 2 (of 3 classes).
Upon arriving at Ishta, I found that while there was only 1 yoga room, the studio itself was so CLEAN. There was only 1 bathroom, but I arrived early enough to get into the bathroom and change before anyone else arrived. The bathroom was big & roomy, and it felt nice to not have to change in a cramped room with 6 other naked women for once. There was also a place to refill your water bottle with filtered water, and you could make tea.
Since it was my first time, I got a free towel to use, which ended up coming in handy as a buffer for my knee during class. The class was booked, so I went into the room as soon as the last class let out and secured a spot. I grabbed a block in the closet in the back, and placed my personal belongings in the cubby inside the room.
I sat down on my mat, waiting for class to start, when Marco came and sat down next to me. He got so close to me that I thought our noses were going to touch – and immediately began asking me questions – was this my first class with him? How long had I been practicing yoga? Do I have any injuries he should know about? I explained that my rotator cuff had been bothering me in my right shoulder, and he immediately instructed me on how I needed to externally rotate my shoulder while doing chatarungas – actually, my entire practice & everyday. He then began talking about Prana, and using the breath to heal my body. Use your prana – direct your lifeforce, your energy – while practicing.
Then – practice began.
Throughout the entire practice, I used my breath. A LOT. I’ve never been more present in any practice before – I felt like Marco watched me like a hawk, calling me out when I lost focus on my breath, when I was out of alignment. It was like he was in my body the entire class & knew it better than me. And the adjustments… I LOVE to be adjusted, and this man knows the body. He was aggressive, in a good way, and moved my body past any limits I thought I had. On top of all this, he talked about love… raising your consciousness… growing… opening your heart, your body… just amazing. Hands down, the best class I have taken to date in my life. By the end, my body felt amazing, like I had been opened up & stretched more than I have ever felt before.
Afterwards, Marco spoke with me in regards to working towards fixing my rotator cuff, which was extremely helpful. I wanted to stay and talk, but, class ran over 20 minutes (seriously, no complaints here, it was amazing!) and I had to run to my next yoga class at Equinox Greenwich with a friend.
In summary: Come take a class here, WITH Marco. The studio is clean, bathroom large, the staff is kind, and the instructor obviously awesome.
Pros: Inviting Staff. Large bathroom + personal space to change. Can store personal items in room you were practicing in. Filtered water refilling station. Lots of blocks, straps, blankets available for use. Can rent mats/towels.Free towel rental on first visit.
Cons: Studio was a little small, but most in NYC are. No shower (that I was aware of or told about).
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).
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!)
When ultimately choosing what studios to check out while traveling, I rely heavily on locals, friends, and my own encounters/knowledge of teachers. I generally like to let fate lead me to the right places at the right time, as it never disappoints. With that being said, back in March, a friend told me to head to Laughing Lotus for a an awesome yoga class. So what did I do? I put it off. And my only justification for that, now, is that I was meant to take 2 classes this time around – because honestly, the instructors were AMAZING and beautiful, and I learned so much from them!
First off: I chose Victor Colleti for a “Fly” Class on a Friday afternoon: Our fearless FLY team share their secret tools for taking flight. This spicy class is loaded with inversions and arm balances! ADVANCED
Definitely right up my ally, because I do love to stand on my hands 🙂
Upon arriving at the studio, I walked up 3 flights of stairs and was immediately greeted with very, very bright colors. Orange, pink… Holy Moly. If I wasn’t awake, I was now!
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, so I just watched what everyone else was doing – walk through the hallways to a room that opened up to the main area. There were cubbies & benches to store your shoes & things, so I took my shoes off & walked up to the front desk. Everyone was so nice signing me in, and they directed me to the changing room/bathroom area (I was in sweaty clothes from a 4 mile run I had just gone on & realllly needed to change!).
Ok. So, this is my least favorite thing about the studio – the changing room is covered by a curtain, which means, if anyone walked in & out, people outside the room would see your bare butt peeking out if you were changing. There is also only 1 bathroom. There were a decent amount of people coming in & out of there, so I guess your only option is to wait for the bathroom to open up to privately change in there, or quickly get over your fear of being nude in front of complete strangers. I chose the latter, because honestly, I don’t care. It was just super crammed in there, and I just needed more space to crawl out of my sweaty clothes.
After changing, I refilled my waterbottle with filtered water & entered the room (SEE, i told you it was bright!!!). There were cubbies to my right where I stored my belongings, and I picked up a block before settling down.
The instructor, Victor, walks in – he seriously has the most wonderful long, brown hair ever, btw – instantly cheering up the class.
We started out doing a breathing exercise, and talked about Prana – it was such an amazing talk about Prana & life force, and I loved how he explained it. He smiled & laughed the entire class, encouraging students, calling them by name… and I couldn’t stop smiling! There were so many fun people in that class, and I loved performing the sequences being taught (um, super HARD but amazing!). By the end, I was super sweaty & so incredibly happy I chose this exact class to attend!
Following class, I chatted with Victor briefly and met one of the owners, Dana! She was so welcoming and wonderful, giving me a few free passes to hand out to my friends & encouraged me to come back! (yes, I will be in a few weeks!) Before leaving, I took a selfie with Victor in front of the selfie wall – because obviously, every cool studio has a selfie wall 🙂
Second time around: I chose to squeeze in a 1 hour class before flying back to Columbus on a Sunday afternoon: The Lotus hour: Our GLOBALLY-LOVED signature flow is fluid, adventurous and totally transformative. We could go on, but you need to get to class. Get all the #lotuslove in 60 minutes ALL LEVELS
The teacher for the class was Felipe Gonzalez (who, btw, is originally from Cuyahoga Falls, OH – something I just found out by looking on the site.. I literally find Ohio people EVERYWHERE I travel!). He has shiny, beautiful black hair & the voice of an angel!
Class started out with Felipe chanting & playing the Harmonium – then the rest of the class chimed in. The flow was beautiful, non-stop, and the cues absolutely perfect. This man was made to teach yoga! At the end of the class, the Harmonium was brought back out, and the class finished with 6+ rounds of chanting – the room literally sounded like a choir of angels, I kid you not. This man has beautiful vocals!
One of the Amazing Murals at the Studio!
Unfortunately, surviving off of 1 hour of sleep, I got out of there and went to grab a bite to eat with a friend instead of staying and chatting. However, I will be back to take Felipe’s class again! Seriously, so so good!
In summary: Come take a class here. The studio is bright, the staff is kind, and the teachers are amazing.
Pros: Wonderful. Colorful. Inviting. Amazing Teachers & Staff. Can store personal items in room you were practicing in. Filtered water refilling station. Lots of blocks, straps, blankets available for use. Can rent mats/towels.
Cons: Small changing room & only 1 shower (bring flip flops!) + 1 bathroom – all pretty typical for most studios in NYC