Top 10 NYC boutique Studios with the BEST instructors
As a physical therapist, I’m very particular about workouts and boutique studios. The moment a teacher recommends something out of alignment or that has potential for injury, I’m out. My body is my tool, and I want to keep it working beautifully. I’m excited to share with you my personal favorite list of studios with the best instructors in NYC.
- Mang’Oh is one of my personal favorite yoga studios. This studio is tucked away by the East River in Murray Hill. If you can make the daily noon class, you won’t be missing out. Created by sisters Erica Whalen and Cynthia Raynor, instructors at Mang’Oh deeply understand body dynamics, consistently give safety cues for head, neck, shoulder and knee positions, and offer modifications to both increase and decrease challenge for all poses, while keeping flows fresh with breathing exercises and chakra lessons. Additionally, the air is always infused with a monthly aroma, the soundtrack is always on point, and the staff are the sweetest people known to man.
- The instructors at Pilates by Sylvia are incredibly well-trained, and terrific at cueing- I think this is one of the best pilates studios in the city. Personally, I’ve mostly taken classes with Katherine, a former dancer. Her attention to detail and ability to read her audience’s needs is phenomenal. In each class, she has given personal adjustments and suggestions, increasing and decreasing challenge level, and focusing on small details such as wrist and foot positions to prevent injury, while giving a very challenging workout.
- BodyArt has recently come to NYC, and although they do not yet have a formal space, they have pop-up classes at Broadway Dance Center and Limelight Fitness. The philosophy comes from Robert Steinbacher in Europe and is based on physical therapy principles of increasing active mobility across joints within a safe range, and holistic training of mind, body and soul. Particular care is taken to include exercises for shoulder opening and hip strengthening and mobility. Take a class with the brilliant, graceful, and creative Ryan Daniel Beck, and you will be inspired, challenged and feeling aligned.
- Rowing is one of the safest cardio exercises, and CityRow is the best place to learn how to do it safely. I actually went to high school with the founder, Helaine Knapp, and greatly admire the philosophy behind CityRow. The studios are clean and lovely (and smell delicious!). The intro classes here are particularly helpful and clear for anyone new to rowing- highly recommended!
- I love the Lower Body (formerly Glutes Gone Wild) course here! Founded by Kevin Dineen, teachers here are terrific at making sure that the body is warmed up, that mobility and stretching are included in each class, and that participants are challenged while teaching and allowing appropriate modifications. The studio is clean and all the trainers are very polite. Great spot to come to lift heavier weights in a safe way!
- ModelFit Soho: ModelFit is a fun studio to come to, and offers a barre-like workout without the unclear instructions on knee tracking that often occur (barre requires an incredible instructor for those at risk of knee injuries, and I haven’t yet found the right one in NYC). They put a great emphasis on glutes and middle back strengthening that help balance out muscles and improve posture. The music is great, and who doesn’t want to leave feeling like a model?
- Walking in heels is, generally, terrible for your feet, back and legs. However, if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it as safely as possible. SassClass’s Sexy Stilettos heels course incorporates a number of exercises to prepare your body for heels, including all over glutes strengthening and lower back stretches, with an awareness of how heels affect the body up the kinetic chain. For those who are committed to the glam life, taking a few heels courses to understand how to prepare your body can be really beneficial Plus, they are really fun!
- IMX (Integrated Movement Xercise) Studios are perfect for anyone with a recent injury, that wants to safely workout and may need multiple modifications. The midtown location is located within a chiropractors office, and they are excellent at delivering a low-impact workout for those new to pilates. Developed by Elyse McNergney, who is trained in the Alexander Technique and has a masters in exercise physiology.
- Boxing can be notorious for increasing forward head posture and “upper cross syndrome” (personal trainer term for rounded shoulders with forward head). However, the teachers at Everybody Fights include back strengthening exercises and a number of stretching within their Bags XBody workout, allowing students to get their fight in without the same posture risk. I also appreciate the positive energy, uplifting quotes, and attention to form that the trainers have here. For a high intensity boxing workout with lower injury risk, this can be a great place.
- Humming Puppy yoga on 23rd has a gorgeous studio space, with complimentary coconut water and chai- way to get you feeling relaxed and hydrated sure to activated your parasympathetic nervous system. The yoga class we attended was very classic and traditional, with extremely clear instructions, and a number of safety modifications were offered- blocks were typically recommended to everyone, and taken away if not needed. Highly recommend!