Energetic yoga classes

Want to see results? Then take these challenging classes.

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  • Photograph: Joel FItzpatrick

    Kula Flow at Kula Yoga Project

    Kula Flow at Kula Yoga Project

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Flight School at Pure Yoga East

    Flight School at Pure Yoga East

  • Photograph: Gina de la Chesnaye

    Earth Yoga

    Earth Yoga

  • Photograph: Dan Forer

    Power Vinyasa at David Barton Gym

    Power Vinyasa at David Barton Gym

Photograph: Joel FItzpatrick

Kula Flow at Kula Yoga Project

Kula Flow at Kula Yoga Project

Kula Flow at Kula Yoga Project
Nikki Vilella, one of NYC's most prominent teachers, presents smart sequences (like a series of shoulder- and hip-opening moves culminating in an intense back bend) and deep physical adjustments (she instructs with her hands as much as her words) to a packed studio of hardworking yogis. Attend regularly to improve endurance—this long class incorporates lots of arm-toning, push-up--like chaturangas, and plenty of leg-strengthening standing poses and balances. And since Vilella's a stickler for alignment, you're sure to get the maximum benefit from each position. 28 Warren St between Broadway and Church St, fourth floor (212-945-4460, kulayoga.com). Sun noon--1:45pm; $18.—Megan Gendell

Flight School at Pure Yoga East
Attracted to the thrill of going upside down, whether it's on your hands, shoulders, head or forearms? Then take this monthly workshop to move your practice to the next level—or at least make your headstand less wobbly. You'll more than likely topple over during this challenging class, but instructor Raghunath's lively quips and funny stories create a friendly, supportive atmosphere, so you won't feel self-conscious. You will need a strong, established yoga practice to fully enjoy the class, which builds transitions of inversions and hops into the traditional vinyasa sequence. The best part? Doing headstands in the dark. 203 E 86th St between Second and Third Aves (212-360-1888, pureyoga.com). Sat 4--6pm; members $35, nonmembers $45. Monthly membership $145, free taster classes.—Sophie Harris

Open at ISHTA Yoga
The genial vibe in this class belies a challenging series of ab-focused asanas that will strengthen your midsection. Teacher Cassandra Ferland asks students not to compare their performance with past experiences, since this session really tests your body's limits. While ISHTA is a unique form of yoga that blends postures, meditation and alternative medicine, Open sticks to straightforward moves found at classes throughout the city with no added dogma, and the students are mellow and down-to-earth. 56 E 11th St between Broadway and University Pl (212-598-4800, ishtayoga.com). Sun 4--5:10pm; $22.—MG

Intermediate/advanced at the Shala
With a quiet voice and gentle demeanor, instructor Timothy Lynch leads a class based on the Ashtanga sequence, a codified form of athletic yoga. (It is said to have been originally designed to exhaust hyperactive teenage boys.) Lynch sticks to basic poses, with no twisted-up arm balances or added push-ups, but even a basic sun salutation becomes surprisingly intense when you're holding each down dog for five breaths. It's a meditative atmosphere that never slips into gym-class territory. 815 Broadway between 11th and 12th Sts (212-979-9988, theshala.com). Sat 8:30--9:45am; $19.—MG

Figure 4 at Pure Yoga West
Sporting a wireless headpiece to call out instructions over booming pop hits from Rihanna and Katy Perry, Kate Albarelli's high-powered fusion of ballet and yoga is more akin to an intense aerobic workout than either of the classical practices that inspire it. The barre-based class incorporates moves such as plies, crunches, kickbacks, curls, squats and lunges, and also uses free weights and pilates to target arms, abs, glutes and thighs. The class is already designed to push you and yield results, so don't try to be a badass and take a five-pound hand weight; opt for a three-pounder at most. You'll thank us later. 204 W 77th St at Amsterdam Ave (212-877-2025, pureyoga.com). Various times, see website for details. Members only, Figure 4 + yoga membership $245.—Jessica Mahler

Open-level class at Jivamukti
Bubbly teacher Rima Rabbath leads a challenging, sweaty, fun and exhilarating afternoon class at this popular yoga school. Situated just off Union Square, Jivamukti is big and fancy, with its own boutique and sumptuous vegan caf, but also deeply committed to the spiritual values of the practice. Rabbath opens her session with a talk on yogic philosophy, followed by chanting, before beginning a vigorous Jivamukti-style flow comprising a fairly advanced sequence of standing poses, twists, balances, back and forward bends and inversions, set to an uplifting mix of indie rock, folk, soul and world beats. 841 Broadway between 13th and 14th Sts, second floor (212-353-0214, jivamuktiyoga.com). Fri 4--5:30pm; $20.—SH

Prana at Greenhouse Holistic
Developed in the '90s at the New York Open Center, this homegrown style of yoga combines poses with chanting; as you move, you vocalize the sound associated with a specific part of the body in order to get energy moving around that center (or chakra). Julianna Takacs leads this class with a mix of seriousness and levity, taking students through an open-level (read: not for absolute beginners), vinyasa-style flow, including warrior poses, balances, back and forward bends, and inversions. Physically, it's exhilarating to be able to use your voice while you're in a pose, and it clears the mind brilliantly. It also helps when the going gets tough: Using a mantra can divert your mind from any discomfort so you can hold a shape for longer. You'll leave the studio thoroughly energized—just in time for Monday. 88 Roebling St at N 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-599-3113, greenhouseholistic.com). Sun 6:30--8pm; $17.—SH

Burn and Release at Earth Yoga
Students new to yoga will get a workout even without trying the advanced poses that energetic, athletic instructor Julie Lyke offers as options. There are plenty of push-ups and ab work that everybody can do, and the class is taught in a studio heated to approximately 85 degrees to help release excess tension and maximize caloric burn. Feeling tired? Challenging poses are introduced with the get-out clause: "if that's fun for you." If handstands and arm balances are fun for you, you'll have more chances then usual to show them off (and work on your shoulder muscles) in this fast-moving session. 328 E 61st St between First and Second Aves, first floor (212-486-4111, earthyoganyc.com). Sun 10--11:15am; $25.—MG

Hour of Power at Prana Power Yoga
Energize yourself for the day ahead with this early-morning class. Though it's challenging, instructors keep students moving through enough poses to make them forget they're stuck in a 97-degree room for an entire hour. Take our advice and request two towels at the front desk; you'll be dripping by your third plank pose. 862 Broadway at 17th St, second floor (212-460-9642, pranapoweryoga.com). Mon--Fri 6:45--7:45am, Sat 8:45--9:45am; $18.—Alex Schechter

Power Vinyasa at David Barton Gym
This class is a vigorous yoga workout focussed on arm balances and inversions. As anyone who has attempted crow pose knows, holding your own weight can be challenging. Luckily, the fast pace of this intermediate-level class ensures you won't have to hold the poses for more than three to five breaths. 4 Astor Pl between Broadway and Lafayette St (212-505-6800, davidbartongym.com). Tue, Thu 8--9:15pm; Wed 6:30--8pm; Sat 1--2:30pm, 5:30--6:45pm. Day pass $50, membership $133.—AS

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