Since Memorial Day, Nick Velkov, the owner of Yoga Agora in Astoria, has quietly and successfully opened asecond studio. But unlike many "second locations", this studio doesn't sit in the same neighborhood boasting the same name. In fact, it's not even in the same borough. Brahman Yoga is smack in the middle of Central Harlem, equidistant from both the 1 and A, B, C and D stops at 501 West 145th St.
While the two studios may not share a borough, the interiors, vibe of the space and business plan are very much the same. It's all very simple and low-key, much like Velkov himself. Located on the corner of Amsterdam and 145, the studio is in Loft 3 up a short elevator ride or a skinny winding wood staircase that almost reminds you of a child's playhouse.
Once inside, the expansive length of the room and wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows makes you catch your breath. There are several arched doorways and tons of ornate architectural trim that give the room all the character it needs.
Velkov is humble and insistent that the studio overall is a collaborative effort. His friends, Ella New and Matt Wells, who originally found it for him, serve as the studios caretakers, coming every night to mop the floors and clean the windows to make sure the sunlight is allowed to stream in for the following morning's 7am class.
Even choosing the paint for the walls was a democratic effort. The staff decided to change the shocking orange walls to a subtle off white with a light grey trim to allow the natural beauty of the space to speak for itself. Velkov added wooden candle sconces to the walls and tons of potted plants and vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes and even jalapeños around the room thanks to his farmer friend Matt who stops by weekly to make sure the plants are healthy and flourishing.
There are no class packages or memberships. Just good old-fashioned drop in classes. Weekday classes are held at 7am, 11am, 1pm, 5pm, 7pm and 9pm. On the weekends classes are held on the even hours at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 6pm and 8pm. Velkov likes having classes at the same time everyday as he enjoys the consistency and feels it is easier for students to remember.
All 75-minute classes are only $5 and there are two 60-minute donation classes (7am and 1pm) on weekdays and one at 2pm on weekends. By adding the donation-based options Velkov figures students can choose how much they want to spend on yoga per week by mixing and matching the $5 classes with some donation time slots to find a cost to yoga ratio that's manageable for everyone.
Velkov hopes to add additionally classes as the need organically rises for them. Check the Brahman Yoga website for the most up to date info on classes and teachers.