Vinyasa yoga

A series of poses done in sync with the breath, a vinyasa practice (the most common variety of yoga in NYC studios) moves relatively quickly, giving you a mild cardio workout and muscle burn, too.

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Area Yoga
(320 Court St at Sackett St, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; 718-797-3699, areayogabrooklyn.com). Single class $10, packages available.
Type of yoga offered: Vinyasa
Name of class: Basic
Length: 70 minutes

Area Yoga
(320 Court St at Sackett St, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; 718-797-3699, areayogabrooklyn.com). Single class $10, packages available.
Type of yoga offered: Vinyasa
Name of class: Basic
Length: 70 minutes
What to expect: The session begins with sun salutations and moves through what's essentially Yoga 101 (downward-facing dog, cobra and the like) at a brisk pace.
Level: Some experience helps.
The verdict: Though it's billed as a basic class, I found this to be quite challenging. Much of the practice focuses on basic positions, which are held for several breaths at a time—making them all the more difficult. (You can do downward-facing dog only so many times before your wrists start to hurt like hell.) The instructor, Tina, offered modifications for some of the poses, and the experience was ultimately beneficial; but I'm not sure that the muscle soreness, which left me unable to raise my arms the next day, was worth it. True beginners may want to stay away.—Amy Plitt

Atmananda Yoga
(324 Lafayette St between Bleecker and E Houston Sts, seventh floor; 212-625-1511, =). Single class $16, packages available.
Type of yoga offered: Vinyasa
Name of class: Level 1-2-3 (Beginner)
Length: One hour
What to expect: Poses move at a steady clip; the teacher circulates and corrects form.
Level: Some experience helps.
The verdict: Atmananda has developed a yoga sequence consisting of poses for various levels of ability, from 1 to 7 (a guide for each level, along with instructions, will be available as an iPhone app). The 1-2-3 class I took was small (only four of us), but as a beginner, I did not feel any pressure to keep up with other students; the mood was very supportive and noncompetitive. We moved through a series of poses with modifications for less advanced students. You won't break a sweat, but it was challenging, with a focus on stretching, balance and strengthening—a great workout for my arms, shoulders, back and core.—Samantha Campbell

Bamboomoves
(107-40 Queens Blvd between 70th Rd and 71st Ave, second floor, Forest Hills, Queens; 718-263-0788, bamboomobesyoga.com) * (3045 Buhre Ave at Westchester Ave, Bronx; 347-281-9700, bamboomovesyoga.com) Single class $20, packages available.
Types of yoga offered: Hatha and vinyasa
Name of class: Level I Yoga
Length: 75 minutes
What to expect: A so-called beginners' class that's really designed for people who know what they're doing; you move through the postures rapidly.
Level: Some experience helps.
The verdict: Following a collective om, the class of roughly 20 people moved from pose to pose with ease. Instructions were delivered quickly, leaving less experienced students flailing behind the rows of elastic-bodied experts. After each movement, the instructor pranced around, adjusting hips, shoulders and toes to assure that each person was aligned correctly. I felt like an outsider breaking into a forbidden cult: What started with simple middle-school-gym-class stretching session soon turned into a barrage of foreign commands that meant nothing to me. Ultimately, I was able to cobble together some poses based on what others around me were doing. And though it was shameful standing near a 50-year-old man with better flexibility and stamina than I have, I did enjoy breaking free of my rounded shoulders and stiff neck, for a few fleeting moments.—Anna Brand

Bend and Bloom Yoga
(708 Sackett St between Fourth and Fifth Aves; 347-987-3162, bendandbloom.com). Single class $14--$18, packages available.
Types of yoga offered: Vinyasa, forrest, prenatal, postnatal
Name of class: Detox Yoga (this is a vinyasa class with extra attention to poses that detoxify for post-holiday relief; the next one is Friday 1 12:30--2pm)
Length: 90 minutes
What to expect: A physically challenging series, practiced at a quick pace and repeated three or four times. Each repetition takes the series deeper into positions focused on stretching and twisting.
Level: Some experience helps.
The verdict: The class was the perfect challenge for a detox—I wanted to die in the middle of it, but I was still able to follow the series. The studio draws a lot of experienced yogis, who provided good examples of proper form on more difficult positions. It was also inspiring to see them take the series to its fullest extent in complicated balance poses, headstands and other impressive configurations, which made me want to take my practice more seriously.—Noelle Stout

Brooklyn Yogini
(Body and Mind Builders, 78 Reade St between Broadway and Church; 212-587-1099, brooklynyogini.com) * (Yoga People, 160 Montague St between Clinton and Henry Sts, second floor, Brooklyn Heights; 718-522-3113). Single class $15, packages available.
Types of yoga offered: The Brooklyn Yogini, Julia Haramis, teaches vinyasa, incorporating some anusara techniques. She also teaches "Core Yoga," which uses the vinyasa poses to strengthen core muscles. Haramis leads both individual sessions (she'll even come to your apartment or office) and weekly group classes.
Name of class: Lunchtime Open Level Vinyasa
Length: One hour
What to expect: The only chanting happened during the breathing exercises at the start and end of class (exhaling with "om"). The first few poses were held a little longer to stretch muscles. Then the poses began to flow into sequences that were repeated a couple of times each (right and left, etc.), and usually the last pose was held for a little while. There were no dogmatic speeches. Haramis explained each pose (discussing placement of feet, hands, knees and other parts) as we went through each pose/sequence the first time, and then she walked around the class to correct form. She also told funny, related anecdotes while we were holding poses, making everything very informal and encouraging. Plus, the background music was very low-key.
Level: Yoga newbies can do it.
The verdict: This small, mellow class is great for clueless beginners. Initially I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up, but Haramis was very clear and supportive in explaining each pose, and we were able to move at our own pace. The other students (only four of them) were more advanced, but Haramis structured the class so that everyone was challenged. It's an awesome way to spend your lunch break, and I left the studio feeling energized.—Moira Brazier

