“You get in a yoga class, and you get so serious,” says Tamara Behar. “I like to be silly. I don’t like to take myself too seriously. A tangerine…is sweeter and stronger than an orange. So that ‘slightly sweeter,’ that’s kind of how I teach.”
That explains the name of her new studio, Tangerine Hot Power Yoga, which just opened right next to the Hoyt-Schermerhorn (A,C, G) subway stop in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.
Behar studied with luminaries Baron Baptiste and Elena Brower and taught at various studios like Prana Power Yoga before setting up her own yoga shop, and she’s hoping to create a space that’s welcomes sweaty sun salutations—and a local community, from novices to handstand pros. (Surprisingly, the trendy borough doesn’t have that many destinations for heated yoga, either, aside from Prana and various Bikram studios.)
“I want this warm, but ‘Brooklyn urban’ vibe,” she says. “You’ll walk in here and you won’t be intimidated.”
Behar, 47, was an advertising creative director for 15 years, so dreaming up a welcoming, urban design came naturally. She worked with an architect to create a front space that feels more like a cafe than a yoga studio, with suspended tin ceilings and lots of reclaimed, weathered wood.
A long wooden bench runs alongside one wall, opposite a counter-top with stools, providing lots of space to sit and linger after class to chat with a friend while sipping juices from Liquiteria and munching on almonds from communal bowls. “Just the seating alone, that’s what creates community,” Behar says.
The rest of the space is petite but pretty, with small areas with lockers for changing, and classroom space for 40 Manduka Eko mats (which are included in the class price, along with towels).
And Tangerine’s yoga style is wholly indicative of Behar’s training, melding the heat and intensity of Baptiste Hot Power Yoga with Elena Brower’s heart-opening flow. In other words, the room is hot and the instruction is warm. (Even the heating system itself is more gentle than normal, with radiant heat ceiling panels that silently raise the temperature in the room—no blasting heaters.)
“The students I’ve gotten to know in Brooklyn want to feel challenged, but I also want them to feel empowered, learn from themselves, and not take it so seriously,” Behar says. “Yoga’s changed my life in so many ways but I have so many struggles still, and I’m in it with you. We’re all struggling together.” It’ll feel worth it when you walk out, though, fully sweaty and centered. —Lisa Elaine Held
Tangerine Hot Power Yoga, $22 per class, 225 Schermerhorn St., Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, NY, 11201, (718) 855-8622, www.tangerinehotpoweryoga.com
(Photos: Tangerine Hot Power Yoga)