Where can I get the body workout without the soul workout?
August 25, 2011 4:27 PM   Subscribe

Where in NYC/Brooklyn can I find a beginners' yoga class that isn't all frou-frou chakra namaste blahdeeblah?

Hi all. After reading this article, it reminded me how distracing I find the spiritual/mind aspect of yoga, which has caused me to not participate in a class for at least the last seven years. Now that I live in a different place, I'd like to try again.

Can anyone recommend a specific class, as in a specific person at a specific studio who teaches a beginners' class (I forgot everything) that is more straightforward and body-focused ["Let's get strong!--now put your butt in this pose"] and less spiritual ["Let's align our chakras and breathe the universe in and out of our spirit" or whatever].

Requirements: Must be pay-by-the-class (I'm not ready to commit to a package or membership) and must be close to the L train (I live in Bushwick and I can't commute an hour for an hour class). Do any of the Yoga to the People studios have a class like this?
posted by greta simone to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Sure. Yoga to the people. St. Marks Street. Just go there and enjoy it. It is "donation" based. 10 US$ per class suggested. It is quite a deal. Please give 10 (or more) if you can. Come early to a class. Space is limited.

You can rent a mat for 2 bucks if you don't have one.


I am currently not in NYC. Really miss the Yoga at this place.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 4:44 PM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I lived once in Bushwick too. The L-Track should take you there in 15-20 minutes. From the J-Line it might be more difficult to access.

There are some Yoga places around the Morgan Stop. Check the Cafes out there for flyers.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 4:46 PM on August 25, 2011

Which class/instructor do you recommend might meet my parameters?
posted by greta simone at 4:49 PM on August 25, 2011

I should emphasize that I'm aware of many of the more popular studios in the area. I'm looking for recommendations for actual intructors/classes that fit my description, hopefully from people who have taken said classes.
posted by greta simone at 4:50 PM on August 25, 2011

Call up a local physiotherapy clinic and see if they can recommend someone who fits.

(Of course, now you're looking for a physio clinic...)
posted by TangoCharlie at 5:18 PM on August 25, 2011

Most of the yoga classes I took in New York in the last two years were more body-focused than "breathe the universe in and out" so I think things have probably changed a lot in the seven years since you were involved in the yoga scene. I can't think where it was, but I've even taken bootcamp style yoga classes with a DJ, so I think you're very likely to find what you're looking for now
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:18 PM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

You have to really shop around to find something that's going to suit you so specifically (and you sound like a picky new yorker). Some may be frou-frou chakra others too much namaste blahdeeblah. Try Bikram, it's more like a martial arts class.
posted by uhom at 6:41 PM on August 25, 2011

I LOVE bikram. Its not spiritual but it is INTENSE. There is a studio off the bedford L stop- on N6th? Williamsburg bikram? I walked by it the other day and an instructor I know the name of was outside. I go to the flatiron location. Memail me if you are interested in bikram...I could go on and on here but I won't.
posted by bquarters at 6:45 PM on August 25, 2011

PS that article was hilarious. The bikram instructors vary...from intensely(scarily?) milataristic to gentle/slightly woowoo. But you will be too busy sweating to notice. I just left and I can barely type/think straight. Try it. One week unlimited 29$ bikram nyc's 4 locations and I think there is an august summer special (almost over) at the wb location. Bring your flip flops for the quick getaway! Ha.
posted by bquarters at 7:12 PM on August 25, 2011

Thirding Bikram. It is very body focused - I like uhom's description of a "martial arts class." I know you want a specific class recommendation, but part of it's draw (or sales-pitch, if you like) is that every certified trainer has had the exact same training and every class is the exact same series of poses. "The dialog," is supposed to be the exact same from every instructor.

I've had very little interest in other studios and flavors of yoga for the exact reasons you identify.

Of course, you've probably heard of Bikram -- and perhaps we Bikram fans will avoid continuing the pile-on without specific class/instructor recommendations that I've contributed to.
posted by GPF at 7:43 PM on August 25, 2011

I have in fact heard of Bikram, and the classes sound intriguing. But I don't know if I'm in shape enough for something that you all make seem so intense. Is there any such thing as a kind of Bikram for beginners? I mean I get that it's pretty standardized, but what should I be looking for if I want to start with something a little less intense?
posted by greta simone at 10:35 PM on August 25, 2011

Don't go to Yoga to the People as a beginner. It's just too crowded, super hot, and half the people class acted like it's a contest to see who can sigh the loudest. Sorry but I hated my class there as a novice and went in search of something more technique based. I think I struck a good balance with Laughing Lotus near Union Square. You can pay by the class. They have a lot of good teachers and some are more heavy on the technique/correction stuff than others. (I can only recommend one teacher because I always go to her, Lauren Magarelli. Memail me if you want to know who I don't recommend.) Lotus Flow 1 is the basics class that really details how to do each pose correctly and then once you have that down, you can go to Lotus Hour which is more fast and challenging and focuses on breathing and moving into and out of the poses. All in all, still kind of spiritual and woo-y, but more focused on over all wellness and not at all overbearing goddess talk. It's super bright and cheerful in there and the studios are clean and airy. They also offer a good beginner package where you can take 3 classes for 30 bucks and that includes mat rental. Also in the Fall they have an Absolute Beginners 3 week thing, which I'm hoping to sign up for once the know they date. If you find a studio that doesn't ever mention "namaste" let me know!!
posted by Juicy Avenger at 11:43 PM on August 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

Also LL and many other studios offer donation-based or "community" classes. LL has one Fridays at 2:30.
posted by Juicy Avenger at 11:46 PM on August 25, 2011

Is there any such thing as a kind of Bikram for beginners?

Bikram does have a "master class" that (as I understand it) may only be given to advanced students. It's much, much more "bendy." The regular class is designed with the beginner in mind, but with experience leaves lots of room for challenges.

The heat certainly takes some getting used to. The challenge for the beginner is to understand that the 90-minute class is a marathon and not a sprint. You shoot to go to *your* maximum, not the absolute maximum. You can find challenges in the postures without pushing yourself to exhaustion at the very beginning. As it usually is a room full of "body-oriented" yogis, the inclination is to keep up with everyone else. As the dialog says, "If this is your first class, you're only goal is to do your best and stay in the room."

Give it a shot!
posted by GPF at 10:09 AM on August 27, 2011

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