FREE Yoga Classes in NYC: Yoga to the People

“Yoga” meaning “union” in sanskrit originated in ancient India and is a meditative practice that connects mind, body and spirit. You don’t have to be a gymnast to do yoga, and you certainly can start at any age. You can use your practice to strengthen and tone, and leave it on the mat. Or you can live your practice. It’s all really what you make of it. I’ve studied since I was a senior in high school, and from the very first day I walked into yoga class, I knew I’d study forever. It quiets my mind, calms my soul, and keeps me fit and collected for those worst travel days (or life days) when everything goes wrong. When I got to New York a month ago, I realized the long hours at the office (in combination with excessive coffee drinking and eating chinese take out every night) had me fast on the road to clogged arteries and a stress level higher than the skyscrapers.  So, in complete desperation, I asked everyone I knew where a good yoga studio was…

For most yoga-lovers, breath and flow is an important weekly (if not daily) ritual. But, when you’re caught in the whirlwind that is “vacation”, visiting your yoga mat is probably low on your list of priorities. Fortunately, if you’re visiting New York City (or Berkley or San Francisco for that matter) I have good news for you. Buried in the heart of the East Village on St. Marks Place, Yoga to the People makes keeping up your yoga, while traveling, easy. The studio offers several free, hour-long daily classes where you can stop in, stretch out, and take off to continue your NYC trip.

About the Classes:

Classes cater to all levels of yoga (beginning, intermediate and difficult). Whether this is your first yoga class, or you’ve been practicing for years, you’ll be challenged, encouraged and reminded to attend to your body and your breath because it’s your practice. Through its free-spirited, non-competitive atmosphere, this studio epitomizes the relationship between flow and breath, between body and earth. Yoga to the People’s experienced teachers will offer you a series of flows that explore your limitations.

The studio is supported on a donation basis by class attendees, so whether that means donating your time, spare cash (suggested at $10 per class),  or positive word of mouth, there is no pressure. At the end of the flows, the teacher will have you rest in your savasana pose while he or she reads an inspirational quote. The last long run of the traditional gong-symbol leaves you with positive, healing vibrations you’ve created in your practice.

Benefits of Yoga:

  • Yoga quiets the mind and brings awareness to the muscles.
  • Yoga helps tone and sculpt muscles while gaining strength, flexibility and balance.
  • Yoga helps people decompress and achieve a sense of inner peace, aiding in healing injury or disease.
  • Yoga provides a cooling, soothing alternative to de-stress and detoxify the body.

Yoga to the People’s Motto:

There will be no correct clothes, There will be no proper payment, There will be no correct answers, No glorified teachers, No ego, no script, no pedestals, No you’re not good enough, or rich enough, This yoga is for everyone, This sweating and breathing and becoming, This knowing glowing feeling, Is for the big small weak and strong, Able and crazy, Brothers sisters grandmothers, The mighty and the meek, Bones that creak, Those who seek, The power is for everyone, Yoga to the people, All bodies rise.

Other NYC Studio Locations:

Yoga to the People has two more NYC studios that offer classes less frequently in different styles. For traditional hot yoga visit the Yoga to the People studio on 27th St.  For Hot Vinyasa flow visit the Yoga to the People studio on 38th St.

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