The Examiner, August 23, 2012
TimeOut New York, March 10, 2010
Yoga Sleuth, September 2009
KidCity Blog, August 10, 2009
TimeOut New York, August 6-12, 2009
The Examiner, July 31, 2009
Time Out New York Kids, Jul, 2009
That's fit, June 23, 2009
Yogoer Blog, April 27th, 2009
New York Magazine, December 19, 2008
Los Angeles Times, December 27, 2001
ON Magazine, January/February 2002
Quest Magazine, November 2001
Runners World, December 2001
Elle Magazine, August 2001
ON Magazine, October 2001
Health Magazine, October 2001
New York Daily News, August 2001
Our Town, April 5th issue
New York Yoga offers something for everyone and more
By Cristina Pierce on August 23, 2012
Along with the popularity of yoga also came the overwhelming number of places to choose from to practice in New York City. One studio that stands out among them all and just also happens to have the most appropriate name is New York Yoga. This special place to practice not only offers something for everyone but also played a part in bringing yoga to New York City.
Back in 1999 two long time college friends, Tom Salshutz, an avid practitioner and Alan Ripka, married to a yogi, were living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and together realized an opportunity. They saw the need for a neighborhood yoga studio that would be accessible to all that were interested in the practice. Tom and Alan developed a plan to convert the old Citibank location on York Avenue into the first studio in the area and named it New York Yoga. The Yorkville studio still stands proudly today at 1629 York Avenue and 86th Street. In 2003 Tom and Alan saw another opportunity and opened New York Yoga Hot at 132 East 85th and Lexington; which marked the first hot Vinyasa style studio in New York City.
New York Yoga literally offers something for everyone from prenatal yoga, restorative, all levels of Vinyasa flow, hot yoga and also on demand yoga classes. LeighAnn Montieth, the General Manager of New York Yoga, explains that their online remote class can be taken via the web from anywhere in the world at any time of the day and has over 1000 subscribers and counting. In addition, New York Yoga also has a separate teacher-training annex located on 81th Street to give yoga students studying to become instructors a place to learn and bond together.
New York Yoga holds classes all day into the evening and is open 365 days per year. In addition to everything that this neighborhood studio provides; they also organize periodic special events and workshops. Beginning in September their Yoga Teacher Training will be taking place with one of the original instructors Frank Mauro. He will co-direct the 200-hour training with Michael Gilbert through January 2013. Whether you are interested in becoming a teacher or just want to simply deepen your practice; this program will immerse you into your next journey of yoga.
Relax here: Yoga for your face
By Alex Schechter on March 10th, 2010
When it comes to yoga for the face, Annelise Hagen has written the book. Trained in classical theater and various movement techniques, Hagen decided to focus her practice on cheek, jaw and eye muscle workouts when she saw what regular yoga was capable of doing to the rest of her body. Once she had put together a cohesive sequence of face poses (and once loose-jowled practitioners realized her techniques offered a more sustainable alternative to things like Botox and cosmetic surgery), her reputation as face yoga expert grew and grew.
Hagen is a regular faculty member at New York Yoga (1629 York Ave at 86th St; 212-717-9642, newyorkyoga.com), known mainly for its rigorous series of hot yoga classes, and tonight she will teach an introductory Yoga Face Workshop (6:30-8pm, $25) there.
"This is her specialty," explains manager Rebecca Merritt. "She uses the face as a channel for the rest of the body."You can get a sense of some of the moves in this rather hilarious interview video; we think we've got the hang of the first two, but that third one completely threw us for a loop. So get ready to suck in, puff up, pucker up and squeeze. And don't forget to smile!
Wet Hot Vinyasa with Angel Vasquez
Jim Catalpano for Yoga Sleuth, September, 2009
Some like it hot and Yoga Sleuth is one of them. So, on an already humid Sunday evening, I ventured to the Upper East Side for a flow at New York Yoga’s hot studio.
I entered the practice room to find it already oppressive. The studio is heated to 105 degrees, several degrees more than a standard hot Vinyasa, and the humidity reaches 40 percent.
The red brick wall of this small, rectangular studio is covered in mirrors, giving us a reversed view of not only our practice, but of the large windows overlooking 85th Street. There were 12 of us, and considering the size and temperature of the studio we were at the “comfortable” limit. Just as I thought there was no space left for the instructor, Angel came in and nestled herself in the middle of the first row.
