Manhattan’s Best Elite Yoga Studios: Where to Practice Your Downward Dog without the Crowds

Manhattan’s Best Elite Yoga Studios: Where to Practice Your Downward Dog without the Crowds Take your downward dog to one of these exclusive Manhattan studios. Photo: iStock.com / DMBaker

As New Yorkers we are all moving at a fast pace in this city, striving to get ahead or simply stay on top of our game. Sometimes we all need a reminder that keeping our bodies finely tuned will keep our minds clear and inspired. While gyms abound and Soul Cycle gets our blood and ears pumping, I’ve discovered that when I find the perfect yoga class and instructor, my mind, body and soul thank me for the time I spent perfecting my downward dog.

From the Bowery to Brooklyn, New York is home to hundreds of chic spots for yoginis go to perfect their practice. While I don’t practice yoga on a daily basis, many of my team members and clients do, and when clients settle into a new neighborhood, I’m often asked to recommend a favorite fitness spot so we’ve been checking in on some of them. Yearning for a yoga studio that has small class size limits so you can skip the crowds and focus on finding your inner zen? As we all try to stay warm in the crisp winter air, there’s no time like the present to get to know a few of Manhattan’s elite studios that many of the city’s top yoginis call home.

One high-end jewel of a studio that gets recommended time and time again by those in the know is Yoga 216. Tucked away beneath the greenery of the High Line on West 20th away from the city’s frenetic chaos, Yoga 216’s coordinates can help you achieve inner calm before class even begins. Once you step inside, a serious spa-like atmosphere pervades. A soothing neutral color palette is accented with oceanic blue Jade yoga mats and the studio’s signature candle line wafts oh-so-sophisticated scents subtly through the space.

The classes feature Yoga 216’s signature alignment-style flow, and are offered for both beginners and more advanced yoginis, with heated, non-heated, pre-natal, and core-focused options available. But beyond the highly sought-after teachers, the real draw is that each class is capped at six people, meaning that your om will never be compromised by overcrowding and that you’ll always receive individual attention. When even the most highly regarded studios can leave you staring straight into the soles of someone’s feet during boat pose, the peace and privacy of Yoga 216 classes comes as the ultimate luxury.

Looking for another studio that’s closer to your neighborhood? If you’re downtown, try Strala Yoga in Noho. Strala is the airy home of Tara Stiles, a perennially upbeat powerhouse with a cult following around her Strong and Relax classes. Tara draws on her background in ballet and choreography to create innovative, inspiring flows that reflect the studio’s name (Strala means to ‘radiate light’ in Swedish). Strala’s classes are all about activating the body’s “Relaxation Response” through gentle movement– exactly what busy Manhattanites need as we detox from six weeks of indoor living.

Uptowners can find sanctuary at Pure Yoga, the first North American branch of this exclusive Asian-based yoga group, which has two convenient locations on the Upper West Side and Upper East Side. This members-only studio offers over 350 weekly classes covering 20 styles of yoga, ranging from Ashtanga to yin yoga, with a rotating cast of all-star instructors. After practice, relax in the spacious lounges with complementary Kiehl’s amenities. The studio also offers members-only barre classes incorporating weight bearing exercises, strength training and dance techniques to sculpt a lean, toned physique – the perfect preparation for Spring getaways.

Namaste, indeed. – Tony Sargent

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