Alex Schatzberg, a New York City yoga teacher who’s been a fixture on the scene for a long time, couldn’t find a studio that felt like “home” to him.
So in the fall, he hung out his own shingle to create the “new vibe” he was looking for: a comfortable, non-corporate, welcoming refuge. And his New Vibe Yoga, an Ashtanga-focused studio in the East Village, really does occupy a beautiful, tranquil and energetically pleasing corner of the city. “Those of us who do yoga in New York City are trying to reduce the stress of living in the city,” says Schatzberg, who since 2008 has taught vinyasa and Ashtanga classes at spots like Equinox, Yoga to the People, and YogaWorks.
Inside, there are no computers in sight for signing in, and no pictures of gurus or gods on the walls (aside from a small Ganesh on the door), just a sun and a moon to encourage you to tap into nature, along with your breath, body, and mind.
The space is profoundly quiet and pretty, with high ceilings, exposed brick walls, fireplaces in the practice room, thriving amaryllis in the welcome area, a shower (an Ashtanga luxury), and a backyard garden. The building’s owner even installed a special plumbing system to filter the water and a system in the walls to purify the air.
It’s a sweet setting for Mysore Ashtanga, a self-paced practice known for its rigid rules (no props, no music, and no drinking water during class, for example). “I don’t really even like to call it Mysore,” he says. “That sounds intimidating. I teach a personalized yoga practice.”
He suggests students do use props to avoid injury, and while Mysore is traditionally done at the crack of dawn, he offers classes in the early morning, late morning, and evening (recognizing that not everyone who might like Ashtanga can get up before the sun). He also skips Sundays, a nod to the fact that in modern life, it doesn’t have to be a six-days-a-week practice (and maybe suggesting he likes brunch?).
Another plus: Classes are small for now, with maybe five students in the early morning and 15 in the evening, meaning lots of attention and room to maneuver—a bonus if you’re looking for your own new vibe but haven’t tried Ashtanga before. —Ann Abel
New Vibe Yoga, $20 per class, 113 E. 2nd St., between First Ave. and Avenue A, East Village, www.newvibeyoga.com