Wednesday, January 31, 2018
At East Yoga Center
Text and photos by Stacie Joy
On a recent blustery Friday evening, I stopped by the warm and cozy East Yoga Center, on the second floor at 96 Avenue B near Sixth Street, to talk with studio manager and yoga instructor Amber Gregory. During our conversation, I learned more about the studio, the January push toward wellness and yoga in general.
Tell me a little bit about East Yoga Center and how it began.
East Yoga has always been a refuge in the heart of the East Village and a place where one can find approachable yoga instruction for every body. Originally founded by Kari Harendorf, we started on 13th Street and Avenue C in the early 2000s. Then about 10 years ago, Kari moved away and Katie Childers, a passionate student at the time, decided to take over to keep East Yoga alive and well.
Since then, we’ve weathered plenty of challenges including flooding from [superstorm] Sandy, a fire that came just after the floods, and the need to find a new home. We’ve thankfully been able to survive and thrive because of all of our dedicated students and teachers in the East Village community who have stayed with us and supported us throughout the process. We love the East Village!
You advertise as a vinyasa studio. What is vinyasa-style yoga and what makes East Yoga different than other yoga studios or gyms?
Vinyasa is a flow style of yoga, where we coordinate breath with movement between postures. East Yoga supports a safe, fun, alignment-focused practice. We are different than other yoga studios and gyms because we are able to offer a greater amount of individual attention within a supportive, home-grown community.
How would you describe the community of people at East Yoga?
Community is the best, most important thing we have going at East Yoga. We are a down-to-earth, fun-loving group of East Village locals.
You’ve been in the East Village for more than a decade now. What’s the best thing about being here?
It’s home! And all of the interesting, cool people who come to practice with us have become part of our extended family. When you walk into East Yoga, you can sense that vibe. We try to create a judgment-free, comfortable space, with supportive and understanding teachers, students, and staff.
Do you see an influx of new participants at the start of the new year?
January is always a time of year when we see an influx of new students. We’re happy to support everyone’s efforts toward better health with their resolutions, and we hope they’ll stay committed throughout the year!
Do you find that people stick with yoga after getting started? What tips or advice can you offer people who are new to yoga to help them?
Many people get hooked from day one. There is nothing else like yoga to make you feel connected to yourself while gaining immense health benefits. If you are new to yoga, we’d suggest starting with our basics class to get a solid foundation of postures and alignment. If you can make yoga part of your regular routine and create a schedule that is sustainable for you, you will quickly see the benefits that yoga can bring to anyone.