Length: 1 hr 40 mins
Studio: OM Yoga | Union Square, NYC
Instructor: Cyndi Lee
What to expect: This centrally located 11,000 sq ft space houses 4 large yoga studios for group classes and 4 small private studios along with various changing rooms and the OM store. While the front desk staff tends to give you a chilly reception, the bright colorful walls and overstuffed furniture makes you feel right at home. There are showers and loads of props for you to use during class. With over 100 classes a week, often four taking place at the same time, you will be sure to find one that suits your needs.
Our take: OM Yoga founder Cyndi Lee has been a staple on the New York yoga scene since before there was a scene. Having moved seamlessly from a dance and choreographer background into teaching yoga full time around the world, you can easily see how movement influences her daily life. Cyndi has grown OM Yoga into such an international draw that she is usually traveling the world teaching. So when she showed up on the NYC schedule for fall, we couldn't pass up the chance to take her class. Often when practicing with world-renowned instructors in an intimate setting, they tend to treat the class as less a test of physical endurance and more of a workshop with time for demonstrations and Q&A. Cyndi's class was no exception. After some varied rounds of surya namaskara she led us to the wall to practice handstand. Here's where her words of wisdom and years of practice shown brightest. Student's levels varied from those who could not get upside to those who could press up in the middle of the room. No matter your skill level, Cyndi offered tips, suggestions, modifications and even assists so that at the end of the 15 minutes, everyone was able to leave the room claiming that they stood on their hands that day. What impressed and surprised me most about Cyndi Lee was her familiarity with the students, (she remembered people that she hadn't seen in 3 years and asked them where they had been), and her sense of humor. She is so silly! We've only ever taken class in the larger studios and the OM way of practice is for the students to set up their mats so they face each other. While this might make some uncomfortable, Cyndi had us confront our mirror images head on by making funny faces at each other, shouting out wild phrases across the room and helping our neighbors get into proper alignment. While the class wasn't the most challenging I've ever done, Cyndi's warm, open personality would draw me back again as clearly there is a lot to learn about yoga and life from this master. - L.S.
difficulty: 3/5 atmosphere: 4/5 likely to return: 4/5