Angel lives up to her name. She is an incredibly compassionate and encouraging teacher who seems determined not only to give us a good workout, but to also keep us safe and focused on the spiritual. Angel followed our three “Oms” with a lovely rendering of the Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu chant. Angel told us that throughout our practice we should try to find a “home base” within ourselves, and that this can be found through proper breathing.
We proceeded through a Sun A, rendered more difficult by the heat but softened by Angel’s gentle encouragement. There was no insistence on staying in the pose, no blocking anyone from leaving the room—just the inspiration to reach our edges while still respecting our bodies and our individual practice. Angel adjusted my triangle, clearly unconcerned about the sweat pouring down my body. I observed a few escapes into child’s pose and took one myself, heeding Angel’s advice to honor ourselves.
The sweat stung my eyes as we moved into standing warrior poses and lunges, but along with the rest of the class, I was undaunted. We pushed ourselves to our respective edges with some lunge twists and let the sweat pour down our faces like rain.
And rain it did, appropriately, as we headed into Savasana. I walked into a fierce thunderstorm as I left the studio, but I welcomed it, seeing it as a reward for challenging myself.
Angel’s class is highly recommended for a terrific mix of physical challenge and spiritual dedication. Caution: drink more water than you think you need, and down a Gatorade after class. In this and in any hot studio, dehydration is inevitable.
Save the Date: FREE Trial Family Yoga Classes
August 10, 2009
New York Yoga is offering these free trial family classes to let NY families check out their studio and methods. (I am just passing on the news, I have never taken one of their classes.)
Family Classes… (Advanced registration is required for all Free Trials)
Prenatal yoga – Weds, 11:00 – 12:30pm and Sat 9:00 – 10:30am
Mommy & Baby yoga – Free trial Weds, Sept 16th at 12:30pm!
Parent & Child yoga – Free trial Mon, Sept 14th at 11:00am!
3-4 Year Olds – Free trial Mon, Sept 14th at 10:00am!
4-6 Year Olds – Free trial Weds, Sept 16th at 3:40pm!
Spas and Sport
The Sweatiest Fitness Classes
By Amy Roberts,
TimeOut New York
August 6-12, 2009
We got wet in gyms all over the city to determine which offer the sweatiest fitness classes.
$23 per class, mat and towel rental extra, packages available.
What if you moved your typical mindful yoga practice of sun salutations, downward dogs and warrior poses into a room heated to 105 degrees with 30 to 40 percent humidity? Mix it up for 90 minutes, and you get astonishingly limber muscles—and so much perspiration, you’ll want to wring yourself out (that is, if the twisting poses hadn’t done it already).
Water consumed: 32 ounces
By Samantha Change,
The Examiner.com- Insider Source for Everything Local
July 31, 2009
Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years, and is a fitness movement that's only increasing in popularity. Thanks to its reputation as an excellent low-impact workout, there are many well regarded yoga studios operating in New York.
On the Upper East Side, there are two excellent yoga studios that offer motivated instructors, well-maintained studios and a pleasant ambiance.
Another popular UES yoga studio is New York Yoga. While this studio is a bit pricier than Bikram, it boasts knowledgeable, caring teachers and good music. Here are some customer reviews:
Lynn S: Teachers are caring, very knowledgable. helpful, and creative. Each teacher develops a personalized sequence, so there is a lot of variety in the types of classes offered. There is also a generous amount of personal attention.
Marie H: New York Yoga, became like a second home to me, and to this day, I don't think I've ever experienced quite the same level of welcome or warmth from any yoga studio.
For more information, see below:
New York Yoga
1629 York Ave.
New York, NY 10028
The best yoga programs for families
Refresh mind and body in a yoga class that welcomes parents and kids. By Jack Crager
If you're like me, you love yoga...in theory more than in practice. After discovering years ago how nicely yoga complements running, I've practiced it off and on. Lately, though, due to stubborn tightness caused by age and pounding the pavement, I've winced through many postures and found myself praying the instructor would end the session early
Then, one day, my seven-year-old daughter bounced into our living room, excited about her yoga class at school (taught by the Urban Yoga Foundation), and she demonstrated a back-bending wheel pose followed by a mind-bending crow! We cranked up a Yoga Kids DVD, and she blithely outstretched me---but also asked for help with the tricky stuff. We seemed to be onto a new game, this one with a healthy twist.
