Fri Dec 18 2009
Big Apple Power Yoga
(320 W 37th St between Eighth and Ninth Aves, suite 10D; 212-868-9642, bigapplepoweryoga.com). Single class $20, packages available.
Type of yoga offered: Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga
Name of class: All Levels
Length: 90 minutes
What to expect: The class begins with some light group chanting and breathing, then quickly moves into a series of brisk, flowing movements that build in difficulty. All of this takes place in a room heated to a balmy 90 degrees.
Level: Yoga newbies can do it.
The verdict: As the only studio in the tristate area that specializes in the Baptiste Power Vinyasa strain of yoga, BAPY upholds the challenging, fitness-based style’s philosophy that any schmo can adapt its fluid poses to his or her body’s ability, offering only all-levels classes. Indeed, instructor and founder Nanci Muriello makes a special effort to accommodate newbies and regulars alike, introducing each pose by its proper name before launching into a step-by-step explanation in layman’s terms; she also encourages beginners to modify moves using the support of foam blocks and knees. There is a beginner’s hurdle, however: It can be difficult to concentrate on learning the steps when you’re focusing on the sweat bead that just dripped onto your eyeball in downward dog. Granted, the room isn’t as toasty as it is in Bikram yoga, but you’ll still want to wear light, tight clothing you don’t care about—it will be soaked by the time you’re done. Ickiness aside, the warmth helps loosen up muscles (I hardly had any soreness the next day) and detox your body. You just have to be able to see past the perspiration.—Cristina Velocci
(442 9th St at Seventh Ave, Park Slope, Brooklyn; bodhisattvayoga.com, 718-499-9642). Single class $16, packages availableTypes of yoga offered: Vinyasa and Bodhisattva’s own special brand called Holistic Fitness, along with Pilates
Name of class: Holistic Fitness
Length: 75 minutes
What to expect: About 50 minutes of traditional vinyasa yoga, with some less traditional positions inspired by Pilates and other fitness techniques. After the mat work, the class becomes sort of like a personal training session, mixing elements of kickboxing and plyometrics.
Level: Yoga newbies can do it.
The verdict: Held in a Brooklyn brownstone (the practice room features a fireplace and ornate crown molding—a beautiful focal point during relaxation), the classes are intimate, with a lot of personal attention. The surprising mix of fitness programs felt strange, but in a good way—a much needed surprise in my regular workout routine.—Noelle Stout
The Breathing Project
(15 W 26th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, tenth floor; 212-979-9642, breathingproject.org). Single class $12--$16, packages available.
Types of yoga offered: MELT, Vajra, relaxing, Lunch Time Yoga Flow
Name of class: MELT
Length: One hour
What to expect: This small class, which usually has no more than seven participants, focuses on the connective tissue that stabilizes your body. We used specialized rollers and balls to slowly move through poses that zeroed in on different parts of our anatomy.
Level: Yoga newbies welcome
The verdict: MELT is like self-massage: Your whole body gets stretched and plied, from the balls of the feet all the way up the spine to the neck. During each segment, instructor Edya Kalev explains what to do and how it should feel. There were no crazy-hard poses, but getting rolled is challenging in itself when you sit tensely at a desk for ten hours every day. While nothing was particularly strenuous—and the slow pace helped me keep up with more experienced MELTers—at the end of class I was exhausted, as though I’d had a major workout. A few hours later, after rehydrating and eating something, I was loose-limbed and centered.—Lucy Quintanilla
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Winter fitness guide
100 yoga and fitness classes reviewed and profiles of the city's best personal trainers.