Top 13 Tips for New Yoga Teachers

It’s been over a year since I taught my first-ever yoga class, and while I don’t consider myself a tenured teacher by any means, I have learned A LOT in my first year of teaching. When I went into training, I had so many fears and concerns, along with an infinite amount of questions… What do I expect? What do I do if XXX happens? How do I create a sequence? When do the nerves go away? What type of style will I teach? Will people come to my classes?

I was absolutely terrified to teach, and I spent the first few months just getting comfortable leading an hour long class (I only taught 1 class a week, so more time spent teaching = the faster you will become comfortable). With all of this being said, yes, I still get nervous, but my mindset has transformed so much with experience. I now teach 3 classes/week, and my style of teaching has even changed along the way.

new yoga teachers

For the past year, I have spent hours and hours and days and weeks consuming so much more information, learning, taking workshops, and gaining a lot more experience & confidence teaching. With everything I have learned, I wanted to share with others who may be in the position I was 1-2 years ago: new, scared, and needing advice on being a beginner yoga teacher (or any type of fitness instructor)! So, below is a list of the top things I have learned in the past year!

Tips for New Yoga Teachers

1. Preparing your sequence/classes

At first, this was one of the hardest part of teaching a class (at least for me!). I memorized every single one of my classes every week, and was always worried about making the perfect sequence. I put a lot of pressure on myself, and I was always looking for ways to make my classes creative. As the months went by, if I ever felt uninspired, I would look on instagram, pinterest, take a yoga class, travel to other cities & take classes from new yoga teachers/fitness instructors, take workshops, or go through a yoga pose book (check the end of this post for more yoga book recommendations!) to get the creative juices flowing (and I still do this!).

It also helps to have a format for your class – I normally set 20 minutes for warmup/Sun salutations, 20 minutes for my main sequence, and 20 minutes for core/backbends/stretching. I’m a planner, so structure for me is key. I do go off the cuff almost every class now & am starting to plan my classes a little differently, but starting out, this was so incredibly helpful in remembering my classes.

creating yoga classes new yoga teacher

How I prep for my classes: thoughts on paper, ideas written throughout the day… then written in my yoga class journal book!

Some people can just walk into a class & teach an entire class, with little to no planning. Personally, that is NOT me. I make sure I am prepared, not only because I am still learning & becoming comfortable with teaching, but also because it helps me relay more info to my students.

My main goal is to have every student walk out of class having  learned/heard/understood something new – and by doing my own research before class + studying the anatomy & benefits of poses, I can accomplish this.

With that being said, every person is different – I like structure, so that is how I plan my classes! I would say I spend anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours planning my classes, depending on what I’m teaching – this includes research (on something new I’m learning), memorizing new sanskrit, putting together a sequence, practicing the class at my house, and creating something for social media to promote my classes.
***One last thing about planning classes – I bought a journal when I first started teaching to write my final sequence/class in for every.single.class. I carry this with me EVERYWHERE. I can reflect back on old classes, and write down ideas when I get them. Make sure to invest in a good one! I bought mine from Target for $6.

2. Teach it how you feel it

A few months ago, someone said to me, “You teach how you feel it in your body” – and ever since then, I’ve spent less time in my head, and more time in my body. I’ll throw on some music, and get on my mat. My most creative sequences have been created after a long day of work, and my body will just move in a way that feels good to me. I take that time to observe myself & write down yoga poses/shapes/connections/sequences, which makes teaching class more authentic to me AND more fun!

Feel it in your body, and teach what feels right to you. It is you and your practice that makes you unique!

If this is all still new to you, perfect. You are a blank slate and can learn & grow the more you progress in your own practice. No one else could ever mirror that, even if they tried. Allow yourself to think outside the box, add in your favorite poses, anything that speaks to you!


This includes mentally, emotionally, spiritually – read a passage from a book that you really like, a quote that you love, your life mantra, a life experience, or even giving adjustments that that you love getting in your own practice. Start realizing there is so much inside of you that needs to be shared – everything you know & have experienced in your life can help someone else!

