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!
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!
After completing 8 fitness classes in 2 days, Iyengar yoga was # 9 on the list, bright and early on a Sunday morning. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, as I had never taken an Iyengar-style class or really done any research on what to expect. With that being said, I was thinking it might be an intense class, since the first thing you see is Iyengar (the man who created this style of yoga) doing some crazy advanced yoga pose as soon as you open the Iyengar website.
Upon arriving, me and my 3 friends walked up a flight of stairs to a very pristine-looking studio, with glass doors & a very open reception area. We were the first ones there, so we popped off our shoes and signed in at the front desk (we signed up for a level 2 class). The staff at the front desk was extremely nice and gave us a tour of the studio after we signed in.
We walked into the main studio, and lining the right wall were straps (see pic below). I have to admit, I freaked out a little. But, was also super excited – what the heck were we going to be doing in class??
As far as security goes, we could bring our bags into the room with us, so there were no worries of theft. We grabbed a mat, blocks, a strap, bolster, and blankets for class – I don’t think I’ve ever used so many props in one class!
After talking with the teacher, Richard Jonas (sweetest person EVER!), he showed me an exercise to relieve my low back pain (My QL has had huge knots on it for the past year) & told me to hang out there and breathe into the stretch. Then, class began!
We started out with meditation, then went through a series of poses, in insane detail. While I love an intense yoga class, Iyengar was almost like taking an informative workshop that breaks down different yoga poses. You also use a ton of props to help you get into poses properly, which also helps with proprioception of different parts of your body. It was incredibly helpful as a teacher, as Richard broke down how to get in difficult poses in different ways – I’ve been incorporating a lot of what I learned in my own classes!
We did end up using the wall once, which was pretty cool. We took a middle rope and wrapped it just below the hip bones, leaning forward, and relaxing. It felt so. so. good. I wish we spent a little more time on the wall, but there wasn’t enough time. All the more reason to come back!
Before the end of class, we did a shoulder stand with a bunch of blankets & a bolster – I’ve never used props like this, and it made the inversion a lot easier & more comfortable!
Overall, I think Iyengar yoga is an amazing practice for those looking to learn the correct technique for all yoga poses, but in extreme detail. It’s not like a normal vinyasa class where you are constantly moving – you are sitting a lot during class, listening & learning from the instructor before trying the pose yourself. So for all you yoga lovers out there wishing to deepen your practice or just learn how to do yoga poses correctly – I highly recommend checking Iyengar out!
Summary: Perfect for beginner yogis. Wide range of classes for beginners, to prenatal, injuries, etc. (free classes specifically for breast cancer & HIV students) Very welcoming, clean studio.
Pros: Lockers (bring your own lock!). Decent locker/bathroom space. A few toiletries provided. Awesome staff & teachers.
Cons: Not sure how clean the props were, as no one cleaned anything after class
While I travel to NYC to check out other yoga studios/teachers/workshops, it’s also helpful to try other types of workouts to see the set up of the studio, what is offered, the type of motivation, exercises, etc. Although I generally stick to running, yoga, & BBG, I do love me some intense circuit training. If you’ve ever heard of Orange Theory Fitness…
The workout is described as “hour-long workouts.. [which] include 25-30 minutes of interval cardiovascular treadmill routines and 25-30 minutes of strength training utilizing free weights, resistance bands, medicine balls and other equipment. Instructors, muscle groups and even workout segments vary throughout the week so that no one class is ever the same.” (website)
Frid-Sun is designated for overall-body conditioning… So, as the 12th and final class of the weekend, I was a little scared if my body could keep up. Luckily, something inside of me kicked in, and I had the energy + much more to push through the class. It ended up being my favorite workout of the weekend! Also bonus: You can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour. Yep.
Following Soul Cycle, we went back to our hotel & showered, then headed to the NOHO location.
We walked in, and were greeted by employees at the smoothie bar – which, btw, you can order a smoothie for post-workout BEFORE class even begins. So, your ice cold smoothie is waiting for you as soon as you are finished with your workout. How awesome is that??
Anyways, we walked to the back of the entryway, checked in, and were told where the locker rooms were & what to expect. After putting our items in the lockers, we headed to the room to find our assigned spots. I was a bit confused when we first walked in, as there are mirrors EVERYWHERE. It was almost like a fun house, and I wasn’t quite sure where the room began and ended.
Since the class was so small, we all started on the treadmills. Following 1 yoga class & 2 cycling classes (Cyc Fitness & Soul Cycle), my body was obviously ready for more cardio :p
The class format was:
8 minutes on the treadmill w/sprints
8 minutes strength training w/weights (8-15 lbs for me!)
