Update: On Wednesday evening, Governor Cuomo announced that “Indoor fitness classes can resume at limited capacity on March 22. Indoor fitness classes can begin reopening statewide at 33 percent capacity with health screening and contact information required at sign-in. Classes should be scheduled to allow additional time for cleaning and disinfection between sessions. Local health departments shall inspect before or within 2 weeks of the fitness center opening to ensure compliance.” The following article can still serve as a resource.
By Lisa Kava
You know things are serious when yoga professionals are stressed out, and these days they are, for good reason. Indoor yoga and other group exercise classes have been omitted from New York City’s reopening plan, and it’s hurting their businesses.
“It’s why 40% of the studios have already closed in the city,” wrote Stephan Kolbert, co-owner of UWS Yoga and Wellness, at 75B West 85th Street.“ It’s really devastating to the industry.”
An indoor group fitness class is defined as “an activity with two or more participants led by either an in-person instructor or a remote or pre-recorded instructor,” according to the New York City Department of Health. Yoga professionals say prohibiting them doesn’t make sense in view of all the other businesses that have been allowed to reopen, including gyms. In fact, 16 fitness studios throughout the five boroughs banded together in February to sue the city and state to allow them to reopen.
“There is no sound scientific or medical rationale for prohibiting boutique fitness studios such as yoga and pilates while allowing big box gyms, restaurants, bars, malls, department stores, casinos, bowling alleys, museums, tanning salons to operate,” said lawyer James Mermigis, who is representing the fitness studios,” the New York Post reported.
Indoor yoga and group exercise classes are allowed in other parts of New York State. According to the Post, the decision is in the hands of the “localities.”
Several Upper West Side yoga studios shifted to a virtual format last spring. But many yoga students and teachers now appear to be Zoom-ed out. “People are craving in-person connections,” said Adrianna Perez, founder of AMP Studio and former studio manager for Core Power Yoga’s Upper West Side location. To enable these connections, some studios are offering outdoor group classes as well as indoor, in-person private sessions.
West Side Rag surveyed Upper West Side yoga studios to see who is offering what. Sadly, many, including Pure Yoga West, Life in Motion, and Core Power Yoga, have temporarily closed. But with spring around the corner, there is still a wide array of offerings. Here is a selection:
NY Loves Yoga www.nylovesyoga.com, at 140 West 83rd Street, is holding private sessions in their studio and on their patio. Yoga mats are spaced six feet from one another, and temperature checks are taken, according to MJ Watkins, studio co-partner. NY Loves Yoga plans to hold group classes in Central Park at 9:15 AM on Saturdays and Sundays starting in mid-April. Class location will be near the West 81st entrance, said Watkins. The website will be updated with details.
Upper West Side Yoga and Wellness www.uwsyoga.com, at 75B West 85th Street, is offering private, in-person sessions. “We can easily control the air circulation and social distance with one other person,” wrote Stephan Kolbert and Ingrid Marcroft, studio co-owners. They hope to offer park classes this spring, but do not have anything formally in place.
Prenatal Yoga Center www.prenatalyogacenter.com, at 141 West 72nd Street, plans to offer private in studio sessions which will include “temperature checks and signed questionnaires stating that clients have not been exposed to Covid or traveled recently,” wrote studio owner, Deb Flashenberg, who says her studio is equipped with air filters, fans and windows. Flashenberg will offer group prenatal yoga classes in Central Park as the weather gets warmer. Information on outdoor classes will be added to the website.
World Yoga Center www.worldyogacenter at 255 West 72nd Street, will offer 2-5 outdoor classes a week “in nearby parks and rooftops,” this spring, according to Julia Pearring, Managing Director of the studio, who said details will be posted on the website by mid- April.
Bode nyc www.bodenyc.com at 143 West 72nd Street, is in the process of putting together an outdoor class schedule, which will also begin in mid- April, according to marketing director, Chip Klose. Information about teachers, meet up instructions and reserving spots will be posted on the website.
AMP Studio www.ampstudio.fit, founded by Upper West Sider and former Core Power Yoga studio manager, Adrianna Perez, has already resumed outdoor group classes (which were held last summer in Central and Riverside Parks.) Classes meet in Central Park on Saturday and Sunday mornings at 9:30 near West 72nd Street. In May, Perez will reintroduce a Wednesday evening sunset class in Riverside Park near the 72nd entrance. Information can be found on the website. All participants must sign a covid release, wear masks and be 6 feet apart.
Lauren Engleman, long time Upper West Sider, dancer, and former instructor at both Core Power Yoga and Physique 57, is currently teaching private, semi- private and small group sessions in Central Park. Engleman also conducts private in-person yoga and barre sessions at an indoor location on the UWS. For details, go to www.laurenengleman.com or email email@example.com.
Do you know of other Upper West Side yoga studios and instructors offering outdoor classes or private sessions? Please tell us in the comments. We hope that with warmer days ahead, there will be opportunity for everybody to find their zen alongside the cherry blossoms.