The high lunges and push-ups of Spa Junkie’s last class have put her in the mood for something soothing…
I arrive at Yoga 216’s clean white-brick studio, whichprides itself on “blending the benefits of private yoga instruction with theaccessibility of the group structure and the restorative properties of aspa”.
I am told that the studio bases its classes around“alignment flow”, which is offered in two levels – Learner and Burner. The classes last between an hour and an hour and 15 minutes; there’s also a fast lunchtimeclass of 50 minutes. I opt for a non-heated Burner class.
Written on a chalkboard, I read: “Pain that has not yetcome is avoidable.” Elsewhere, the studio claims to be a “safe haven forescaping unnecessary mental and physical pain at every level”.
I enter a non-heated room with a temperature of29.5 degrees celsius and a humidity of 30 per cent. The white space is long and narrow witha decorative gold-leaf pattern dotted across themiddle. I take a spot on one of the blue mats with head rests and blocks, andbegin a warm-up stretching routine.
We are guided through an Asana sequence, which is clearand easy to follow, with an emphasis on breathing and the positioning of thespine. This month’s pose is Uttanasana, a standing forward fold, and thisweek’s alignment is “rounded spine”. The class is taught with thisas the focus – extra attention is given to poses that strengthen the spine, suchas forward bends, child’s pose and sphinx pose.
As the class is open to all levels, the instructor givesvariations for each routine and provides individual attention. While I don’t use this as an opportunity to take a back seat, I find ita relief after the challenges of the last two classes. It is a slow, soulfulexperience.
The class may not have been particularlygroundbreaking, but when it is over I head to the luxurious changing rooms and enjoy an Ayurvedictea and freshly pressed juice from nearby organic eatery Blossom. Thisaftercare is the pièce de résistance. I leave feeling serene, rejuvenated and, thanks to the spa environment, alittle pampered.
The bottom line:
Derek Beres’s spiritual practice taught me a newskill – to listen to the inner workings of my body during the transitionalspaces, which definitely helped me improve my form and confidence.
Lauren Imperato’s class was a little too strenuous,sweaty and fast paced for my taste, but I can see that this isprecisely why it’s a hot ticket among the high-achieving locals who want to combineyoga with a workout.
It’s fitting that my final lesson, at Yoga 216, hit the right spots for my mind, body and soul. Thanks to this final instalment, Ileft Manhattan feeling calm and focused. I was sad not to have had time for a repeat visitbefore I returned to London, but I vow to come back on my next New York trip.