How to spend New Year’s Eve (and Day) the namaste way

The city's best alternatives to the standard ball-drop countdown, like a night of sangha and silence at Jivamukti to yoga with top teachers on New Year's Day.
times square, new years
This year, trade the cold weather and confetti for a warming yoga practice

The start of the new year is generally remembered to a soundtrack of champagne corks popping, horns blowing, and an off-key, somewhat-slurred rendition of Auld Lang Syne—that is, if it’s remembered at all.

How about spending the loudest night of the year with three hours of silence, reflecting on the 364 days that got you to this moment? It’s just one of the alternatives to the standard ball-drop countdown that we’ve uncovered—in case your resolution involves centering your chi and switching on your inner light in 2011. Some fitting ways for honoring the big night and the first day of the new year:


Sharon Gannon and David Life
Sharon Gannon and David Life

A Jivamukti New Year’s

Founders Sharon Gannon and David Life host a marathon celebration complete with a yoga class, a vegan dinner in the JivamukTea cafe, and a kirtan dance party with Sanga. It’s all topped off by three hours of total silence (Mauna) from 9pm-midnight, during which asana rooms will be open for individual reflection. Gannon and Life will offer a special message for the new year at the stroke of midnight. You can commit to the whole shebang or just show up on tip-toe whenever you’re ready. It’s bound to be the loudest 12:01am in the city. 5:00pm–midnight. Jivamukti, 841 Broadway, 2nd fl.; $85 for yoga class and dinner, $35 for dinner only. Kirtan dance party and mauna are free. Register online or call 212-353-0214, ext. 0.,

Ananda Mandala at Bend & Bloom Yoga

Build a circle of bliss, joy, and delight to help you face whatever 2011 may bring. That’s the intention behind Amber Campion‘s heart-opening vinyasa flow that will include partner poses, focusing games and exercises, meditation, and inversions. Bend & Bloom Yoga, 708 Sackett St., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 9:30pm–midnight. $40 or $35 if you register by December 30. Register online or visit

Bhagavan Das
Kirtan legend Bhagavan Das

Laughing Lotus Yoga Jamm and Kirtan Celebration

Experience a rockin’ asana practice led by Mary Dana and then chant the night away with Bhagavan Das, a legendary Kirtan artist whose website claims he was the first of his kind in America. Although we couldn’t verify this or his additional claim that he’s the last living cultural icon of the 60s (ahem, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan…), we can tell you that he has a really sweet beard (see photo). Laughing Lotus, 59 W. 19th St.; yoga 8:00–9:30pm, $20; kirtan 10:00pm–midnight, $50 in advance, $60 at the door. Register online or visit


Detox and Afternoon Recharge at Pure Yoga
Start the day at a reasonable hour with a vigorous detoxing Vinyasa flow class lead by California-based star yogi Sara Ivanhoe (11:00–1:00). Later, reward yourself with an afternoon of Yin and Restorative yoga class with meditation (4:00-6:00),to energize and center yourself as the year begins. Pure East, 203 E. 86th St.; members $45 per session or $75 for both; non-members $50 or $85 for both. Register online or visit

Sara Ivanhoe
Detox and recharge with star yoga teacher Sara Ivanhoe

ShriYoga Electric Cello Yoga

Elizabeth Rossa, founder of ShriYoga, leads a class to the rhythm of the electric cello, played by master cellist Topu Lyo. 4:00-5:45PM, $25 suggested donation or whatever you can give. To RSVP, email

New Year’s IntenSati
Jump start your year with this special 3-hour IntenSati class led by founder Patricia Moreno, at the 19th Street Equinox location. The intense blend of cardio, martial arts, and personal affirmations will set a super-positive tone for your mind and body in 2011. Noon-3:00pm (Equinox members only)

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