"Kids do yoga naturally," says Shari Vilchez-Blatt, founder of Karma Kids Yoga in Chelsea. "And it can bring the whole family together. If your daughter took up dance, say, you probably wouldn't put on a tutu and dance with the class---but you can do yoga together."
While the kid-yoga trend has been around awhile, an increasing number of studios are offering classes catering to both parent and child, several of which are held outdoors in the summertime. "With kids you try to keep yoga focused but fun,"Vilchez-Blatt points out. "Laughter is a wonderful stress reliever." That spirit lightens up the practice---no more praying for the end---and gives us all hope of learning that crow pose someday. Below are six noteworthy options.
New York Yoga
This spacious Upper East Side studio is weaving youngsters into its diverse lineup, with parent-child classes, private sessions for teens and a number of new family classes slated for fall. Minors are welcome to attend with parents. 1629 York Ave at 86th St (212-717-9642, newyorkyoga.com). Drop-in rate for adults $23, under 18 $13
By Kristen Seymour,
June 23, 2009
If you're a runner and don't practice yoga, you're really missing out. Sure, you have plenty of reasons for not trying yoga -- it's boring, it doesn't get your heart rate up like running, the poses hurt, it just doesn't do much for you. But you know what? It's actually a perfect complement to your running habit, and New York Yoga is putting on a workshop that will teach you everything you need to know.
Jenny Gammello, the instructor teaching the 12-week Yoga for Runners workshop even made me want to do nothing more than to spend an hour doing yoga followed by an eight-mile run. But here's a big surprise -- Jenny was once one of those people who felt like running and yoga just didn't work! "I quit yoga when I started running because my muscles were so tight that classes were just miserable. Then, I quit running for yoga because I felt like I was destroying everything I'd accomplished in my classes when I went for a run!"
So what changed her mind? "Yoga has actually made me a much better runner," she said. For starters, while running is very one-dimensional (all forward), yoga utilizes your whole body and your entire range of motion. "Yoga helps you find the best, most efficient way to move forward, not to mention the fact that it helps runners be more present and more aware of possible injuries."
Aside from the physical benefits, the mental aspect of yoga can greatly improve your run. "For any athlete, it's important to realize the body and mind are one unit, and our mind is really what limits us," said Gammello. Learning to focus on your breath could just get you through those last few miles.
"Taking a deep breath and refocusing, either on that, or the air against your skin, or the feel of the earth gives you that connection to everything around you and helps you achieve the runner's high," she explained. "Our limiting thoughts are really just fear -- fear that we're too slow, or that we can't finish, and yoga helps you overcome those."
The Yoga for Runners workshop, which begins next Wednesday, July 1, will run every Wednesday through October 28 and is designed to help runners gear up for the New York City Marathon. However, people are welcome to drop in ($30) or sign up for six-week sessions ($150).
One of the major benefits to this workshop is that runners will be practicing with other runners and learning how to best modify poses to work for them. For example, Gammello said that in a lunge, runners should keep their feet about six inches wider than normal to accommodate tight hips. Additionally, bending the back knee (normally the back leg is straight) can help that hip open up, which will allow you to straighten the pose.
Gammello realizes not everyone is in New York, and has a couple of suggestions for those who can't make it to her class. "'The Athlete's Guide to Yoga" by Sage Rountree is an amazing reference for any athlete. The author is an endurance runner, and she's an absolute expert on the subject."
She goes on to say that you can create your own running-specific yoga workshop. Start with some Vinyasa or Ashtanga yoga for a few weeks, then find a class with some floorwork in which you hold the poses longer. Then, finish with the restorative yoga.
For more information on Gammello's Yoga for Runner's workshop at New York Yoga, go to the website!
Restorative Yoga with Mia Baer at New York Yoga
April 27th, 2009
Last night I was invited uptown for a little restorative yoga. I've returned to my strong vinyasa classes lately, so I was happy to head for a Sunday night slow-down.
