I’ve mentioned before that I used to be a huge yogi (before I discovered barre) and I still enjoy taking classes periodically. During my last month of Classpass, I made an effort to take yoga once a week–mostly to help deal with stress, but partially to help me find my perfect yoga studio in NYC (in the words of Bono, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for).
My mission took me to Laughing Lotus, a studio that looked a bit more hippy-dippy than where I usually go, but also had a wide range of classes that looked fast-paced and creative. Little did I know how creative the studio would be…read on to learn more.
Laughing Lotus has two locations: Brooklyn (Williamsburg) and Manhattan (Flatiron). I signed up for class at the Manhattan location because I’m lazy. The studio is sort of hard to find–it’s in a generic office building that doesn’t list businesses by floor (pro tip: it’s on the third floor; I just saved you a game of elevator roulette). LL, as I now refer to it, (I decided this was better than L^2 if I want to actually have friends and readers) is down a long hallway and the studio is bright, hippie-like, and playful–think lots of pink, orange, and purple on the walls, loud wall paintings and decorations, and the studio’s signature “glitter bar” for the Kesha-inspired. This location has about three studios (I think? I didn’t actually count!), a small boutique, couches to sit on, and some vegan food and beverage items for sale. There are a couple of bathroom stalls but no real locker room/changing area that I’m aware of. The rooms have cubbies for your bags, but they fill up fast. If you’re a member, the studio offers mat storage, too.
If you check out the instructors’ page on the website, you’ll see that they’re an eclectic range of individuals. The studio’s founder, Dana Trixie Flynn, looks kind of like Jamie Lee Curtis post-makeover in Freaky Friday if her character went on a yoga retreat.
I took class with Felipe, who began class with a story that we then chanted back to him in Sanskrit (I think), responsively, while he played the accordion (???). Needless to say, it wasn’t my usual start to class! I haven’t chanted anything responsively since Rosh Hashona services at temple, and unlike services, this wasn’t followed with a bagel brunch for the group 🙁 .
The class flow itself, once we got into the yoga, was awesome–very creative, lots of poses I hadn’t done in a long time, sweaty yet steady, and with optional challenges like a cross-legged crow pose and some handstand practice. Felipe offered a clearly well-thought-out flow and moved around the room making adjustments. He seems to have a solid following, too–lots of the students looked like regulars, and the class was packed.
I took “Soul Sweat,” the studio’s 60-minute power flow class. One of my favorite aspects of this studio is its unique, nontraditional flow. Rather than nonstop sun salutations, we worked through a variety of poses that had us turning around and facing the back of the room, testing our balance (dancer into warrior 3, anyone?), and overall challenging ourselves as the flows built on themselves. Because this is a fast-moving class (and since this is their “all-levels” class) that moves between lots of poses, I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for those new to yoga; you’ll definitely be lost. However, the studio offers a “Basic Flow” class that’s geared toward beginners; this probably moves at a slower pace.
One of my main qualms with yoga is that it can get boring after about a half hour. This might speak more to the fact that I have trouble relaxing and clearing my mind, but hey, I know what I like and I need to stay engaged. I signed up for the studio’s hour-long class for this reason, but I honestly wasn’t ready for class to end. I haven’t done a 90 minute yoga class in years, but I’d definitely try one at Laughing Lotus because I don’t think I’d get bored!
This studio is, in a word, “crunchy.” The space looks more like an artist’s community than a yoga studio, and the teachers and members fit the same vibe. It looks like they have a good amount of members/regulars, and it seems like there’s a nice bond among the community here. Perhaps one day I’ll be regular enough here that I can use the glitter bar and be “funky” and “eccentric” rather than “in need of a shower” and “a nuisance to the clean-up crew.”
Sixty-minute classes are $22, and 75-90 minute classes are $25. Mats are available to rent for $2. The studio is also on Classpass.