Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center

Located on 24th between 7th and 8th, Sivananda is one of the better yoga studios in NYC. As someone who is from Santa Cruz, California, this studio reminds of home. If you aren't familiar with Santa Cruz, I suppose this reference will remain a mystery. I have tried many types of yoga; from Vinyasa (and other variations) at the gym to Bikram at a studio to a yoga on a rooftop in India. Sivananda is where you will find the most well-trained and committed instructors, in my opinion, and in an environment that makes you feel relaxed and at peace. I'm raving about the quality of this studio, however, I'm really not a big yoga person, so me talking about Sivananda says a lot. The yoga here is slow moving and more laid-back than I'd like in a workout; nonetheless, I like coming every few months to balance out my system and meditate (or something).

I took the open yoga session, which goes for an hour and a half and includes Pranayama (breathing exercises), a regular series of Asanas including sun salutations, and relaxation. You can choose from beginner, gentle, advanced, prenatal, Satsang (group meditation) and open classes. Because the poses are slow-paced, this class gives you a chance to work on balance and technique.

This is not only a yoga studio, there are cooking workshops and other courses, and they have a wide selection of yoga supplies including books, mats, etc. If you're lucky to come to one of the open houses, you will be able to stay for one of the most delicious vegetarian meals of your life. If you are a member, you may get free meals (?), but I highly recommend that you check this place out at least once.

Classes are priced from $8 (gentle) to $12 or you can buy an unlimited month class pass for $125. With the prices for working out around the city, Sivananda is very reasonable and, when I go once every three months, I don't mind the $12 entrance fee.