This year I made a commitment to stepping up my yoga practice. The purpose is not only to balance my running and strengthen my muscles, but to help bring balance and peace into my life. I broke my routine of hot yoga at Y7 and accepted an invite to check out Yo Yoga.
The studio is located on the upper east side of Manhattan and is the complete opposite of your trendy boutique fitness studio. Upon first glance, I did not know what to think. There are no bright lights, no large signage, no balloons, no citrus scents, and no branded clothing line for sale. That’s intentional. Founder Rebecca Weible “wanted no decor in the studio so students can turn their practice into whatever they wanted without distraction.” Rebecca and her brother renovated the second floor studio with their own two hands even laying the wooden floor panels themselves.
Yo Yoga is intimate. My class had fewer than ten students and it the studio felt like I was practicing in someone’s welcoming home. The white brick walls, the dim lights, and the blankets create a warm, comfortable atmosphere.
All aside, the best thing about Yo Yoga is Rebecca Weible herself. Rebecca is a former advertising professional who after a few years in the corporate world, pursued her passion of teaching yoga full-time. As someone who struggles to find balance in my own professional life, I admire her drive and courage to pursue her dreams. She understands the challenges her students face on a daily basis and uses yoga to help them find peace, humor, and strength.
Rebecca’s teaching style focuses heavily on alignment and heavy-breathing. She quickly saw that I was carrying tension in my shoulders during upward dog, and provided vocal cues to help me drop my shoulders and sink my hips into a deeper upward dog. I immediately found relief and was able to drop my hips lower in my upward dog.
I always appreciate when instructors come by and assist with an adjustment using their hands, but I often forget how a certain asana feels. Rebecca’s oral notes have stuck with me, and have guided me in future classes.
When I first started taking yoga, instructors used to ask if anyone was new to yoga and show us how to do each asana, or posture, properly. In today’s fitness environment, it’s almost expected for us yogis to know the basics and work towards the fancy poses ourselves as we get stronger.
And thanks to Instagram, many of us (myself included) want to learn how to do crazy handstands, forearm stands, dragonfly and the like. If you listen to the average yoga instructor, you can go from zero to sixty if you just keep trying.
But that’s just not true! There are foundational asanas that help you strengthen the vital muscles and gradually progress to a handstand. Rebecca is able to take the simplest asana and make it engaging by sharing that “this exercise (terrible) kickstand exercise helps you kick into your handstand.” It makes certain boring exercises bearable because it will help you get to your end goal.
So while I wasn’t expecting to find anything new and revolutionary at Yo Yoga, I actually ended up finding one of the best yoga instructors in New York City. It’s a bit of a hike for me from Brooklyn, but I will certainly be back for an occasional class with Rebecca…especially in the summer when the outdoor deck is open!
Thanks to Yo Yoga for having me!