New York is a city full of people who are always rushing around– which is exactly why it also has some of the best yoga studios in the country. (People need a place to relax, after all.) Yoga is not only many New Yorkers’ workout of choice, but it’s something of a religion here. Whether you’re looking for a small studio, a spiritual center, or a boutique yoga club, there’s something of a size and scale for everyone, no matter what it is that you’re looking for. Below, we spotlight some of the best yoga studios in NYC– specifically, the best yoga in Manhattan. When you’re looking for a good flow, these are the places to go.
Jivamukti Yoga (Union Square)
Jivamukti Yoga is, by all accounts, a staple in the New York yoga community. The Union Square outpost was founded in the 1980s by yoga legends Sharon Gannon and David Life, and is now considered one of the best yoga studios in Manhattan. Not only does Jivamukti offer a robust roster of classes with a wide variety of very popular local and international teachers, but they also have a stellar cafe and a lovely shop full of yoga clothing, jewelry, natural skincare items, spiritual books, and more. The central location and dedicated following of yogis is just a plus.
Swing by for a mid-morning vinyasa flow and stay for vegan lunch at JivamukTea Café (expect delicious vegetable-filled buddha bowls, soups, salads, wraps, smoothies, and speciality items like vegan crab cake sandwiches or a maple tempeh BLT). If you prefer an evening class, go for the rush hour Spiritual Warrior class, a more advanced practice with inversions. Restorative yin yoga in a slightly warmed classroom is also available later in the evening.
SkyTing Yoga (TriBeCa + Chinatown)
SkyTing Yoga is a lovely little hidden gem in TriBeCa– aka the “Triangle Below Canal”– where a mostly local group of dedicated yogi’s practice. Same for the Chinatown location. The chic, greenery-filled loft spaces offer great amenities including towels, nice bathrooms and changing rooms, as well as a fridge stocked with beverages. Here, you’ll find unique offerings like katonah yoga as well as yoga nidra and kundalini. By all accounts, this is one of the best yoga studios in New York City for practicing yin yoga.
Bhakti Center (East Village)
The Bhakti Center is cozy little walk-up in the East Village that’s known for its lively Kirtan music influence and popular Hatha-Vinyasa flow. They also offer well-attended 45 minute meditation classes led by master teachers of the Bhakti tradition. At this studio, participatory sound is key– whether you’re chanting OM at the beginning and end of your yoga practice or doing so throughout a guided meditation. The Bhakti Center School of Kirtan (a style of music that involves the singing of mantras or prayers in a call and response fashion) also convenes here, offering weekly guided classes for those who want to experience this ancient sonic art form on a deeper level.
Humming Puppy (Chelsea)
Humming Puppy tends to fly under the radar in terms of name recognition, but this Australian-born studio has quickly become one of the most unique yoga studios in NYC! What sets Humming Puppy apart is both the aesthetics and the sound. Common spaces are light and airy (see above,) while the shala for yoga practice is dark and dimly lit. A constant ambient purr of singing bowls “hums” in the background of the shala, which was engineered by ARUP (one of the world’s leading acoustic engineers). This humming sound was recorded from singing bowls that were de-tuned to resonate between 7.83 hz and 40 hz, also known as the “Schumann Resonance.” (This range of sound helps yogis relax and deepens their yoga practice.)
Humming Puppy’s signature Unified Hum class is open to all levels of experience, a great place for people who already have a yoga practice and want to feel comfortably challenged. If you’re new to yoga, start with a Foundation Hum class. Or try the “slow flow” of a Mellow Hum or advanced Dynamic Hum class. Either way, be sure to grab a cup of the studio’s homemade tea afterward.
Kula Yoga (TriBeCa + SoHo)
Kula Yoga is another city favorite studio with multiple locations, each with their own unique vibe and patronage. Teachers at Kula offer a very integral yoga practice with unique offerings. Their 60-minute “Kula Hour” class features live music, and their “Banded Kula Flow” incorporates resistance bands. We love their intimate, unfussy studios that incorporate hardwood floors, reclaimed wood, and natural light; each of them is like a vintage New York City loft at it’s finest. At Kula’s Williamsburg, Brooklyn location (not listed above only because this guide is specific to Manhattan,) the adjoining Shanti Shack café serves excellent vegetarian smoothies, salads, and baked goods. Take a class, stay for lunch, and then go walk around the Williamsburg waterfront. On a sunny day, there’s nothing better.
Yoga To The People (St. Marks, Chelsea, Midtown, Upper West)
Easily the most affordable yoga in town, Yoga to the People has multiple locations in New York City, but the St. Marks studio is really where the magic happens. Not only does YTTP offer challenging-but-accessible yoga in the heart of beatnik St. Marks, but it’s mission is to make yoga accessible for everyone. As a result, classes are always packed with young students, and you can feel the vibrance and enthusiasm they bring.
