Saturday, October 8, 2011

Yoga in NYC: On Dharma Mittra, preliminary

It's only a month into my three-month trial, so I hesitate to draw any firm conclusions as to whether or not it's for me, but I can still tell you a little bit about the studio.

Dharma Mittra actually has two locations. The West location is newer and it's where Dharma himself teaches. However, it's almost all meditation and other mental classes; the physical classes are mostly over at the older East studio. The studio has a very comfortable feel. It's not modern or sleek; instead, it resembles someone's den, or a summer cabin that has never been interior decorated in the proper sense; things have simply accumulated over the years. (The place it's most like is Joao Grande's academy, but you likely haven't been there.)

The only thing I don't like about the space is that the practice area is carpeted. It's low-pile, but I've noticed it still affects my balance, as I'm used to hardwood.

The interpersonal dynamic at the studio is a little different. Most places, students chat before class (or at least an "in" clique does). Here, they actively encourage silence. The teachers don't even make a particular effort to introduce themselves to new students before class or ask about injuries. This doesn't prevent a community from forming, as Dharma's students seem to be very loyal. In only my second class, I recognized several folks from my first.

And one interesting thing about the students - when is the last time you went to a yoga class, particularly an advanced one, and didn't see any tattoos? It took me most of my first class to put my finger on what felt so strange, but there it was. This is not a hipster haven. What you will find is a lot of men - nearly half the students in many classes - which is an anomaly.

I haven't had the chance yet to take class with Dharma Mittra; the three-month membership includes three classes at Dharma West, which I definitely plan to take advantage of. And to file under "useless trivia" - he is Brazilian, making this the second of the three studios I've tried that have Brazilian owners.

1 comment:

Brian L. Frye said...

Hi, this isn't relevant to this post, but I saw a comment you left on the Chronicle of Philanthropy website mentioning your dissertation on the role of trustees at private colleges. It sounds like an interesting study that would be relevant to my own scholarship & I was wondering if you could send me a copy. If so, my email is

Brian L. Frye
Visiting Assistant Professor of Law
Hofstra Law School