Walking around mid or downtown Manhattan, yoga studios are starting to battle with Starbucks for real estate. However, it’s a different story when venturing uptown around neighborhoods that lie north of Central Park where finding a studio can be more of a challenge.
Luckily, there is a new studio opening in Harlem, just in time to combat the cold of the winter. Unity Yoga, located at 350 Saint Nicholas Street in between 127th and 128th, finished construction and started
When asked how Unity Yoga differs from other studios, founder Sarah Rehman said that “Unity Yoga prioritizes convenience. Manhattanites work really hard, and it’s challenging to schedule time.” Unity Yoga encourages a daily practice by making classes accessible.” Not only will her studio feature hour-long classes at times that accommodate the work day, including 5:45 am and 8:30 pm, but Sarah also offers such conveniences as free mat and towel rentals and free Wifi in the lounge areas where students can commune before and after classes.
Another unique factor is that Unity offers both heated and non-heated classes. For the heated flow classes, the studio will reach a comfortably warm 85 degrees, allowing for optimum muscle stretching without overwhelming students with heat. Each of Unity’s classes will have a specific focus such as core strength, hip openers, arm balances, etc. The Vinyasa style classes will be physical, which as Rehman noted is intentioned to suit busy New Yorkers with a minimum amount of time to invest in themselves. “Some students may find that our approach offers an intense workout. But our mission is to offer accessible self-care. We believe that, through asana practice, we can ease students’ restlessness and anxiety.”
The decor of the space boasts a modern and industrial feel, with exposed concrete flooring and ceiling in the lobby, lending to opportune space for future murals and community-based artwork, Rehman says. She has opted for the more expensive but preferred bamboo flooring, as it provides optimum support and comfort for practicing.
The location is perhaps the most obvious component that sets the studio apart from others. Says Rehman about her Harlem home-base, “Saint Nicholas Street is great, first because of the proximity to express trains – on a good day it takes only 8 minutes to Columbus Circle and 20 minutes to West 4th Street. Second, this location is a 15-20 minute walk from Columbia U, City College and the Lenox Ave restaurant row. Also, Unity Yoga is surrounded by affordable, middle-income housing. Typically studios that offer amenities like the ones [we do] are located in high-income neighborhoods.”
Rehman has sought out experienced teachers, Gabriella Barnstone, Julia Lehrman, Piiling Junek, Amanda Kerpius,Rachael Nicks, at various studios around the city, and was impressed by the sense of presence each one brought to their class, their contagious energy, and their knacks for creative sequencing, all of which she wants to have as standard elements of the classes she offers.
Right around Thanksgiving, the yoga community has something exciting to be grateful for: Unity Yoga. A new studio in an up-and-coming location, opened by a young yet experienced yogi striving to offer students a place to go to gift themselves with heat, movement, play, and peace.
Special offering to new students: One month unlimited for $48. For more information, click here.