“There will be no correct clothes / There will be no proper payment / There will be no right answers/ No glorified teachers / No ego no script no pedestals/ No you’re not good enough or rich enough / This yoga is for everyone…”
^ So goes the beginning of the studio’s mantra. We love YTTP’s 60 minute Power Vinyasa Flow Yoga (it’s some of the best and most rigorous yoga in NYC!). We also love the fact that each class is only $10 (suggested donation). On Sundays, the studio offers lovely candlelit yoga, as well. There is also no booking ahead of time– just show up 15 minutes before class, and get ready to flow!
Kundalini Yoga East (Union Square)
Kundalini Yoga is hard to find, but New York’s Kundalini Yoga East gurdwara has been serving the city for over 30 years. According to the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini yoga is a system of breath and meditation exercises that calm the body and stimulate the mind. It is one of the more “chill” forms of yoga, and generally more strenuous on the mind than the body. Classes last for 90 minutes and take place in a carpeted studio, so yogis don’t require mats (though they are available for rental, should you want one). Expect to chant and practice “breath of fire” for many minutes on end– but you probably won’t ever do a single downward dog.
A full kundalini practice includes a mentally rigorous combination of postures (asanas), sound (mantra), breath (pranayam) and meditation. The goal is to improve flexibility through what is often a very gentle practice. As a result, Kundalini is often classified as one of the most overtly “spiritual” forms of yoga. At Kundalini Yoga East, all classes begin with the opening chant, “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo”. This means, “We call upon the teacher within, who takes us from darkness to light”. Classes conclude with the chant, “Sat Nam!” which means “I am Truth!”
Modo Yoga (Greenwich Village + The James SoHo Rooftop)
Modo Yoga NYC came to the city from Montreal, and was actually co-founded by Sara Neufeld from the band Arcade Fire. Modo’s flagship location in the West Village offers vinyasa flow, core flow, restorative, and yang yin yoga classes in gently heated facilities. Showers and towels are available. Eventually, Modo became so popular that they opened a second location in Williamsburg (Brooklyn).
In the summer, Modo also offers yoga on the rooftop of the James Hotel in SoHo— one of Manhattan’s best yoga collaborations (along with the annual Solstice event in Times Square). Here, you can enjoy sweeping 360 degree views of lower Manhattan by the pool while you get your stretch on. If you want a unique New York City experience, what could be better? Modo Yoga also offers $10 Modo Love and Karma classes each week, from which all funds go to charity.
Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York (Chelsea)
The Iyengar Yoga Institute is grounding, open, airy, environment. Much has been written about the history of Iyengar yoga, which was developed by B K S Iyengar during his 75 years of teaching Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. In contrast to Vinyasa-style yoga (which is more flow-oriented,) Iyengar yoga has a strong emphasis on stamina, balance, concentration, and flexibility.
At the Iyengar Yoga Institute in New York, skilled teachers guide participants through poses with rigor and intention; this is not a “gym” yoga studio that blasts pop music. Instead, through the twin pillars of mindfulness and breath, teachers introduce a very grounding practice that honors the yogic tradition as it was practiced in India, even as it continues to evolve here in the United States. IYI offers some of the best yoga in NYC, and they also offer workshops and teacher trainings for those who want to dive deeper into the practice.
Y7 Studio (So Many Locations!)
Y7 Studio is the “Soul Cycle” of New York City yoga studios. This is the yoga chain that made “hip hop yoga” famous. As a result, it has a dedicated following in the city that invented hip hop. Don your “Brooklyn, We Flow Hard” T-shirts and saddle up for some vigorous boutique yoga with a reliably excellent soundtrack. With locations in Bryant Park, East Village, Flatiron, Meatpacking, Soho, TriBeCa, Union Square, Upper East Side, Midtown, and Williamsburg, there are many Y7 locations to choose from. The vibe, however, is consistent.
All Y7 studios are heated to 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit using infrared technology, which encourages blood circulation. Teachers lead classes in semi-dark, candlelit rooms, with three distinct phases (warm up, core vinyasa flows, and relaxing cool down). Check out their signature WeFlowHard® vinyasa for the quintessential Y7 experience and some of the best yoga in Manhattan.
Pure Yoga (Upper East Side + Upper West Side)
Pure Yoga is the Rolls Royce of yoga studios in NYC. These sleek, spacious studios offer a mix of regular and hot yoga, as well as Figure 4 Barre classes. They also have optional private yoga classes with one-on-one instructors on site. Pure Yoga East offers everything from Anusara yoga to meditation classes, with an emphasis on functional anatomy. If you’re looking for a trendy yoga experience, this is the place to go.
At Pure Yoga West– the partner studio on the other side of Central Park— be sure to check out Hot Vinyasa classes with fan favorite Matthew Lombardo, who is very funny and has excellent taste in background music (your correspondent has been going to his classes for years). Be advised that Pure Yoga is a membership studio. For those who want to get a taste for the experience, they offer complimentary trial classes.
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