While we love an hour-and-a-half practice, most days of the week we just don’t have that luxury.
Especially in the fall, when a back-to-work, back-to-school, get-it-done mood descends on the city. We need our yoga more than ever, but scheduling it is harder than Side Crow pose.
So we test-drove a handful of hour-long classes at studios across the city where anyone can drop in, check in with your breath, and check back at your desk pronto.
Which studios offer these abbreviated classes, who goes over the hour, and what can you expect?
Express Classes take off like a rocket—and keep you moving for the entire hour. To do this, elements of a full-length class are woven into the concentrated flow.
“There’s just not enough time for a lot of set-up or lead-in, they all just get blended in,” explains instructor Marisa Sako.
That means you’ll be practicing pranayama while in motion, and blowing through challenging poses and inversions without stopping to mop your brow. And that’s not easy.
Clocked in at: 65 minutes on all visits
Address: 708 Sackett St., btwn Fourth and Fifth Aves., Park Slope, Brooklyn, 347-987-3162, www.bendandbloom.com
We expected “Spiritual Warrior 1-Hour Class” to be heavy on chanting and light on practice, but the opposite was true.
The class sequence is always the same: Jessica got us right into down dog, followed by a flowing 50-minutes of standing poses, twists, and forward bends—with Jivamukti’s signature emphasis on long holds: e.g., shoulder stand lasted a full four minutes.
The last ten minutes of class were devoted to silent meditation, and a tiny bit of chanting and savasana.
Clocked in at: Exactly one hour to the second
Address: 841 Broadway, btwn 13th and 14th Sts., Union Square, 212-353-0214, www.jivamuktiyoga.com
Kula Hour is actually 65 minutes on the schedule. And the entire class is devoted to asana. You might even chant Om from tadasana.
Most instructors, whether it’s Marisa Sako, Alex Auder, or Summer Shirey, take the same approach—slipping all the elements of a 90-minute practice into a smart, layered flow where you’ll encounter alignment and breath-work cues.
The result is super rounded, sweaty vinyasa practice. Time given to mastering new, difficult poses is on you.
Clocked in at: 65-70 minutes on average
Address: 28 Warren St., at Chambers, Tribeca, 212-945-4460
With 15-minutes given to harmonium, sermon, and chanting, I wasn’t sure how much time we’d have for some serious asana.
But it turns out there was plenty. I worked up a serious sweat flying into Crow, opening hips in Pigeon, and opening everything in Full Wheel. Teachers pack it in.
And yet, if we hadn’t stopped for Kalabati breathing, we would have finished on time.
Clocked in at: 72 minutes. The hour-long was a misnomer. Class often goes over.
Address: 59 W. 19th St., at Sixth Ave, 3rd fl., Chelsea, 212-414-2903, www.laughinglotus.com
At Om’s 60-minute open-level class, we wasted no time getting into difficult poses—after about 10 minutes I was trying to balance in half moon.
Even though spiritual instruction was limited to a few opening Oms, the class felt infused with something more substantial (and peaceful) than an athletics-only practice.
Fitting this vigorous vinyasa into their lunch break were just ten other yogis, so there was lots of room to fall over during Warrior Three, and lots of personal attention and adjustments.
Clocked in at: 65 minutes
Address: 256 W. 37th St., btwn Fifth and Sixth Aves., Herald Square, 212-616-8661, www.omfactorynyc.com
Hour-long classes, in the stunning studio, come with a few minutes of harmonium, some brief chanting, and a hit or miss spirituality lesson, depending on the instructor.
In one class, it was an unfocused rambling and time-waster, in another (with co-founder Stacey), it was an interesting, modern take on one of the yoga sutras, which helped me set a class intention.
I loved how Stacey teaches you to get in and out of poses correctly and more deeply, without disrupting the class flow. And the hour-long classes are never full, so there’s plenty of room to swan dive.
Cost: $13 (Regular classes are $18)
Clocked in at: 60 minutes on all visits
Address: 135 W. 20th St., 6th fl., btwn. Sixth and Seventh Aves., Chelsea, 212-675-4555, www.yogamayanewyork.com
Yoga Sutra’s 45-minute Lunch Vinyasa was the shortest of the classes we evaluated.
But instead of being fast-paced to make up for lack of time, it was a slow, steady vinyasa with lots of thoughtful instruction. This would be a great class for new students easing their way into a regular practice.
There was no spiritual teaching, and no inversions, and no elbow room. The class was packed mat-to-mat. Bonus: showers!
Clocked in at: 45 minutes
Cost: $19 (regular classes are $21)
Address: 6 E. 39th St., 2nd fl., at Fifth Ave., Midtown East, 212-490-1443, www.yogasutranyc.com
Instructors at the two studios have the 65-minute class down to a science. It’s a model based on no-nonsense sun salutations, and fast-paced instruction.
Expect more chaturangas than in most 90-minute classes, an ab sequence (especially if you’re in Hilaria Thomas’s class), and tough balance poses and inversions in every class.
Beginning yogis build a practice quickly here, and more seasoned yogis feel free to show off their jump backs and tripod headstands.
Cost: $10 ($5 for students)
Clocked in at: 65 minutes on all visits
Address: 99 University at 12th St., 6th fl., Union Square, 212-995-5553
666 Broadway at Bond, 3rd fl., Noho, 212-845-9973, www.yogavida.com