New York Yoga is a well-established studio with two locations: a heated studio on 85th and Lex, and the main studio at 86th and York. The York space is beautiful: simple wood floors and stone columns anchor the two small classrooms, while a winding hallway leads back to spacious locker rooms. Drop-in classes are a top-of-the-line $23, plus $2 mat rental, but the comfort of the space made me feel like it was worth every penny.
As I waited in the hallway for the classroom to open up, I leafed through Judith Lasater's restorative yoga bible: "Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times." One of the preeminent teachers of restorative yoga, Lasater turned to the style after a family member died. She lost the desire for her standard yoga practice, and decided to practice restorative poses for a year, in response to her grief. They helped her accept and recover from her pain and fatigue, and inspired her to teach the style for which she is now well-known. Putting the body in a comfortable position and focusing on the breath triggers the relaxation response (slower/lower heart rate, metabolism, breathing, blood pressure, and brain waves) in as little as five minutes. It's "active relaxation" because the mind is gently focused, and the body is carefully stimulated as well as relaxed.
Mia Baer, the instructor of the evening, studied with Lasater (as well as Alan Finger and Seane Corn). She teaches both vinyasa and restorative yoga. This restorative class was highly recommended by the staff at the studio, and indeed had a good turnout (about 15 students) for a beautiful spring evening. Mia (pronounced MY-a) was friendly, articulate, and just radiant with good health. She got us quickly arranged against the walls around the room, prepared with our piles of props. A bit of Alternate Nostril Breathing slowed and balanced our minds, and then we moved to the restorative poses.
Starting off in Reclined Cobbler (Supta Baddha Konasana), we lay back on bolsters, blankets and blocks. Eye pillows (or just a tshirt as blindfold) were recommended, but I hadn't brought anything into the studio with me. For ten, maybe fifteen minutes we lay listening to music ---and the tension in our hips. Mia did a delicate massage of lavender oil around our necks and temples, bringing another sense into relaxation. To keep the mind focused, she suggested slowly counting up to four and back down; indeed, this helped check my daydreaming. The stretching sensations were moderate but steady, and at the end of the pose I was surprised how much my knees had opened out. I was also happy to spend a chunk of time in a pose recommended for my shoulders (the bolster beneath the back lets the shoulders relax outward, counteracting the Chaturanga tension yogis tend to build up)
Next, it was time to "stop, drop and roll" into Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani). A slight variation added a little backbend to this gentle inversion: placing the bolster a few inches from the wall let the tailbone arch downward. My lower back was very happy. We also rested the hands on blocks, out to the side, which let my carpal-tunnelled arm feel nice and comfortable. This pose is great for swollen feet or varicose veins; circulation trickles down the legs and back to the heart.
After that was Savasana! (I still can't get used to just three or four poses in a 75-minute class. It flew by.) We lay two blankets down the length of the mat, providing a full-body cushion, and added a bolster under the knees. A beautiful direction to focus on the feeling "halfway between falling and floating" sent me deep into relaxation, and when we finally pulled the knees into the chest I felt quiet and calm. We released the knees to one side, and then the other, gently twisting the spine, and then slowly brought ourselves up to close.
The simplicity of the class was refreshing: each pose was just a few sentences of instruction, a gentle adjustment (or not), and then the whir of the AC clicking on to clear the air. We were left in peace and quiet for at least five minutes each pose. Eventually my mind started to absorb it. I could only wish for better soundproofing, as the teacher next door and students in the hall were a constant drone in my ear. But Mia led us ably past the distractions of late students and exiting classes, and I left with a big dopey grin. I don't know which glands / muscles / organs are stimulated, squeezed, stretched, or comforted by these poses, but the practice of relaxation was golden.
Pledging to get fit in the New Year? These gyms and yoga studios are offering January deals.
By Lauren Murrow, New York Magazine
December 19, 2008
New York Yoga
New York Yoga owns one Vinyasa studio and one hot yoga studio, heated to 105 degrees. Those who purchase a one-year paid-in-full membership at either location for $1,495 will get one month free, plus no initiation fee and a 10 percent discount on clothing and gear at the New York Yoga boutique. Both studios are also offering a "Recession Buster" deal of four months of unlimited classes for $499.
By ERIN TEXEIRA, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Los Angeles Times - December 27, 2001
By all appearances, I had begun to worship my computer. Sitting cross-legged on the floor of my darkened study, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and chanted at the monitor.