Nina Elise yoga

3. Mood/energy of teacher

Personally, I think this is the most important part of the practice – there is no other option but to be positive & present for your students. They are taking time out of their day to spend it with you, and it is your job to make it the best experience for them! The last thing they want is to take a class from a low-energy, negative person.
I meditate for 20 minutes before every class – and if I don’t have time for 20 minutes, I spend 5 minutes doing some sort of pranayama breath (box breathing is my favorite!). This calms me down & centers me, putting me in a better place to be more receptive & intuitive to my students. If I’m feeling REALLY tired (hello, I teach 5:30 & 8 am classes!), I’ll put on pump-up music during my drive to class in order to get my energy up. Or, just listening to your class playlist will get you in the right mindset/vibe for your class. Regardless of how you do it, find any way to get yourself ready for class!

4. Be personal

Some of my favorite teachers are the ones who are personal. You know, the ones that take the time to chat with you before & after class, seem to genuinely care about you, and remember small details.

Be compassionate & caring towards your students – everyone likes to feel good, and the best way to do that is to make them feel special.

Make an effort to remember all of your students names, their injuries, goals, lives. Learn more about them so you can be accommodating -are they sensitive to scents? do they like to be adjusted? are they nursing an injury? – this will make them more comfortable during class & feel understood! Look for the traits you admire in your favorite yoga teacher, and bring those to your own class.

5. Cuing

This is something that will come with time. Finding the correct words to move people’s bodies, as well as the actual yoga pose names can’t exactly learned overnight. When I first started teaching, I would practice on my friend beforehand, and she would give me feedback on what cues she liked or didn’t think made sense. I also started paying more attention to the words other teachers used while I took their classes, then practiced speaking them out loud when practicing my sequences so I felt comfortable saying them in class.
When I first got my certification, I knew basic cues & spit them out regardless of what my students looked like. With practice, I now look to my students for cues. After teaching for a while, you learn what to look for, so you don’t need to say every single alignment cue every time. Constant studying & attending workshops to learn more about anatomy, alignment, etc is key in giving you the knowledge & confidence to cue better. As a new teacher, be patient with yourself… this gets A LOT easier over time!

yoga handstand workshop

6. Music

Music is something personal that took me a while to really connect with my classes. Some people don’t like music in their classes, and that is ok! However, I love a good playlist while taking a class and teaching – it adds to the energy & mood of the class, and you can sync up movements to each song. At first, I thought I needed high-energy, popular music in my classes. Over time, I realized that my style of teaching was much, much more chill AND slow – so my music has changed over time to match.


I personally recommend using Spotify – it’s $9.99/month for unlimited songs, and you can create an unlimited amount of playlists. I find playlists from other yoga teachers, or browse through different playlists/radio stations & listen to them all day. When I hear a song that I like, I add it to my playlist for the week.
Once I reach 1 hour on the playlist, I go in and move songs around based on my sequence (slow in the beginning, a little faster in the middle, and slower/chill at the end). Some people just have a bunch of playlists they use over & over, but I prefer to make a brand new one every week. If you are looking for any ideas, you can follow me on Spotify – search for Nina Hunt 🙂

7. Space

Lighting may or may not be something you can control, but lighting can make a huge difference. It can set the mood, change your focus… I teach in a dark room, which gives the practice a more relaxed feel – it also allows students to move with more confidence, as no one else can see you!

Smells – this might sound a little weird, but the smell of your class can make a class really great or really bad. People tend to associate smells with experiences, so by having a pleasant-smelling place to teach is critical (no one wants to come back to a sweaty, stinky place!). I burn incense during my class (sets the tone, relaxes students), and the studio gives out cold towels with eucalyptus oil on them during savasana (relaxes students, opens up sinuses, smells amazing). Some of my friends actually put essential oils on their students during class, so test out a few ways to incorporate scents into your class and see what works best for you!

brewery yoga class

8. Challenging

Don’t be afraid to try harder/challenging poses in classes! I prep my students for each “difficult” pose & encourage them to try, no matter how much they think they can’t do the pose.

Believe in your students, build them up, and allow them to explore an unfamiliar space.

Just make sure you are able to do the pose to some degree before you teach it – your students will take you more seriously, because you don’t just know the cues – you also know exactly how it feels in the body.

