...and the winner is:....

Mo: Arrived back home today. A bit tired but I´m trying to stay awake, so that I´ll be able to get my beauty sleep tonight... After 1 week in search of awesome yoga inspiration and some cool creativity in the big Apple, I finally found it - 1 day before returning home! First prize - without doubt - goes to

Kula Yoga

This is a well kept secret amongst New Yorkers and the studio is hidden between Church and Broadway in Tribeca, far away from the big (overrated) studios surroundi
ng Union Square. I took a restorative class at Kula on day 2, and got intrigued by the class name: "Multi Intenso", on the schedule. A class so special it´s only the creator, David, who teaches it... the class outline promised hardcore, challenging work, both on and off the mat, and being a sucker for well written, hard selling, American class descriptions, who was I to say no?...
Boy, did I get my money´s worth?!

Before I get into describing David´s class further, I also want to give credit to Nikki.
I saw Nikki at Kula on the day of the restorative, since she was teaching a class at the same time. I loved the way she looked: healthy, strong, beautiful and athletic - and judging by the people streaming into her class, she seemed to be a very popular teacher.
So... I planned my Tuesday in a way that I could start off with Nikkis class 14.15-15.45 and then continue with David´s Intenso 16.30-18.00.
Nikkis class was brilliant. A strong, very creative flow, with enough challenge to create a highly sweaty workout, yet sweet and non-intimidating. I loved Nikkis teaching style.
3 OMs in the beginning, some pranayama and then a head dive straight into it. Very nice and a HIGHLY recommended class.

Beautiful Nikki at Kula Yoga

I also heard very good things about studio director Schuyler´s ( a California born yogini) and Aarona´s classes, but unfortunately there was not enough time to sample their creative flow...

After Nikki´s 90min I was more than warmed up for David´s class. I must say I was fascinated by the people that started to drop in for Intenso. More tattoos than in LA ink! Also, quite a few guys - always a good sign if you want a hardcore workout. Well, I needed not to have worried. Let´s just say I got my fish fried (very Swedish expression...).

5 minutes into the class, we did our first handstand. Well, 15 of the 18 people in the room did.

I sort of watched out of the corner of my eye in complete AWE when a woman two rows in front of me slow
ly raised her body up from a forward bend to a 90degree angle and then - even slower continued up to a full handstand, just to hang out for awhile and then effortlessly drop down to chatturanga.

And so the 90 minutes continued. If it hadn´t been for David´s relaxed, very non-macho teaching style, it could have been intimidating and fear inducing, but because he was so laid back with a very open attitude, it became so much FUN and such a phenomenal CHALLENGE and very, very inspirational.

An absolute MUST for any flow searching yogi on a trip to New York.

Yes, Multi Intenso, indeed... thanks, David!

The runners up prize and special mentioning goes to Laughing Lotus. A cosy, colourful, warm studio with great flow classes. Both Nikki and David did their first training here.

I went to Bryn´s class and liked it a lot (I mean, what´s not to like about a teacher who turns the sacred chant Rade Govinda into a rap???? ...and you all know what I think about chanting in general...) not to mention Dana Flynn´s special home coming class last Friday. Sweet!

All in all a very intense week... New York is as awesome as it ever was. The weak dollar makes it a shopping paradise (or hell, depending from which angle you see it...). The yoga community is far behind L.A and the big studios in NY - well, I don´t know how they survive? I mean, you pay 15-20 dollars for a class and then you get directions for the changing room just to find either a cubicle with curtains (changing room??? ehh...in Europe that normally means at least a separate room with showers and lockers???), or the bathrooms are elsewhere to be found in the building, or the studio smells a bit funny, or...etc etc etc. Classes are far from packed, and during the day time there are rarely more than 9-12 people in a class.

The most upmarket place of all was Bikram Yoga Union Square - yes, where the famous fainting incident happened - small, but by NY standards luxiurious changing rooms (although the bathrooms were located in the corridor outside the actual studio).

As for the standard of the teachers... except from the ones mentioned above, mostly a huge disappointment considering yoga has been big in the US for at least 10 years. However, the ones who are good - they are brilliant and they shine.

Namaste for now...

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