"Ooooommmm." Halfway across New York, a dozen people added their voices to mine, filling the room. Quite possibly, others joined us from Oregon, Japan and Oklahoma.
It was the start of a most unusual yoga class, one that took place both in a traditional yoga studio and, simultaneously, everywhere in the world via the Internet.
The class is one of several dozen offered each week by New York Yoga, a 10-month-old studio on Manhattan's Upper East Side. The center (www.newyorkyoga .com) claims to be the first and only source in the world for live online yoga classes.
Somewhere between 6 million and 18 million Americans practice yoga, according to polling data. Celebrities claim to take classes, and practically every neighborhood fitness center offers them. The 5,000-year-old tradition has, particularly since the early 1990s, become part of American fitness culture. Now, it's accessible to anyone with a computer and high-speed Internet access such as DSL or cable.
"The object with New York Yoga was to take people like Alan Ripka, a typical professional Upper East Sider, and get them to take yoga," said Alan Ripka, a lawyer who conceived the studio with his wife, Shelby Ripka, and partner, Tom Salshutz, about 18 months ago and opened it in February. "No more secrets. No more mysteries. Totally mainstream."
For $5.99--compared with the $20 fee for in-studio classes--students can log on and exercise with their favorite New York Yoga teachers while at work, out of town, in their pajamas or when the baby's asleep. And unlike exercising with a videotape, book or compact disc, the live-action sounds and images guard against the repetition and boredom often associated with working out at home.
"I've never heard of such a thing," said Melanie Posey, an analyst who tracks video and audio streaming trends for IDC, an international technology firm. Most companies that employ the streaming technology--often used to access news clips, university courses and global radio programs--allow users to control the images directly. It is rare to have live action online that the user does not control, she said.
New York Yoga is exploring ways to archive classes so students can play them back whenever they want, Salshutz said.
Even without it, some students are hooked.
"I'm in a city with tons of yoga studios and I've tried a lot of them, but with this you don't have to deal with someone's sweaty feet in your face," said Nina Harrison, a graphic design student in Amherst, Mass., who takes several classes a week. "You don't have to get ready, you don't have to drive. I can just be doing my work and go right to the computer.
"At this point, I prefer it" to a in-studio class, she said.
Yoga practices, as the workouts are called, integrate challenging physical movement--from deep stretching to calisthenics-type programs--with mental goals of increased concentration and emotional clarity. So being in a room crowded with people grunting and heaving through their practice can be alternately inspiring and distracting.
Logging on to the service was easy. After giving my credit card number and e-mail address, I soon saw an on-screen image of the studio, where students were laying out their mats and doing warmups for a Level I/II class with teacher Karen Schwartz.
The camera, mounted high on a wall facing the instructor, shows the students from the back. About a third of the room is pictured. (Those I talked to later at the studio told me they didn't know, or didn't care, that the classes are broadcast worldwide. Some were eager to log on themselves, though they live within a few blocks.)
I found myself chanting in front of my computer--and feeling a little strange.
I occasionally practice yoga at home, either on my own or with audio instruction from a compact disc program. But focusing on the computer screen was initially disorienting. My thin purple yoga mat looked out of place surrounded by the clutter of papers and books at my desk.
A few minutes later, having cleared the space, I lay on my mat and discovered that there were dust balls under my desk. Distractions, distractions.
I soon confronted some of the online program's imperfections: On my 15-inch monitor, the image of the class was about 5 inches by 7 inches, far too small to provide online participants with the details of each pose. More than once, I wished the camera could move a bit to one side or zoom in for a close-up.
Pat Murray, the computer engineer who set up and maintains the Web site, said the studio is working on enlarging the image.
Murray said streaming video and audio are well-suited to yoga: Virtually no other exercise is so slow that it could be effective updating its image just two times per second, compared with 30 times a second on television.
The video was not only a bit jumpy, but also lagged about five seconds behind the sound, which was clear and easy to follow. So I found myself taking the class by "listening, with an occasional glance," as Murray put it. I've practiced yoga for about six years. Because I have memorized many of the names of poses and how to get into and out of them, this was not unlike a normal class for me.
