Fitness & Health, New York, TravelThe Kula Experience

Unlike other yoga studios, Kula prefers to call itself a project- an apt name considering that practicing at Kula is a true experience. Located 4 floors above an unmarked door in an unnamed building, Kula operates in a simple space with 2 rooms and a small changing area. There’s nothing fancy about the studio but Kula offers some of the most genuine yoga classes that I’ve experienced.

I primarily practice yoga for its physical benefits and as such enjoy a demanding class. The ones that I’ve tried at Kula have all been challenging and each one has pushed me to try something more advanced than my comfort level. But even though others were holding crow for minutes while I was still working on squatting and jumping into handstands while I was just testing one leg at a time, I never felt uncomfortable or intimidated by the rest of the class. The instructors are caring and patient and helped me make sure that even my most basic poses were aligned correctly. That said, Kula Flow is definitely geared for those who have practiced for some period of time. Poses are usually announced in Sanskrit and the flow can be vigorous.

But what really made Kula a special place for me is that something about the practice there also makes it spiritual. Instructors don’t say comical things about your energy or your soul but instead encouraged me to focus on the task at hand which incidentally led me to work harder to uphold my intentions and more determined not to give up.

Classes (aside from Kula Hour) are marked hour and a half but usually run long. Though the studio generally keeps a low profile, its loyal clients must be spreading the word because classes are usually full. Get there early or you may be turned away at the door. But with that said, Kula does a great job balancing their class size so you’ll never feel like you don’t have enough space.

Kula also offers incredibly well priced retreats on an ongoing basis. An 8 day trip to Panama, for example, will only run you $1350 including all meals, classes and lodging. Alternatively, you could also take a 3 day retreat to Massachusetts for under $400. Their trips are a great way for non-New Yorkers to get a taste of the Kula experience.  More information can be found at kulayoga.com.

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