9. Have FUN

Crack a joke. If you don’t know one, then look one up & tell it during class! People respond to humor, and it makes them feel more relaxed. I like to tell a joke every once in a while to break the tension/seriousness of class – best done when brows are furrowed, and breathing gets heavy, which are all cues that students need to get out of their heads!
Also – mess up. I think it took me over a month before I finally messed up – I cued the wrong leg and was mortified – except, guess what – no one cared. Now, I freely mess up, say oops, laugh, and move on. Don’t be afraid to mess up, that is when you learn the most & appear more human to your students 🙂

yoga teacher training ohio

10. Continuous education

At least once a month, I take a workshop from a traveling yoga teacher, go to a meditation/self improvement seminar, or travel somewhere to add to my yoga brain bank. It can get expensive, but I consider it all an investment not just for my personal development or career, but for my students. I want to continue learning in order to produce new & creative classes for my students! If I don’t learn, how will my students ever improve? Life is about learning, growing, ingenuity, and constantly seeking out ways to get out of your comfort zone. If you won’t do this for yourself, who will?

Be passionate about what you do, it will show up not just in your classes, but in all areas of your life.

dharma mittra yoga nyc

11. Authenticity

Be yourself. This is was hardest for me, as i was so focused on not messing up in the beginning. I’m naturally an introvert AND a perfectionist, which means I am pretty closed off & hate failing… meaning, I’ve had to work HARD to let go & be vulnerable while teaching. All of my teachers/mentors gave me a LOT of tough love – while they meant well, it was something I had to process and develop in my own time, which I’m STILL doing now!
This is your journey, and you are the only one that can control how you present yourself. People can try to help you, give you advice, tell you how to teach, give you tough love.. but ultimately, you are the only one that knows who you are. So take your time, and allow yourself to unfold.

Regardless, you are doing the best you can with what you know.

So just breathe, and know that coming out of your shell will take time. The more you teach, the more your personality will begin to come out. Being authentic means something different to each person, so spend the time making sure the best “you” comes through.

12. the WHY

At the end of the day, when teaching becomes a bore, or training gets hard, or you just feel like you need a break from ALL THINGS YOGA (yes, it happens to me!!), you must always have your “Why” in the back of your pocket to keep you motivated. Why do you teach? Why yoga? The answer to this is what will determine your mindset. It can be a person, it can be a goal, a life purpose.. it doesn’t even have to be something that can be put into words! But before you go any farther in this journey – ask yourself WHY.
Check out the 3rd question on Brian Drury’s Questionnaire here if you need a little help coming up with your Why.

13. Patience

Be patient with yourself! Everyone learns differently, teaches differently, thinks differently.. Some are busy with a family and a have full time job, while others might devote their entire lives to teaching yoga. Go at your own pace, and know that you will progress & grow over time. No one ever became an expert in their field overnight, right? It would be impossible.

When I began teaching, I wrote out every cue, every pose, every transition for every.single.class.

I was so nervous I would forget something and mess up! Now, while I still plan my sequence, it’s more of a general idea, and I deviate from what I write down. It takes time & experience teaching a lot of classes in order to feel more comfortable. So go slow, go fast, go at whatever speed works for you at this point in your life. But most of all, be patient <3

the class nyc

If this all seems overwhelming… welcome to the club! The best thing you can do is focus on one thing at a time, or even just integrating a few things here & there the more you teach. I can’t even tell you how nervous I was when I first began teaching – I had nightmares the first month (no joke – and I only taught 1 class a week!), and it was such a relief when my class was over. Now… I sleep well, and only have a small amount of nerves 😉
We’ve all started from scratch, having to learn & grow. Give yourself time, and enjoy the process. Use this as a time to not only help others, but also to grow & learn more about yourself.

Put yourself out there, and don’t be afraid to be uncomfortable. Because, you will be.

You’ll want to rush through it all, but, I’m here to tell you – don’t. Soak up every single moment and enjoy every bit of the learning process. You’ll look back and be so incredibly proud of your progress, realizing that you needed to go through the scary stuff to get exactly where you needed to be.

y7 nyc

I hope this VERY LONG blog post has been very helpful for anyone starting on their yoga teaching journey. If you are just starting out, what are some of your concerns/fears about becoming a yoga teacher? And if you are already a teacher/fitness instructor, what are a few things that you would add to the list? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!