But this raises an issue. The online option may be great for newer students who want to try yoga but don't want to go to a studio. But the lack of detailed images will make it tough for them because many poses are difficult to describe.
For example, in class, Schwartz repeatedly described a subtle upper-body adjustment--opening the shoulders to protect ligaments by pulling down the shoulder blades and rolling out the upper arms.
If I had been in class, I could have figured this out by looking at her and other students, and she might have adjusted my shoulders directly. Instead, I winged it.
"There is absolutely nothing that replaces the experience of the class," said Mary Dunn of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York and a 25-year veteran of yoga instruction.
Ideally, live classes enhance the "dynamic relationship between teacher and student," she said. "You obviously don't have that with a book or a Web site or a video."
Dunn does not teach at New York Yoga and has never been on the site. If she did online classes, she said, she would be conservative in her teaching and take a general approach.
But online classes at New York Yoga are scarcely altered to accommodate remote yogis, according to the studio's owners and the teachers themselves. Teachers tend to forget the camera is there.
Most yoga poses are tough. Some are downright risky. In one class I took at the studio, the teacher instructed students to come out of a shoulder stand--the signature yoga pose in which the legs are high overhead and the weight rests on the shoulders and neck--by rolling over in a backward somersault. I was concerned I would strain my already stretched neck. I was glad to be in class, where the teacher could lift my legs and help me through it.
Injuries, said Russell Kai Yamaguchi, who taught that Ashtanga class, "are bound to happen."
"They can happen even when you [the teacher] are there, so you can imagine that it's going to happen even when you're not there. Someone's going to try a headstand and fall on a table or something."
Still, minutes into the online class, my limbs were warming, my mind focusing and blocking out distractions. I was doing poses I otherwise would avoid and holding them longer than if I were practicing on my own. Relying on the teacher's pacing was undeniably relaxing--one less thing to think about. In other words, I was getting the normal benefits of practicing under a teacher's direction.
"I just participated in my first class," wrote one student on the site's guest book. "How incredible to have the opportunity to take a class in New York while my baby napped and I stood in my living room in Tulsa, Ok[lahoma]."
Another young yoga enthusiast, contacted online recently, plans to take classes through the site in coming weeks because there are few teachers in his hometown.
He'll be logging on from Estonia.
David Hollander, a New York Yoga teacher, echoed the sentiments of several teachers when he said: "There are folks who think [online classes] commercialize yoga too much. My feeling is that anything that further democratizes this practice and brings it to more people is a wonderful thing."
Erin Texeira is a freelance writer. She can be reached at etexeira @aol.com
ON Magazine - January/February 2002
This could be the year to renew your health, wealth and well-being. Here's how to make it all happen online.
2. GET HEALTHY
.. And maybe this is the year to start stretching with the rest of the yogis....
New York Yoga (www.newyorkyoga.com) takes the idea a step further, offering classes via webcam from its studio. Remote students get special instruction, says general manager Claire Dooley..
Quest Magazine - November 2001
"People needed to find a way to get out of their houses but not to celebrate; we provided them with a spiritual place to do that," says Alan Ripka of New York Yoga. He and his wife, owner Shelby Ripka, offered a much-needed space where people "could do something for themselves while thinking of others," explains Alan. They also gave free yoga and meditation classes for Ground Zero volunteers and led a number of candle-light vigils in honor of those who lost their lives in the tragedy.
"Our business is up dramatically," says Alan. "People have said to our staff that they need this outlet in their lives. We are glad to be able to create a place that offers solace to those in the community."
By Marc Bloom
Runners World - December 2001
Here are 30 simple, effective ways to increase your energy today.
19. Give yoga a chance.
Consider taking a yoga class, increasingly popular among runners, to loosen tight muscles and "center" your mind. "With its focus on breathing, yoga slows you down, releases tension, and increases energy," says David Hollander, an instructor at New York Yoga Center. "I've worked with many runners who tell me they wish they'd taken up yoga years ago."
by Shannon Brady Marin
ON Magazine - October 2001
If you're looking for a yoga class to attend online, make sure to pick one that speaks to you.
