NYC’s SOUK YOGA STUDIO:
When a Berlin nightclub meets a teacher training in India, recovers in Marrakech + then does an Architectural Digest shoot.
Pumping beats, a gold ceiling, a packed out floor of writhing sweaty bodies all moving in unison. A casual moment for that Union Square institution on any day of the week in the city that never sleeps, especially that one Thursday evening post-work.
This was not, however, a nightclub: It was Jivamukti Manhattan, a mecca for so many yoga practitioners and spirit seekers. I was taken there by someone I would call a coolhunter with ease. There was no space for a water bottle, let alone another mat. Regardless, I was called forth and space was found.
Having spent a big chunk of my life losing myself exploring dance floors, I would leave these moments with an infusion of joy in my heart, and yet still feel grounded. The high, and yet no come-down…? YES PLEASE. That experience prompted several more years of practice with the school. It was my destination in the city, until in December 2019 it closed its doors. *Gutting for many, to say the least!
And then Covid hit. Which doesn’t really need more words to narrate how shitty it’s been. Amongst all the rough crap from this wonky period of time are emerging some real diamonds of note (lotus and the mud, and all that). Let’s talk about SOUK YOGA STUDIO, on New York’s W27th Street. I was fortunate enough to visit on my recent reunion with the city.
When the world seems to be imploding, there are a few simple things that are required and yet so often ignored or missed…the old philosophical trifecta – beauty, goodness + truth. SOUK STUDIO offers up all three, right out of the elevator door.
Cleverly plotted walkways and rooms meet high ceilings and yet higher levels of finishing, all in a sexy colour palette. Sometimes spaces just flow, seemingly effortlessly, and they’ve pulled it off, and yet it is obvious how much work and thought has gone into its conception, all the way through to its delivery.
I am a stickler for detail (my ex-business partner haaaated me for seeing a precious stone that was set fractionally crooked in its gold mount), and I struggled to find fault at SOUK.
A few of my favourite elements:
- White oak flooring (reclaimed, of course) in a nude (ergo matt) floor varnish – (and no, gloss is never ok, ok?). You can FEEL the history under you.
- Disco ball in the main practice room – thrice times yes to this, all studios need one. It is a luxury essential to uplift the practice.
- A sound system that will vibrate anyone’s spleen into submission (my favourite way to move).
- Schmick wall lights and soft ceiling lighting that gives an ambience too often overlooked in studios.
- Handmade tiles in the front, and then blue tile grout in the bathrooms – HULLO?! Such a nice touch.
- THAT alter tho…drool emoji (can I say that about a spiritual place of worship? Just did.)
All these things culminate as if a love-child manifestation of an all-weekend-of-clubbing-in-Berlin (coz, you know 😉 ) on the way home from a teacher training in India, followed by recovery in an exclusive Marrakech retreat, ending in an 8 page shoot for Architectural Digest.
Two teacher-treasures whose practice I am more familiar with are there (amongst MANY more – see listing below). I got to practice with both:
Monica Jaggi + Rima Rabbath, two souls to rise from lockdown and pump out their offerings early – and bravely – providing practice for students to come and move their bodies, get some space between their thoughts, and hopefully find a soulful connection.
The core of the JIVAMUKTI style finds its roots in a Vinyāsa style practice, which I wrote about HERE.
Truth be known, I’ve been practising and studying yoga for some 22 years now, and I would say I know approximately 3% of what is possible to know. It would be impossible for me to disseminate the infinite facets of each genre, however I hope this post has both taken aim, and hit somewhere accurately, at conveying the spirit of SOUK.
I’ll invite you to explore the range of offerings: SOUK Rise, SOUK Sweat, SOUK TOne, Vinyāsa, Iyengar Yoga, Yin + Restorative.
Classes are offered both in person and online, with a promotional 100% discount for your first in person class.
Go and be moved: Immediately.
REGULAR TEACHERS AT SOUK:
Ali Cramer // @alicramer
Lucienne Vidah // @studiospine
Shanna Honkopf // @shonkomp
Hachi Yu // @hachi_me
Claudia Debs // @brooklynbhav
Maria Cutrona // @mariacutronathepractice
Nick Potenzieri // @lovebodyyoga
Ashley Dorr // @ashes76
Jeffrey Villanueva // @jeffreyvillanuevayoga
Michele Jongeneel // @fysiekfreak_pilates
Maria Margioles // @holixtic
OTHER RESIDENT TEACHERS MAKING REGULAR VISITS:
- Nicole Nichols // @nicole.n.nichols
- Yogeswari // @yogeswari.azahar
- Francesca Bove // @vialeyoga
- Primavera Salvá // @transform_with_love
- Colleen Saidman and Rodney Yee // @colleensaidman @rodneyyeeyoga
- Ruth Lauer Manenti // @lauermanenti
- Nikki Costello // @nikki_costello
- Kyle Miller // @kylemilleryoga