I read internet mumblings that I. AM. YOU. was an A-grade yoga studio. My zone of existence for fitness doesn’t extend to Little Italy, so I’d never been. I had plans to meet pal Tracey (creator of Kale with a Side of Fries) who lives downtown for a workout + dinner date and that was impetus enough for me to venture to Mulberry Street.
Let’s dig in because you’ll want to be prepared.
The studio is located at 132 Mulberry Street and after you pass a slew of maitre ds shilling pasta-packed menus on your way from the Canal Street, you’ll arrive at a street-level elevator with no signage. You are here. There is a buzzer but (spoiler alert!) you don’t need it. Personally I thought this was cool, but I’m a huge fan of the “unmarked door = edgy” principle.
There is no waiting room and the check in takes place in the same room as the class. Let’s talk about this space. Have you ever been to a cool loft party downtown where there’s exposed brick, with Jean-Michel Basquiat-look alike art on the wall and a lot of attractive strangers dancing to electronic music spun by a live DJ? No big deal but I have. That’s what this yoga studio loft space looks and feels like.
In the room where you practice yoga there is:
- a DJ booth
- a full kitchen
- a dining room table
- a living room set up
There is still ample room to practice yoga. The room was dark and zen when we walked in, so I didn’t get a lay of the land before the class. During down dog, upside, through my legs I viewed a giant stainless steel fridge, I paused not just for breath but to shoot a short clip of “Cribs” with my eyes.
The studio comes equipped with yoga mats and blocks. They don’t charge to use a mat and no one brought their own. There is no locker room, because like I said there is ONE ROOM TOTAL.
The class itself is unique. We started with some chanting. I don’t mind a good call and response. How could I? 60s rock and roll is my fav. My issue is with chanting in a language I don’t know. Because really, I’m just making noises with my mouth. Which is fun, but I always wonder the deeper (real, translated) meaning. What did I just commit to? Did I just agree to join a sex cult in Sanskrit? Unclear. Then we did Ujjayu breath aka yogic nose breathing which does not calm me because I am hyperaware of my booger situation and I’m a total mouth breather.
The class progressed into a fast-paced flow. I liked it even if I couldn’t totally keep up. Lauren (the instructor and creator of the studio) played fast-paced hip hop music to match the flow. I always thought I’d love a yoga class set to upbeat music. There is a definite level of fun to it, but I think some of the zen was lost for me. Yoga is the one time I listen to soothing sounds or instrumental music at all. I associate those things with calming down. Turns out that works for me. A song came on during class and all I could think about was being in a party town in Colombia, which is the opposite of feeling present.
Lauren was a great teacher. She gave a lot of adjustments and really created a judgment-free zone. At one point I really couldn’t do the move she described and I looked over at Tracey and made a face. Lauren caught it and said “You’re doing it right!” Which was a bold-faced lie but the right thing to say.
If you’re looking for a fast-paced, upbeat unique yoga experience, this hour long class could be for you. She also offered live-DJ classes, so that booth is put to use.
Have you ever been to this studio? Or taken a yoga class set to hip hop music?