There’s nothing shiny about New York’s newest yoga studio, U Studios. You’ll have to navigate through Canal Street purse peddlers before entering a gritty hallway and riding in a clanking elevator. But once inside, the studio has a sort of old-school sweetness that feels genuine and fresh—and classes, which are capped at 25 and include mats, cost just $10.
During opening week, co-founder Henry Cross greeted me, with a huge smile, wearing loose, grey sweatpants and an old T-shirt. The other practitioners were similarly dressed, and the vibe was tangibly low-key, as Cross lit incense to kick-off the class.
“The approach we take is a lot more suggestive, as opposed to declarative,” he says. “In New York studios right now, there’s an over emphasis on ‘go deeper, do more, more is better.’ We forget that it’s a practice and a process.”
On the mat, U Flow was a gentle yet invigorating practice, with a heavy emphasis on breath and an equal mix of chaturangas and easy twists (with Cross encouraging modifications for what your own body needs). His insights steered clear of heady spirituality and instead consisted of anecdotes on topics like trust.
To me, U Studios represented what I imagine New York’s yoga scene looked like before Luon and Gaiam, in the days when the seeds for Jivamukti were being planted in the heads of Sharon Gannon and David Life and Eddie Stern was working on his first headstand. You won’t find top talent or amenities, but you will find people who really care about yoga—and you.
Who’s it for: Yoga newbies, yogis who are sick of mat-to-mat Lululemon battles
$10, 264 Canal St. (between Broadway and Lafayette), 5th Floor, Chinatown, www.ustudiosnyc.com