The Pink Lady was Doing a sun salutation on a crudely animated beach, a written description of each move displayed above the waves. How am I supposed to follow this? I wondered, straining to read my computer screen while stuck in my best Downward Dog pose. By the time the virtual yogini was pulling out of Cobra, I was in the kitchen nibbling a cookie, thinking the Web would have to do better than this if I was going to practice yoga online. The better sites I finally did find have one important thing in common: during each "session," you hear an instructor's voice, talking you through each pose. While you always get more out of a yoga class you attend in the flesh, these sites are great when you're too busy to go to the studio and want to squeeze in a few Sukhasanas before lunch.
I particularly liked New York Yoga (www.newyorkyoga.com), which webcasts live group sessions from its Manhattan facility to your PC all day long. (The webcams are always on, so if you log on after hours, you see an empty room.) The class schedule covers all levels, from basic Hatha to the more advanced Ashtanga, or power yoga ($5.99 for 90 minutes, or $39.95 a month). But like most webcam pictures, New York Yoga's images are a little dark, and they blur when enlarged; the site looks better if you've got a high-speed DSL or cable-modem connection.
Healthpause (www.healthpause.com) is cheaper but limiting. For $19.95 a year you get a new five-minute "desk yoga" routine every week, available anytime as a streaming-video clip. The neck rolls, shoulder shrugs and back stretches can help you get through those grueling days at the office (though the regular "Inhale" and "Exhale" on the soundtrack is likely to draw curious coworkers to your cubicle).
The best free site is Yoga Without Tree Hugging (www.zenyoga.co.uk) so named because it eschews the customary chanting and meditation. The classes are audio only; you can choose a preset sequence or design your own using drop-down menus listing the Cat, Half Locust and other favorites. Novices are advised to study the site's crib sheet or watch video demos of each pose first.
But beginners are better off studying the fundamentals at the Yoga Site (www.yogasite.com), which offers straightforward descriptions of popular poses illustrated with cute stick-figure drawings. My Daily Yoga (www.rnydailyyoga.corn) has a decent primer on getting started, plus a page of exercises designed to prevent carpal-tunnel syndrome.
Finally, for those who practice power yoga, there's Yogaaahhh (www.gdi.net/~mjm), a site whose models, in their bright colorful garb, look like comic-book superheroes (Wonder Twin power-activate! Shape of ... Garudasana!)
Of course, if you yogacize online, you miss getting personal attention from a professional who can tell you what you're doing wrong and help you fine-tune your technique. So keep going to the studio--and steer clear of the pink lady. Shannon Brady Marin is a freelance writer living in New York City.
by Alyssa Shaffer
Health Magazine, October 2001
Don't like doing the Downward-Facing Dog in public? Then check out www.newyorkyoga.com's "Live Yoga on the Net," which allows you to participate in any of up to a dozen daily classes, thanks to the wonders of a Web cam. They've got choices for all experience levels, ranging from Gentle Yoga for folks recovering from injuries to Power Yoga for those with energy to spare. There's even a family-friendly class-if your living room's big enough, that is. You can access the site from any computer, and while it costs $40 a month for unlimited use, it's a bargain if you want to avoid showcasing your Sun Salutes at the local studio.
New York Daily News August 20th, 2001
What's coming over our jocks? Philadelphia Eagle Sean Landeta has joined Demi Moore, and Gwyneth Paltrow in studying yoga. The former Giant, now 39, thinks the stretching he's doing at New York Yoga on East 86th Street could extend his NFL career.
The ancient Indian practice isn't just for downtown hipsters anymore
By Lauren A. Elkies
Reprinted from the April 5th issue of 'Our Town'
Pose. Breathe. Meditate. Chant.
"Asatoma sadgamaya. Tamasoma jyotirgamaya. Mrytyorma amritamgamaya."
Spoken in Sanskrit, the language of ancient India, this mantra chanted at Rasa Yoga translates to: "lead me from the unreal to the real. Lead me from the darkness to light. Lead me from the fear of death to realize my immortality."
Typically set in large, open, unadorned spaces, yoga groups pose in positions called the Locust, the Cobra, or the Warrior Stance. Classes range from Mommy and Me to beginner adult, from gentle yoga to power yoga. Yoga styles range from mild to very strenuous, with names like Iyengar, Kripalu and Kundalini.
