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Kula Opens In SoHo!

When Nikki Vilella, co-owner of Kula Yoga Project, set out to find a space for the third location, Soho was not on her list.

“We never wanted to be here,” she said. “We aren’t fancy. And all those shoe boutiques and

handbag stores — that’s not our thing.”

But then she found the perfect location: a landmarked building in the heart of Soho on Broadway and Broome Street (481 Broadway) So she and co-founder Schuyler Grant reconsidered their options.

“We were enchanted by the idea of making a wellness, holistic healing space,” Nikki explained. "Since this location was already set up to have separate areas, we decided that we’d use the back area for body work, rather than create two studios like other locations.

It made sense creatively and financially. “It’s hard to make a $10,000 rent selling $20 yoga classes,” she points out. Grant and Vilella like collaboration and working with their favorite body workers would help pay the rent.

It’s not new for this gang. At their Williamsburg location, they share space with an all-natural café. So when the body work idea came to life, they tapped their favorites to see who was in.

Acupuncturist Oceana Baity and Reformer Pilates instructor Lindsay Ashmun, both Kula yoga instructors, will join KMI Structural Integrational Practitioner, Lauren Haythe, as permanent residents. “We constantly send referrals to these people. It’s great to be all under one roof."

Yoga? On the other side of the studio, is the sunny yoga room grounded with earthy accents - plants, a barn room door and wood shelving. It can hold up to 37 mats.

As for teachers, four new hires have come from Kula’s 75-hour advanced training - Jena Maenius, Cooper Chou, Ahmed Soliman and Kyle Marshall. The others will be Kula regulars like Aarona Ganesan, Jen Guarnieri, Jillian Turecki, Kevin Bigger, Magi Pierce, Margaret Mann, Rebecca Ketchum.

They are excited that it’s something new. I am so thankful because if they weren’t on board then this studio would be nothing,” said Nikki.

The full schedule in Soho offers classes almost every hour of Kula Flow and The Kula Hour. On the weekend, they'll teach Honey Flow (a hybrid of Kula Flow and Yin/Restorative) and a new class called, The Rub, which ties in the body work into the end of a yoga class.

“It’s a straight up Kula Hour 65 minutes, or 75 minute Kula Flow, and then you can stay for the led self-massage using Soma System props — rollers and balls.” Each massage focuses on one of six body parts like hips or shoulders or traps; and students are supplied with the right props to work on the particular area.

Lindsay Ashmun, Ariel Karass and Derek Cook teach The Rub class. Drop-in for only the self-massage part is $10.

It sounds well thought out, but can two Kulas succeed so close to each other? “We’ve purposefully differentiated class times from Tribeca,” said Nikki. “So if you miss one class you can come here. We don’t want our teachers competing or cannibalizing each other’s classes. So that’s been very intentional.”

Will New York yogis see a flood of Kula coupons to get Soho going?

“I would close my doors before I had to do that,” Nikki said. “I think it cheapens what yoga is, and what the classes are about. As teachers, we study all the time. We do teacher trainings. We are trying to help people improve their lives. I think it’s worth $20.” Well said.

They are however offering a discounted price of $15 for all classes between now and June 23rd – so get there soon to try out a deep flow class followed by a self-massage.

On June 23rd, Nikki and Schuyler will tandem teach a Kula Flow class from 6:30 - 8pm. Preregistration required. Click here to sign up.

They will also be hosting a Studio Warming Ho-Down cocktail party on the ground floor at Lululemon, free of charge, and open to all. From 8:00 - 10:00pm, it's Come One, Come All Rager, an opening fiesta on the 3rd floor to celebrate the sweet tip of the Kula triangle.

--Elysha Lenkin

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