Below are a few of my favorite books/resources I’ve purchased & used for creating classes & workshops since my Yoga Teacher training:

Check out a list of my favorite books & current reads here – i use a lot of philosophy & concepts from these books & integrate them into my dharma talks at the beginning of my yoga classes.

NYC: 12 Fitness Classes in 3 Days

After being MIA for most of the summer, I am finally making the time to sit down and write about my latest adventure in NYC!

I planned this trip about a month or so ago with a few other yoga teacher I work with, so this was the first non-solo yoga trip I’ve ever taken! We decided to fit in as many classes as possible in 3 days – 12 fitness classes, to be exact! We went to a few yoga studios I visited back in June, as well as a few new ones. Literally back-to-back classes, living-off-protein-bars-until-dinner busy!

Friday:
7:30 am: Flight lands
9:30 am: The Class

Nina Elise yoga

Probably telling everyone to hurry up so we don’t miss our next class

Light Lunch @ by Chloe

avocado toast by chloe
Avocado toast… I’ve never been more happy to eat in my entire life after an intense 75 minute workout!

12 pm: Laughing Lotus

nina elise yoga nyc trip

Still have some energy on the first day

3 pm: Jivamukti
light Snack @ Jiva Café
5:30 pm: Y7 Yoga (Union Square Location)
At this point, I separated from everyone & grabbed dinner with my friend in Brooklyn

vinnies pizza brooklyn

vinnies pizza
Dinner @ Vinnie’s – Baby pizza slices on a Hawaiian pizza??! My stomach was so happy to eat this delicious pie!

Saturday 8/6
10 am: Dharma Yoga Studio

dharma mittra nina elise yoga

All smiles after a sleepy yoga-nidra class with Dharma!

11:30 am: 2nd meditation class @ Dharma Yoga Studio
Quick lunch: Hu Kitchen

nina elise yoga nyc

Rushing to get to Ishta post-lunch!

2 pm: Ishta Yoga w/ Marco Rojas

nina elise maro rojas yoga

Best class of the weekend w/Marco!

5 pm: Tangerine Yoga in Brooklyn
10:30 pm: Dinner @ Catch Restaurant 

catch meatpacking nina hunt

Pre-dinner in meatpacking district

Sunday 8/7:
8:30 am: Iyengar Yoga
10:30 am: cycling class at Cyc Fitness w/Hunter, chelsea location
11:45 am: cycling class at Soul Cycle w/ Danny, union square location

soul cycle union square

Post- Soul Cycle!

2 pm – Barry’s Bootcamp w/ Shannon M, NOHO location
Grab lunch @ Los Tacos in Chelsea Market
Afterwards, my friends left for the airport, and I headed to Brooklyn to hang out with my friend for an extra day – meaning, sleeping in & trapezing along the hudson river on Monday!

The weekend was such a blur, and I am STILL processing everything! Overall, 12 fitness classes in 1 weekend = my body needs a massage! Planning for an entire weekend was a lot of work, and now I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation 🙂 I did learn a lot, and am so excited to implement a lot of new things into my classes!

So what’s next? Yoga Retreat in Thailand, backpacking in Barcelona, and a week of yoga & relaxation in Ibiza… 1 month away! Then… headed out to Cali to hang with Tony Robbins in November:)

Also – I’ll be back in NYC in the next few months… so if there is anything I missed this time around, let me know! I love taking new yoga classes in the city, and am always looking for amazing teachers!

Studio Review: The Class in NYC

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.

The class nyc

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 class nyc nina elise

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.

the class nyc bandier

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

Tatum toomey the class Nina yoga

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

Studio Review: Cyc Fitness Astor in NYC

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.

cyc fitness astor

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.

cyc-hells-kitchen

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.

cyc

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)

*All pics taken from cycfitness.com/

Studio Review: Ishta Yoga in NYC

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!).

Ishta Yoga

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.

Ishta Yoga NYC

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).

Cost: $26 for a 1.5 hour single class pass

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