*Gong Sound* May we introduce you to Pure Yoga West, the yoga “studio” that takes over an entire city block … When we descended the stairs, we were convinced that we had stumbled into a very secret and exclusive spa. As soon as we stepped into that lobby, it was clear that we were outsiders. This “membership only” house of zen has a very specific type of clientele made up of hard core yogis/yoginis with high-end tastes or the well-to-do middle aged person who lunches (hey, we don’t live in a just “lady who lunches” world anymore). It’s safe to say there is no Beyonce blasting, hardcore yoga happening here.
This megachurch of a studio totes 27 different yoga classes!! What?? Think about the amount of instructors and different certifications that requires. Guess we shouldn’t be surprised since if they’re charging membership, there should be a ton of variety. However, there’s a silver lining for those of us not able to cough up the monthly membership: Pure Yoga has six different Figure 4 barre classes, a type of barre class exclusive to Pure Yoga. For those, you CAN drop in as a non-member for $35.
Not all yoga classes are created equal. Each is going to offer a very different experience and benefits. If you aren’t a hard core yogi or yogini, the wide array of yoga class options can be incredibly overwhelming. So, do yourself a favor and read read read the class descriptions. If you’re looking for something more soothing and end up in more of a vigorous vinyasa class, you’re going to be a very unhappy little camper. Perhaps a Hatha class instead might have been a better fit.
Hatha yoga focuses on performing basic postures to drive your energy in certain directions. It’s typically a super gentle and slow type of practice. Sometimes, it can even be more meditative than a “workout”. Ideally, it is a great introduction to the basic poses. But, at Pure Yoga West, this class really approached more of an intermediate level. The focus was much more on perfecting the nuances of these poses rather than an introduction to them. A good example is that a lot more secondary versions of a pose were tossed in, such as taking a bind. There was a ton of shaking happening throughout the room, not ‘cause muscles were being formed but rather from frustration boiling over. The lack of music combined with the painfully slow pace made the class drag on longer than we would have liked. Needless to say, we did not walk away with the soothing calm and reflection that we were hoping for.
“People, people. I need you to pay attention”. Oh. Dear. God. What have we gotten ourselves into? This was how Robin addressed our class the ENTIRE time and our blood boiled over. When people ask us why we think yoga can be “secretly judgemental”, we point to teachers like Robbin. “I used to be a dancer so my form is going to be a bit better, but this is really what you should look like”. This was only one of the delightful gems said in class that almost caused us to get off of our mat and go slap her. Hypercritical, grating tone, and someone who singles out students in front of the rest of the group ….yeah, all of the qualities you really want in someone who is supposed to be guiding you toward inner peace. It was like taking class from our future mother-in-law.
Her teaching style was very much display-based. She didn’t want us doing anything else or trying it on our own while she was talking. Our full attention was required. Okay, we don’t mind sticklers for form, but seriously, we can’t be following along while listening to you? Her version of hands-on adjustment was to call you out in front of the rest of class, from the front. She wouldn’t even come to you. After that experience, we don’t even want to take directions from this woman, let alone another class.
To say that Pure Yoga West is huge would be an understatement. There are no fewer than eight studios and five full color-themed lounge areas. While we were in shock and awe of the lobby, it became increasingly evident to the front desk staff that we were outsiders. They were quick to point out the fact that this is a membership-only yoga sanctuary. “Ummm, we don’t really do drop ins here. But, we can give you one to trial the space”. Okay, Megan, we get it. Thanks so much for your “warm” hospitality.
Once we got over feeling a bit out of place, we were able to appreciate how clean, plush and just massive the space is. If you walk end to end inside, it would take you a solid four minutes. Prior to class, we took in the red lounge space outside of our studio. Flush with pillows, it felt a bit like we were chilling in the tent of an Arabian nights party. Moving into the studio, it was hard not to notice that the space was larger than most of our apartments. I mean, can we move in?? Not that Pure Yoga would ever “pack ‘em in”, but each yoga studio could fit 40 or so people easily. With the amount of space this mega studio has, we were a bit surprised by the locker room. The majority of space is monopolized for practice and lounging, so they were relatively cramped. Given the decor and amenities in the rest of the space, we expected posh showers, cosmetics, and towels, but they were super standard. Huge bummer. Then again, they set us up given all of the other wow factors.
204 W 77th St, New York, NY 10024 Upper West Side Yoga $$$
Pure Yoga West
Upper West Side Yoga, $$$
204 W 77th St, New York, NY 10024
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