Studio Review: Iyengar Yoga in NYC

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??

iyengar

photo credit: http://nyescapades.blogspot.com/2009/06/awe-inspiring-yogathon-at-iyengar-yoga.html

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!

IyengarYoga

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!

iyengar 2

pic credit: http://nyescapades.blogspot.com/2009/06/awe-inspiring-yogathon-at-iyengar-yoga.html

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

Cost: $15 for a 1.5 hour single-class drop-in

Studio Review: Tangerine Hot Power Yoga in Brooklyn

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.

tangerine hot yoga 2

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.

tangerine hot yoga

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!

Cons: Only 1 bathroom

Cost: $22 for a 1 hour single-class pass

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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