Lauren Imparato’s class is the epitome of boutique NYC fitness. I love everything about it: the quirky locale, the creepy elevator, the unexpectedly demanding woman, the ridicu-sick music, and most of all, the absolute exhaustion that ensues.
A tall brunette with thick, bang-cropped hair. She is visibly appreciative to every woman who walks in the door (we are 100% female persuasion, baby); I love this quality of gratitude in teachers, who sometimes lose it when they get too popular. Before class, she seems nervous; she has a distinctive, high pitched laugh; but when the clock strikes midnight she comes at us with an unexpectedly deep, commanding voice. The nervousness (was it?) vanishes; suddenly, she owns us.
During the meditation/chanting at the beginning of class, everything goes wrong. Some kitchen appliance starts beeping. The buzzer to the building rings 6 times. Someone’s cell phone goes off. When the buzzer gets to lucky 7 as she’s belting out an om shanti, she breaks down and starts hysterically laughing. “It’s just not in the cards today! No more chanting for you.” We begin.
Throughout the hour of Vinyasa, the previously calm Lauren buzzes around the room like a mama bird tending to all of her chickees. She is maniacal about form. There is not a single moment during the class when she is not adjusting someone. The adjustments are excellent; her grip is firm and confident.
On the class: Fascinating. HARD. Terrific music. One of my favorite things in life is when I find a yoga class, regardless of the style, that is completely different from anything I’ve done before. This was one. Here’s what it was.
Sitting meditation/chanting: 10 minutes.
- We sat, legs crossed, as Lauren brought us through several oms. It's two-tone
om that always confuses my pea-brain. Then she actually sang some Sanskrit
verses and we had to sing them back to her. I’m embarrassed to say that I
squirmed a little - probably because I brought a friend who was new to yoga.
When I go to a class alone I’ll belt it out like Borat singing the National
Kazakh anthem. Note to self: shame on you. Stop being self-conscious in
yoga class. That's a rookie move.
- Lauren brought us through a meditation where we visualized removing all of
the internal parts of our body. First we removed all the muscles, then all the
bones, followed by the organs, leaving a hollow body “that’s still you on the
outside”. Then we filled the body up with a blue light. Might sound silly if that’s
not your jam, but I LOVED IT. The blue light gets me every time. Love that
1. A full 6-0 minutes of Vinyasa to trendy DJ jams. No, not 15 minutes stretch +
30 minutes Vinyasa +15 minutes static poses. One full hour of Vinyasa. Holy
Moly. My mat was so slippery I was scared for my life. Also I was tired, so I
was feeling dramatic.
2. 10 minutes of static-ish poses, pigeon, floor twists, candlestick, etc.
3. Sivasana. Lauren came around with an incense stick, waved it around to
make sure that smoke was everywhere, and then gave each of us a little
neck/head massage with lavender aromatherapy. Didn’t have strong opinions
about the incense. Lavender was AWESOME.
On the crowd:
- Hot girls
- Hot girls
- Hot girls
- I am told there are also hot dudes that come. My particular class was all
chickadees though. I recommended Lauren to an extremely athletic male
friend for a private session and he noted that “she crushed me like a bug.”
- Not for the faint of heart. I brought a (God love her, fairly uncoordinated) friend
who really struggled because she wasn’t used to the Vinyasa sequence.
- No water for sale. Since I hate plastic bottles, I put this as a major plus. Don’t
worry, there is still water to drink - there’s a kitchen right behind the mats, and
you can just get a cup from the cabinet and drink free tap water (or bring an
empty bottle and fill up).
- The lighting is awesome if you go to an evening class, because it starts light
and the sun gets a little lower with every salutation. By the end of class, it’s
- As if my sudoriferous glands weren’t already working hard enough, the room
was quite warm. Wear minimal clothing.