An adult class at Rasa Yoga, 246 W. 80th St., includes five to 10 minutes of silent relaxation on mats, a 30-minute warm-up sequence of poses, 40 minutes of traditional poses and a 10-minute seated meditation and chanting. Dressed in comfortable exercise garb, participants range in age from 10 to 80, said Luther Kinney, co-director of Rasa Yoga.
Of yoga students, 82 percent are women and 18 percent are men, according to a survey conducted by Signet Marketing Research in January 1997 and included in press materials prepared by Yoga Journal, a national yoga magazine founded in 1975. The average yogi, a person who practices yoga, is 47 years old. Ninety-two percent of yogis are college educated and 34.1 percent have a graduate degree. The average household income for a yogi is $74,000 and 71 percent own their own home.
Yoga, begun over 5,000 years ago in India, was brought to this country by a swami, or spiritual master, 100 years ago, according to Trisha Lamb Feuerstein, director of research at the national Yoga Research and Education Center.
The practice takes people on an inner journey, said Kathryn Arnold, editor-in-chief of Yoga Journal. She said it is ultimately a spiritual practice. Through a series of poses, the participant quiets his or her mind and, in time, learns to concentrate on what is important to him or her. "It's hard to get New Yorkers to buy into this because they love their thoughts," said Arnold. "People considered it weird for 30 years, but slowly over those years, American teachers evolved and adopted it American-style. They were able to create and market a kind of yoga that appeals to New Yorkers."
Arnold said she left New York in 1990, when there were hardly any yoga centers in Manhattan.
"In 1990, it was almost impossible to find a yoga class." Said Arnold. " Now there are yoga centers in every neighborhood."
Last September, Yoga Journal held the first yoga convention in Manhattan. Although Arnold was expecting only 800 people to attend, 1,700 people registered and others had to be turned away.
What once seemed a mystical practice for Manhattan downtown trendsetters has become an increasingly popular fitness practice all over the city. " I think it worked its way up[town] due to how yoga centers' directors know how to package it and to appeal to mainstream people," said Arnold, who has practiced yoga for 25 years. "Celebrity involvement made people interested." Model Christy Turlington is editor-at-large of Yoga Journal and the reported dedication to yoga of celebs like Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow certainly hasn't hurt its popularity.
Others think yoga is ubiquitous.
David Life, founder and co-director of two Jivamukti Yoga Centers in the city, said yoga is popular all over the world.
"It's hardly a New York phenomenon or a downtown phenomenon," said Life, who was considered a pioneer when he opened his first yoga center downtown 15 years ago. Serving a large uptown population, Life decided it would be savvy to open up another location on the Upper East Side. He opened a second center at 853 Lexington Avenue., between 64th and 65th streets last September.
"The uptown center is growing at a nice rate", said Life. The downtown center serves 500 people a day while the smaller uptown center serves 100.
The yoga market has grown over the years. In 1990, 4 million people in the United States practiced yoga three or more times per month, 6.2 million in 1994, 18.5 million in 1998 and 28 predicted in 2002, according to research compiled by Yoga Journal.
Reasons for practicing yoga vary from stress alleviation to physical exercise to spirituality. Diehard exercisers who thrived on running or aerobics now swear by yoga - gentler on the body, with an added connection to the mind and soul.
"People have gone from doing step aerobics to yoga and Pilates," said Bruce Bell, a partner at Life in Motion, a yoga center at 2726 Broadway. "It's become very mainstream. People who only did five step classes a week [now] do five yoga classes a week."
Signet Market Research found in a January 1997 survey, published in Yoga Journal, that 77 percent of people practice yoga for all-around fitness, 68 percent for stress reduction, 67 percent as a spiritual practice and 48 percent for back care.
Tom Salshutz, one of the owners of New York Yoga, 1629 York Ave., said the benefits of yoga include weight loss, increased blood flow and flexibility. An instructor at New York Yoga and Midtown's Yoga Zone, Jennifer Parmelee, said yoga is a way of life that can affect a person's philosophy, diet and way of interacting with others.
"People interested in change and looking for happiness do yoga," said Life, who has taught yoga for 17 years. "People who don't want to change don't stick with it that long."
Upper East Side resident Sarah Donoghue took up the practice after a trip to Thailand.
"It's the only thing I think that I do that is relaxing - entirely," said Donoghue, marketing manager at Vogue magazine. "I love it."