Deer Stop
(455 Grand St between Borinquen Pl and Keap St, No. 3, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; thisiswherethedeerstop.org). Single class $15, packages available. Type of yoga offered: Vinyasa
Name of class: Vinyasa Open
Length: 90 minutes
What to expect: The well-paced class flows fluidly from one pose to the next.
Level: Some experience helps.
The verdict: Owner Julia Frodahl's instruction is gentle and encouraging—which distracts from the fact that her class is rigorous and challenging: You will break a sweat before moving into forward bends and inversions, then you'll cool down and sink into a most welcome final savasana. The studio is an intimate loft space a few blocks from the Lorimer St--Metropolitan Ave stop of the L train, ideal for a mindful practice: The lighting is warm and dim, music is low-key and eclectic. Frodahl is an attentive instructor, making subtle adjustments that bring more precision to each individual's practice—rotating the upper arms while in downward dog, pulling fingertips to stretch a tad farther before moving into triangle. Bonus: At the beginning of class, Frodahl asks for pose requests, and tailors the session to accommodate.—Amanda Meffert

Exhale
(980 Madison Ave at 77th St, 212-561-6400, exhalespa.com) * (18 Ninth Ave at 13th St, 212 660 6733) * (150 Central Park South between Sixth and Seventh Aves, 212-249-3000) * (68--70 Spring St between Crosby and Lafayette Sts, 212-249-3000). Single class $21, packages available.
Types of yoga offered: Vinyasa and yin (also core energy flow)
Name of class: Yoga—Level 1 and 2
Length: 75 minutes
What to expect: Flowing poses, including standing poses, balances, forward and back bends, twists and basic inversions
Level: Some experience helps.
The verdict: Exhale has five high-end setups in Manhattan, offering spa treatments, boutique gift shops, core workouts and yoga; the studios are accordingly posh and candlelit. My impressively muscular teacher was perky and helpful, and gently assisted harder poses, even giving pupils a little hug at the end of the class. But the music was a little on the cheesy side; can one really integrate yogic practice with '70s soft rock?—Sophie Harris

The Giving Tree Yoga Studio
(22-56 31st St between Ditmars Blvd and 23rd Ave, Astoria, Queens; 718-728-0110, thegivingtreeyogastudio.com). Single classes $10--$17, packages available.
Type of yoga offered: Vinyasa, hatha, ashtanga, kundalini, Iyengar and restorative
Name of class: Vinyasa
Length: 90 minutes
What to expect: The class started with simple stretches and breathing, and the poses became more challenging as we warmed into it. Co-owner Anne-Margaret Redding-Wood moved through the room correcting form as needed and encouraging everyone through the more difficult moments.
Level: Yoga newbies can do it.
The verdict: The studio has a real neighborhoody, community feel to it, and this class completely reflected that. For one thing, the class began with Redding-Wood reciting an inspirational quote, and then having us introduce ourselves and share something that we're really good at. She shared that she's a good motivator, and she wasn't wrong. Each student was given individual advice and encouragement, which would normally make me want to slink my anxious, wobbly beginner form right out the back entrance, but everyone was so friendly and Redding-Wood's adjustments were so helpful that I welcomed the attention. The exercises varied from relaxing stretches to strenuous pose-holding, and alternatives were given for the more difficult moves if they were beyond our skill level. I left the class exhausted but somehow refreshed, and more than a little proud of myself for (sort of) nailing that headstand. Afterward, I even treated myself to the studio's massage services, and I'm not kidding when I say it's the best massage I've ever had. It was full-body deep-tissue, and co-owner and head massage therapist Anthony Wood totally personalized it to deal with my recent cold, working specifically on my lung triggers.—Carly Guarino

Go Yoga
(112 North 6th St between Berry St and Wythe Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-486-5602, goyoga.ws). Single class $17, packages available.
Types of yoga offered: Vinyasa, plus a creative interpretation of different schools.
Name of class: Basics with Joelle Hann
Length: 90 minutes
What to expect: A brisk yet beginner-friendly session, capped off with a Maya Angelou poem and a group om
Level: Yoga newbies can do it.
The verdict: Joelle Hann used the dimmable lighting and music to good effect, controlling the mood of the room. She also watches over her students with a sharp eye, supplying blocks and straps and correcting alignment. You'll sweat during the more active part of the class, but you'll leave feeling limber and relaxed, rather than fatigued.—Jonathan Shannon

Greenhouse Holistic
(88 Roebling St at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-599-3113) * (783 Driggs Ave at South 4th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-384-9454) * (445 Grand St at Keap St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn). Single class $15, packages available.
Types of yoga offered: Vinyasa, anusara, ashtanga, Iyengar, Jivamukti, hatha, prana, prenatal and restorative (also, belly dancing, Pilates, core integration and tai chi)
Name of class: Vinyasa-Basic
Length: 90 minutes
What to expect: Poses are linked in a flowing vinyasa style, but you go slowly in this basics class. Includes standing poses, balances, forward and back bends, twists and basic inversions, plus teaching of "mindfulness."
Level: Yoga newbies can do it.
The verdict: There's no luxury-gift-boutique nonsense at Greenhouse's three Williamsburg studios—just great, inspiring yoga practice. The spaces are light and welcoming, and the teachers helpful and sweet, assisting with poses as necessary. There's a bit of chanting in the basics classes, and your instructor might talk a little about the principles of yoga—but by the end, you'll feel beautifully worked out. Background music is subtle and restful; students tend to be young and hot.—Sophie Harris

 

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