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Yoga gets Dirty: The new online yoga studio for anti-yoga New Yorkers

dirty yoga

Dirty Yoga is taking yoga’s supposed clean-and-pure image and dirtying it up with new online classes for people who may not see themselves as meditate-on-a-mat types.

“The average person who doesn’t do yoga thinks that it’s something girls wearing white in tampon ads do,” says Susi Rajah, who founded the new online yoga studio of sorts, with Jess Gronholm, Crunch’s former national yoga director. “Yoga really throws up a lot of barriers without meaning to.”

Barriers like a feeling of exclusivity. Or the idea that yoga’s too big of a time commitment for busy New Yorkers. And the fact that some would-be male yogis find studios filled with flexible females intimidating, say the founders.

Dirty yoga
Dirty Yoga uses clever marketing to help woo yoga haters

Dirty Yoga breaks these down by offering a weekly at-home yoga practice that consists of three 35-minute no-frills Vinyasa classes taught by Gronholm. You can do the classes whenever you have time, but they expire every Sunday night.

Rajah and Gronholm think this approach will inspire dedication to a routine, and will keep your practice fresh and exciting.

So, how will Rajah and Gronholm reach the New Yorkers who wouldn’t be caught dead in the same room as a Harmonium?

For starters, with uber-casual classes. There are no introductory Sanskrit parables. No crashing waves against a pristine beach in the background (classes are shot in a studio in Williamsburg). And no cheesy music. Just Gronholm in a cotton T-shirt and shorts brushing his hair back after a sun salutation and talking to you as if you were sitting across from him.

The irreverent (and pretty hilarious) marketing aimed at the non-yogic set should also help convert a few. One ad, for example, shows a pack of Marlboros with yoga mats for cigarettes and a warning about it becoming habit forming.

And in any case, Dirty Yoga seems to want to get more people in touch with yoga-the-medium than yoga-the-message. It offers short classes called Quickies, with the thinking that yoga can be shoehorned into every person’s busy lifestyle. And some yoga is better than none, say the founders.

“We’re not trying to pretend we can deliver anything that an in-person 90-minute class can, but we can provide a good workout in a time frame that will suit most people,” says Rajah.

“And we can’t promise any kind of enlightenment. If it happens, awesome. But it’ll be accidental.” —Lisa Elaine Held

Dirty Yoga packages start at $10 for 3 classes and max out at $25 for 12,