Yoga Union is a destination Yoga center for students who would like to study with well-trained, experienced teachers. We offer classes for all levels. All classes are based on the sound placement of the body and intelligent sequencing supported by the breath. YU offers you the chance to have fun crossing over from one kind of practice to another, knowing that the principles governing the practice will remain consistent.
Everyone can do yoga. You don’t have to be pretzel. You start where you are and go from there.
It’s a good idea to match the levels of classes you’re taking so that if you take Level one Structural Clarity classes, you take a Level One flow and enjoy this “Cross-Over” practice.
The best level is your level. A strong yoga practice reveals itself far more through the intelligence of the work and genuinely inspired, intuitive grace than through the demands of the poses. Through all the classes, from those emphasizing structural clarity to those celebrating flow, governing principles allow for a safe, illuminating practice appropriate to your level.
Level One is for beginners or those wishing to refresh their knowledge of the basic standing poses, beginning supported shoulderstand, mild backbends and forward bends. No need for prior experience. Note: These are not therapeutic classes. If you have back issues, please visit www.yogaunionbackcare.com for our class schedule for the Yoga Union Center for Backcare & Scoliosis classes also located at YU, 37 West 28th street.
Level Two is for those who have been practicing for six months to a year and are ready to undertake more demanding inversions (headstand, handstand), deeper backbends and forward extensions, and hip work.
Level Three/Intermediate +/Teacher Track presupposes a committed, regular self-practice and class attendance. At this point, it is assumed that you have a regular inversions practice, understand prop use, including basic wall-rope setups, and make a point of reviewing class material so that you may support your fellow students with your own attentive work. If you have had no structural yoga of any kind, it is best to start with Level One classes to familiarize yourself with the language and approach, and to learn basic prop usage. The Tuesday and Thursday classes are challenging. The Tuesday and Thursday morning classes are not Backcare classes. Please do take class at the Backcare Center if you have a back, neck or shoulder problem.
Teachers’ Class: For teachers and highly experienced practitioners. Permission required. Email before coming, or better yet take class with Alison on Tuesday or Thursday morning if you can. This class is designed to help you hone your own practice and observational skills, with time for Q&A.
Flow with Confidence classes allow students to work in a fluid, meditative form, building heat and linking the breath more deeply to the movement, while remaining conscious of Structural Clarity and the proper opening of the body through knowledgeable sequencing. Vinyasa Krama in fact means both to flow and to “carefully place” or move skillfully from one thing to another. If you work mostly with alignment, taking a flow class will challenge you to find your placement “on the go.”
Flow with Ropes classes combine the meditation-in-movement quality of a solid flow class with work on the ropes to provide increased release, range of motion, strengthening in different relations to gravity and hands-free inversions in the context of a flow class.
Gentle Yoga moves at a slow pace, based on principles of alignment and the use of props as needed. This class is perfect for those who haven’t been “active” in a while, or those who simply need to work at a slower pace. Everyone who walks into the studio, regardless of age or level of practice, will be able to take this class. This class is NOT A RESTORATIVE CLASS. If you are looking for a restorative class please join us on Sundays at 4pm.
Liquid Steel™ vinyasa classes combine essential Yoga poses, warm up and cool down around an intense peak-fitness workout in the middle. You will move from pose to pose in a more demanding way to forge stronger, more resilient movement chains, striking balances on a single breath, and using bursts of rapid repetitive movement to improve reflexes. A great lunchtime workout. Level II and up.
Ropes with Alison West: Working with the ropes allows the yoga student to freely lengthen the spine, create space in the joints, clarify alignment safely, increase range of motion and strengthen against gravity. You must have at least one year of yoga and have mastered all the fundamental standing poses. This class is not appropriate for beginners. Please note: This class is not part of our backcare program. If you have lumbar or cervical herniations, consider our backcare classes. If you have shoulder or wrist issues, know that working with the ropes will develop arm and wrist strength, but that this class may not be the best place for you to start your healing process.
Ropes Classes methodically help you understand how to use the ropes safely, from the basics of Down Dog to full inversions. They are an outstanding preparation for the Ropes Certification Program.
Restorative Yoga guides the body and mind to sustained release, allowing you to hold the poses for longer through the intelligent use of props, including the rope wall. Restorative yoga is a perfect tonic for everyone. It’s common to think you don’t need this kind of rest, but once you’ve tasted the depth of relaxation and rejuvenation that can be achieved in a restorative class, you’ll want to make time every week for these perfect one-and-a-half-hour vacations. All levels.
Self-Practice is one of the most valuable ways to study and evolve as a student and teacher. Yoga Union is offering its beautiful space to students with at least one year’s regular study on Friday afternoons 2-4 pm, so that you can delve into aspects of your own practice in the silent company of others. You will be able to use most of the props in the studio. Permission is required to use the the wall ropes if you have not completed the YU Rope Certification program. If you are not sure about how to proceed with a self-practice, you can sign up for the Self-Practice Workshop offered during the 200-hour Teacher Training.
Structural Clarity classes give you time to explore individual poses in depth, modify them, and reach new understanding and ability at every level. These classes are recommended for all students at the appropriate level. If you generally practice Vinyasa, it makes sense to take a Structural Clarity class once a week to illumine the work you do while flowing. For example, you will find time to understand all the inversions and develop safe practices and preparations for each one.
In this group meditation gathering, we will explore practical and esoteric aspects of meditation. Using analytical, visualization, and mindfulness techniques, we will meditate on issues central to our everyday lives, spiritual growth, and meditation practice: the nature of compassion, the importance of one’s ethical principles, how to overcome obstacles to single-pointed focus. This practice, in a group setting of like-minded practitioners, helps us open our hearts, focus our minds, and strengthen our spiritual resolve, enabling us to be more loving and kind in our relationship with ourselves and the people around us. Meditation also allows us to renew our devotion to high spiritual aspirations and ever more gracefully contend with life’s challenges. Some sessions will involve group discussion and writing a meditation journal. The gathering is suitable for both beginning and advanced meditators.
Classes to look forward to:
Kids Class is a great way to introduce children to the fun and benefits of yoga at an early age. The Teens class can help young people between the ages of 13 and 18 to cope with the intense changes of this period of growth, change, and, often, stress by strengthening and releasing the body and introducing the quieting effects of a regular and deep breath. Short meditation at end of class.
Pranayama is the art of sensitizing yourself to your breath and learning to modify it to touch more deeply all the organs, the nervous system and, from the yogic perspective, to store vital energy in the subtle system. It helps to still the mind and prepare it for meditation. Level II and up
Women’s Yoga deliciously and wonderfully supports a woman’s body and the hormonal and physical changes that occur with menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.
Yoga Nidra takes restorative yoga to another level. This deep relaxation technique can be seen as a reclining, guided meditation at the edge of a dream-like state for the purpose of deeper understanding or goal-setting. All levels.