“Sometimes when people come for the first time, they apologize that they’re going to sweat,” says YogaSpark founder Lauren Porat. “You have permission to sweat! Let it go! Yoga is all about letting go. We’ll clean it up.”
Besides, you won’t have much of a choice. YogaSpark’s hour-long classes are all hot power yoga, in a room heated to 90-95 degrees, with 60 percent humidity. Unlike at studios that stick to specific routines, YogaSpark teachers have freedom to mix it up. “Every class is different,” says Porat. “Every teacher brings his or her own creative inspiration. They’ve trained all over the world, and my own practice has changed so much from taking classes with all of these different people.” The goal is to have seven or eight classes, open to beginners and experts alike, available per day. (The quirkiest is the BlacklightSpark class, Monday through Thursday at 7:15 p.m.) Towels and mats are included, and YogaSpark has spacious locker rooms with showers—six for women, four for men.
Porat got the idea for YogaSpark after moving to Westchester and being disappointed that there wasn’t the range of fitness options she had grown accustomed to in the city. “Everywhere I went, there was incense and Buddha statues and not much of a workout vibe, except in class. Yoga is a full mind-body-spirit workout, but I realized that most people are in it for the workout.” So she opened YogaSpark in Mamaroneck four years ago. “A year or two later, I realized that we really had changed lives. You could see the transformations, the community we’d built. The first studio came about because I had a personal need. For the second studio, I was compelled to spread it to other people.” She considered all sorts of other locales before falling for Tribeca. “The neighborhood is so in line with our values—high-end, community-minded, full-service, and down to earth. And this is a really cool space!” The Duane Street space, most recently home to New York Nautical, has a large room with no columns—perfect for a fitness studio. There will be 40 people max in each class, and the studio graphics are still to come.
In the front room, you’ll find branded merchandise—a collaboration with Rie + Ryn—and performance wear from Koral and HPE. “I’ve sweat-tested every brand,” says Porat. “The thing with hot yoga is you have to wash everything in hot water. You just have to!” See for yourself: As an opening special, buy five, ten, or twenty YogaSpark classes, and you’ll get 10% off and one, two, or four guest passes, respectively.
YogaSpark is at 158 Duane (between W. Broadway and Hudson); 212-602-9961; yoga-spark.com.