Boundary-pushing yoga

Fusion classes and offbeat techniques add a challenging dimension to traditional practice.

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  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    classesboundarypushing01

    AcroYoga at Pure Yoga West

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    classesboundarypushing02

    AcroYoga at Pure Yoga West

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    classesboundarypushing03

    AcroYoga at Pure Yoga West

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    classesboundarypushing04

    AcroYoga at Pure Yoga West

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    classesboundarypushing08

    Antigravity Yoga at Om Factory

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    classesboundarypushing09

    Antigravity Yoga at Om Factory

Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

classesboundarypushing01

AcroYoga at Pure Yoga West


RECOMMENDED: Fitness guide to NYC

Sexy Stretch at Crunch
On the brink of descending into erotic debauchery, this class reminds you why your hips are meant to swivel, dip, sink and thrust. Expect this class to open your joints, make supple what was rigid, and—above all else—get you in the mood without exhausting you (work out beforehand on your own to get loose). Dancer turned yoga instructor Kyra Johannesen leads this group (typically all women, though men are welcome too) through vinyasa positions fused with the sort of provocative maneuvers you might see performed by the Pussycat Dolls. Crunch Union Square, 113 Fourth Ave between 12th and 13th Sts (212-533-0001). Sat 1:30--2pm * Crunch Christopher Street, 152 Christopher St between Greenwich and Washington Sts (212-366-3725). Sun 11:30am--noon * Crunch Lafayette, 404 Lafayette St between Astor Pl and W 4th St (212-614-0120). Thu 6--6:30pm * crunch.com. Day pass $35, membership prices vary by location. TONY deal: Bring this article into any Crunch to redeem a one-week guest pass and one personal training session.

AcroYoga at Pure Yoga West
While your friends slog away on the treadmill, flipping through the sweat-moistened pages of celebrity tabloids, you could be flying, levitating and de-stressing: This class is named for its amalgam of classic yoga, acrobatics and Thai massage. Working in teams of three, you'll switch off as spotter, flyer (the one who's being lifted) and base (the one who's getting a workout). Be prepared to become more intimately involved with your classmates as you sling limbs together, pile atop one another and surrender your safety to strangers. 204 W 77th St at Amsterdam Ave (212-877-2025, pureyoga.com). Sat 3:30--5pm; initiation $200, unlimited monthly membership $145.

Antigravity Yoga at Om Factory
Feel a sense of nostalgia at this sleek but intimate Garment District studio, where Antigravity Yoga may induce childhood flashbacks of monkey bars and swing sets. Expect only a marginally taxing workout as you twist, flip and dangle precariously from silky-smooth hammocks suspended from the ceiling. Experiment with inverted maneuvers like "the mosquito," "vampire pose" and "cannonball," in which you hug your knees to your chest and swing upside down in deep arcs. You'll also practice some of the classics, like a modified, arm-punishing down dog, as you hang from the silks. You'll finish the class with a lengthened spine and a wicked head rush. 265 W 37th St at Eighth Ave, 17th floor (212-616-8662, omfactorynyc.com). Mon noon--1:15pm, 7:30--9pm; Tue--Thu noon--1:15pm, 7--8:30pm; Fri 2--3:15pm, 5--6:30pm, 7--8:30pm; Sat, Sun 6--7:30pm. Drop-in $17, unlimited monthly membership $165.

Rock Star Yoga at David Barton Gym
This high-energy class aims to get your heart racing by following a traditional vinyasa flow. You won't be expected to pull off any Mick Jagger--esque high kicks, but you will feel like you're performing at a show. That's thanks to the studio's gothic, exuberant atmosphere—featuring midnight-purple walls, a studio lit with at least 200 candles and skull-penetrating rock music. The result is that each warrior-one stance feels more like a declaration of your Ozzy awesomeness than a Zen-centering yoga position—even though it accomplishes both. Bring your game face, because this intermediate class is considerably demanding. 4 Astor Pl between Broadway and Lafayette St (212-505-6800, davidbartongym.com). Sat 5:30--6:45pm; unlimited monthly membership $125.

Zenergy at Reebok Sports Club/NY
Familiar positions are reimagined in this open-level, hot-blooded practice, with a vinyasa flow and Top 40 hits at its core: Utkatasana (chair pose), typically a slow-burning static position, becomes a glute- and quad-busting squat jump, and warrior two progresses to a series of lunges followed by the restorative triangle pose. Don't be afraid if you can't keep the rhythm during some of the more aerobic segments when it takes as much coordination as strength to keep up the pace, others in the class can't either. 160 Columbus Ave between 67th and 68th Sts (212-362-6800, mpsportsclub.com). Mon 11:15am--noon, Fri 7--8am, Sat 9:30--10:30am; unlimited monthly membership $209--$219 plus initiation fee.

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