Serenity in Midtown East
Amid the fast pace of Midtown East are a number of yoga classes where you can slow down (or for those who prefer power yoga, rev up) and restore body and mind. In addition to full-service gyms, you will find boutique studios that allow you to gain flexibility, perfect your asanas, and perhaps most important, lose yourself in the flow.
1109 Second Avenue (between 58th and 59th Streets)
Among this gym’s classes, which range from boxing to cycling to Zumba, are several yoga offerings. These include Vinyasa yoga, also known as flow yoga, in which flowing movements and synchronized breathing link various asanas, or postures. Also available is hot Vinyasa, in a room heated high enough to make you sweat before you even roll out your mat. Another way to work up a sweat is via the more intense power yoga classes. High-flyers will want to try aerial yoga, where you are suspended above the floor in a sort of stretchy hammock that better enables you to safely achieve and sustain postures and moves—including fun flips and headstands—you could not do on a mat. After your session you can pamper your muscles in Crunch’s sauna or steam room.
420 Lexington Avenue (between 43rd and 44th Streets)
10 East 53rd Street (between Madison and Fifth Avenues)
250 East 54th Street (between Second and Third Avenues)
All three Midtown East branches of Equinox include a spacious yoga studio set off from the cardio machines, cycling studio, and other, noisier sections of the gym. Vinyasa and the more strenuous power yoga are staples at all three. At Lexington Avenue you can also take Iyengar yoga, in which the asanas are held longer and proper alignment is a priority. The yin yoga sessions at 54th Street also emphasize long holds and slow movements to encourage meditation and restoration. For some of its Vinyasa and power yoga sessions, the 53rd Street gym cranks up the heat in the studio to as high as 85 degrees.
322 East 39th Street (between First and Second Avenues)
The weekday Sunrise Yoga classes at mang’Oh Yoga tend to be energetic—perfect for getting you ready for a busy day—while relaxation is the goal of the evening Candlelight Yoga sessions. In between, this boutique studio offers slower-paced classes that focus on alignment, fast-paced classes that use weights, rollers, and other props to strengthen your core, and midday pick-me-up sessions, among others. The weekend basics class is tailor-made for yoga newbies, while Stretch/Meditation is one of several sessions ideal for just about everyone. Special workshops, such as Yoga Practices for Hormonal Balancing on September 14, are held every month or so.
132 East 45th Street (between Third and Lexington Avenues)
20 East 50th Street (between Madison and Fifth Avenues)
Vinyasa yoga is taught several days a week at New York Health & Racquet’s 45th Street and 50th Street studios. In addition, 45th Street offers Alignment Yoga, which uses blocks and straps; Gentle Yoga at 50th Street is ideal for beginners. Both facilities also host numerous other classes and include saltwater swimming pools, saunas, whirlpools, and steam rooms, plus of course a gamut of machines and weights.
227 East 24th Street (between Second and Third Avenues)
Reflections’ class offering includes a training program for would-be yoga instructors. Image: Reflections Yoga
Whether you are attracted to yoga as a means of meditation or a way to improve your flexibility and overall fitness, you will likely find an ideal class at Reflections. Along with slow-paced yin yoga and several levels of flow yoga, there are special classes for newbies, seniors, and those recovering from injuries, as well as for those who hope to become yoga instructors themselves. Other specialties include guided meditation sessions and Deep Stretch and Tone, conducted in a moderately heated room infused with a dash of eucalyptus.
226 East 54th Street (between Second and Third Avenues), Seventh Floor
Yoga Spa offers numerous variations of Vinyasa yoga: Energizing Vinyasa Flow, Vinyasa Flow + Restorative, Flow + Deep Stretch, Gentle Flow + Restorative with Meditation. The schedule includes a weekly class for expectant mothers and one for kids ages five to eight. Yoga, though, is only part of the offering. Spa services include a variety of massages, facials, and full-body salt scrubs. You can purchase special packages that combine classes and spa services for the ultimate in pampering body and soul.
344 East 59th Street (between First and Second Avenues)
Weather permitting, Yo Yoga! holds a number of its classes, including open-level and basic Vinyasa, on its rooftop deck, which is padded with mats and strewn with string lights to create a properly serene ambience. The indoor studio, with its white-painted brick walls, is just as peaceful; here you can partake of Vinyasa sessions for a variety of levels, as well as Stretch & Restore classes designed to boost flexibility and slower-paced Candle-Lit Restorative Yoga.