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Relaxing yoga classes

Let the stress melt away at these calming, meditative sessions.

 (Photograph: Matthu Placek)
Photograph: Matthu Placek

Iyengar Yoga Institute

 (Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson)
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Candlelight Flow at Greenhouse Holistic


Hari NYC

 (Photograph: Amy Kalyn Sims)
Photograph: Amy Kalyn Sims

Slow Jam with DJ at Laughing Lotus


Reflections Yoga

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Pranayama at the Iyengar Yoga Institute

This branch of yoga involves focusing completely on your breath, and whether it's practiced sitting or lying down, the intention is to balance the mind and the emotions. Brooke Myers, a teacher with three decades of experience, guides a class of about 20 through a gently paced sequence of different breathing techniques, such as imagining the scent of a wonderful fragrance. Although the practice might seem subtle, the result is a clear mind and revitalized body. 212-691-9642, iyengarnyc.org. Wed 5:30–7:30pm; $25.—Sophie Harris

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Candlelight Flow at Greenhouse Holistic

If your weekend has been crazy-exciting or flat-out exhausting, wind down with this supremely relaxing class. In an intimate candlelit studio, teacher Dana Perry begins with a thoughtful, often reassuring talk or reading and a communal Sanskrit chant. The first half of the session moves through a gentle vinyasa-style flow of standing poses, balances, twists and an inversion or two, before seguing into restorative postures that are held longer and incorporate props. Perry's soothing teaching style means the studio is always full—even on a Sunday night—so arrive early. 718-599-3113, greenhouseholistic.com. Sun 7:15pm; $17.—Sophie Harris

The Gong Class at Hari NYC

Referred to as the yoga of awareness, Kundalini yoga focuses on raising individual and group consciousness. Hari Kaur taught alongside Kundalini master Yogi Bajan in India and Mexico for a decade, and her joyful, humorous approach to the practice is mesmerizing and addictive. The Gong class begins with a breathing exercise and segues quickly into a kriya (a combination of poses, mantras, breath work and meditation) chosen to promote a different kind of healing during each session. The class winds down with a 20-minute meditation, punctuated by the chimes of Kaur's gong. You'll open your eyes to the sight of complimentary cookies and tea, and leave feeling completely blissed out. 212-465-0606, harinyc.com. Mon 7pm; $15.—Sharon Steel


Restorative at YogaSole

Before students settle into a series of relaxing poses, anatomy expert Ariel Kiley walks them through a deep-tissue self-massage, accomplished by rolling the upper-back muscles over soft rubber balls. It's agonizing at first, but the release of muscle tension allows you to relax more deeply into the poses that follow. Using imaginative language (students "Machu Picchu" their blankets, stacking them in stair-step fashion) and imagery (they make circles with their knees the size of kiwifruit, then oranges, then cantaloupes), Kiley brings a sense of humor to the serious work of vegging out. 718-541-1382, yogasole.com. Sun 5:45–7pm; $15.—Megan Gendell

Slow Jam with DJ at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center

The graffiti-covered wall, gangsta Ganesh portrait and shimmery disco ball that pimp out one of the rooms at Laughing Lotus make it clear that this isn't your typical yoga studio. Dana Flynn—flanked by two other teachers and a live DJ spinning R&B—encourages her 50-plus students to get funky with hand claps, finger snaps, hip sways and whistling to help loosen their practice. Vinyasas have been edited from the flow of beginner-appropriate poses—though students are encouraged to chaturanga (a push-up-like movement) if they wish. A series of forward bends rounds out the movement section, enhancing a reflective mood before the session closes with meditation. You'll leave Laughing Lotus on a full-body high. 212-414-2903, nyc.laughinglotus.com. Fri 7–8:15pm; $12.—Jessica Mahler

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Hatha Yoga at Sixth Street Community Center

Walk through the community-supported agriculture organization's Organic Soul Caf and into the back room on a Wednesday night to find teacher Steve Prestianni sitting sukasana. After a few minutes of quiet time, the dreadlocked guru starts with plow pose, having students hold it—and every subsequent asana of the two-hour class—for roughly five minutes, releasing into savasana (lying on your back) in between each posture. Remaining in each position for such a long period of time allows practitioners to achieve proper alignment (which Prestianni ensures with lucid yet precise instruction and physical adjustments) and helps to quiet the mind. While the class is suitable for all levels, Prestianni lets more advanced practitioners know when to come into certain poses that may not be appropriate for those with less experience. Be sure to bring your own mat and something comfortable to sit on for the opening and closing mediation, as props are limited here. 212-677-1863, sixthstreetcenter.org. Wed at 7pm; $7.—Jessica Mahler

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East Village

Bare Bones Basics at Reflections Yoga

Newbies and seasoned practitioners alike show up for this intimate beginners class, where the focus is on alignment and posture, and the slow pace lets you really enjoy each stretch. You're essentially doing baby versions of traditional vinyasa poses, but learn how to properly tuck your tail or drop your shoulders and tougher moves will start to fall into place. 212-974-2288, reflectionsyoga.com. Mon 7–8pm, Wed 6:30–7:30pm, Sat 10:45–11:45am. $20.—Alex Schechter

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Midtown West

Restorative at Virayoga Healing Annex

To complete instructor Lorraine Shea's sequence of soothing poses, students use a combination of props (bolsters, blankets, blocks and straps) and gravity to help the body rejuvenate. Whether you're sitting with your legs up on the wall or lying down propped up with blankets, you'll soon feel tight spots, overworked muscles and achy joints start to open up. By the time you emerge from the final savasana, you'll be as good as new. Since the annex space of this studio can only hold five students, it's essential to reserve your spot online. 212-334-9960, virayoga.com. Sun 6–7:30pm; $30.—Alex Schechter

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Restorative at Go Yoga

Williamsburg on a Friday night is not normally the best place to relax, but this small studio offers sanctuary. Director and founder Lilia Mead sets a serene tone by explaining that "the only energy you'll be exerting in this class will be in setting up the props for each pose." Each position uses a different arrangement of bolsters, blocks and blankets to open up areas of the body and dissipate tightness or tension, and students are allowed to exist with their thoughts for long periods of time. Expect to feel good and (hopefully) make peace with yourself. 718-486-5602, goyoga.ws. Fri 8–9:15pm; $20.—Jessica Mahler

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Chill Out Yoga at Mang'Oh

Devotional chants, a introspective soundtrack and teacher Heidi Kristoffer's soothing voice lay the groundwork for a calming atmosphere in this one-room Midtown studio. The lesson is similarly laid-back, with a gentle vinyasa flow, including numerous variations on sun salutations, broken down to basic poses, before graduating to more complex variations. With poses held for three to four breaths when many teachers would hold for five, you may even be surprised when you break a sweat. 212-661-6655, mangohstudio.com. Sat 11:15am–12:15pm; $20.—Jessica Mahler

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Murray Hill