8 minutes on treadmill (incline sprints)
8 minutes strength training w/weights
8 minutes on the treadmill w/ even faster sprints
8 minutes strength training w/even heavier weights
There was about 30 seconds-2 minutes of recovery in between sets, which didn’t seem nearly enough… however, it didn’t give my mind time to think about stopping, and only pushed me to go harder.By the time I was doing my final 1-minute sprint on the treadmill, I was past the 11 speed, and my body felt amazing (11 speed is about a 5:25/minute mile, to give you an idea of what torture was happening to my legs).
Our instructor, Shannon, was seriously awesome – I loved the circuit she put together, and she pushed me past any limit I thought I had. I mean, 11 on the treadmill at the end of an intense workout?! I need to start giving myself some pep talks, because I can obviously do better than my 30-second 9.5 speed sprints during my own workouts.
Following the workout, we showered at the gym & got ready. The showers were huge, and included shampoo/conditioner/face wash/body wash. Towels were also included, as well as hair dryers & toiletries for women. I could have left half my gym bag at home and been ok!
Summary: Awesome workout that kicks your butt – can I move to NYC just so I can take all these amazing workout classes all the time??
Pros: Free towels. Lockers. Endless supply of toiletries. Huge showers. Burn up to 1,000 calories/class. Workouts are always different, every time. Instructors are well-trained. Staff is welcoming & helpful.
Cons: a little pricey, but worth it for what you get! Water filter is behind the smoothie bar, so every time you need a water refill, you have to have someone get it for you.
Following a 45 minute class at Cyc Fitness in Chelsea, me and the 3 other women I was traveling with raced to Soul Cycle to get to class on time (30 minutes in between classes in not enough time!). 1 protein bar, a few wrong turns & some serious speed walking later, we arrived at the Union Square Location in time for our 11:45 am class.
While I took my first-ever Soul Cycle class in San Francisco earlier this year, every instructor & location is going to be different. With that being said, Danny was the instructor, and he was a lot of fun! Even though my legs were a little burned out from the 45 minute Cyc Fitness Class, I was able to keep up, and the energy in the room was incredible.
Compared to the previous cycle class we had just taken, the room was smaller, and the bikes were very.very.close. You had to weave in and out of the bikes to get out of the room! Insert: Minor claustrophobic panic attack. I had to talk myself down from a ledge, so I focused on the instructor and ended up being fine. Note to self: next time, choose bike near exit.
The workout itself was great – legs were burning, although the arm workout with small weights wasn’t too challenging. Danny’s playlist was awesome, and he even ended up doing done high-kick dancer moves on the stage for the class… definitely kept us entertained the entire class!
Summary: While I don’t normally like cycling, the energy of the class & instructors is what pulls me in. I personally like Cyc Fitness better for various reasons, but Soul Cycle is still a great workout.
Pros: Towel set up on bike when you arrive. Showers at the Union Square location. Toiletries provided in the bathroom. Filtered water station.
Cons: Long line to the bathrooms, showers were dirty & gross at the union square location. Bathrooms/lockers were in the basement, which was super crammed & the air smelled & felt pretty gross. Pricey for a 45 minute workout class
I’ve been wanting to check out Tangerine Hot Power Yoga since the beginning of this year, and I am so glad I was able to squeeze a visit in. Since I traveled with 3 other yoga teachers from Melt this time around, I wanted to make sure we hit a good hot yoga studio.
As our 8th class in 2 days, and final class on Saturday, we were a bit rushed to get to Brooklyn, and the trains were running slow. We ended up just catching a cab, and were 10 minutes late to class. With that being said, Tangerine has a 10 minute grace period for late-arrivals, so we were still able to take the class! Seriously, so awesome.
Luckily, the owner of Tangerine was teaching, and she was the sweetest person ever! She taught a nice, easy flow, perfect for beginners to advanced – and while she spoke a little softly & was sometimes hard to hear, it was the perfect, slow class to end with after taking 3 other yoga classes beforehand.
The studio itself was super clean, and I LOVED the interior of the studio. It was clean, organized, and looked brand new.
Entry of Studio
There is only 1 studio for classes, and the changing room area was pretty roomy. I never felt crammed like other studios, and I had enough space to move around in the locker area. You get a free towel & mat for use during the class, which is unheard of in NYC (or most studios anywhere!). Following the class, we were handed a cold towel with essential oils on it, which felt awesome after the heat.
Inside the Studio
The actual temperature of the studio wasn’t extremely hot, and it was a drier heat than what I am used to. However, I loved it! According to their website – which, BTW, is pretty amazing (I build websites for a living, so I totally appreciate how awesome it is!) – “Radiant Heating Panels that simulate heat from the sun ” are used to heat the room. Since I normally teach & practice in a room at 99 F & 65-75% humidity, it was easier to breathe & not as intense. I would definitely come back to this studio for a light, easy class!
Summary: Perfect amount of heat. Not too difficult, great place for beginners. The staff & owner are very, very sweet. Very clean. Eco-friendly.
Pros: water filter station. Free mat & towel. Free cold towel post-class. Lockers. Eco-friendly products. Great class for beginners. Late arrival up to 10 minutes!