“There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless.”
– Simone De Beauvoir
This big, beautiful, beloved city of dreams hardly needs an introduction. World-famous and the subject of countless books, art and films, New York really is a 24-hour city populated by tough, kick-ass, motivated people who take their health and fitness very, very seriously. It’s a real ‘go hard or go home’ kinda place and is stunning in its brutality.
The average New Yorker fits in more wellness activity than you might expect. Morning runs and daily gym visits are no longer enough to secure well-rounded health, this city is not satisfied unless it’s balanced in mind, body and soul.
While more compact than London, NYC is also a collection of neighbourhoods, each with its’ own community and rhythm. This city is electric in terms of what it offers wellness-wise: over the years it has attracted the most original founders of various spiritual and physical pursuits. New Yorkers fall on new ideas and practices like children on sweets: they really are the most open-minded of people. The best ones have endured, as you’d expect, some even achieving cult-like status. This is the city where SoulCycle was born, after all (the first SoulCycle location was in an old dance studio on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and the rest, as they say, is history).
Some of yoga’s most revered masters have made NYC their home, from Sri Dharma Mittra (the Brazilian-born yoga teacher who founded the Dharma Yoga New York Center in 1975), David Regelin, anatomical master Alison West, Ashtanga-Vinyasa focussed Eddie & Jocelyn Stern and Sharmila Desa. Spiritual and Kundalini guru Hari Kaur Khalsa and the amazing Dana Trixie Flynn. Even Jivamukti founders Shannon Gannon and David Life are signed-up New Yorkers. And these are just a few of the names we’ve had the privilege to study with and experience first-hand in the Big Apple.
New Yorkers work hard and play hard and we all know that New York’s not short of a speakeasy or three. But when it comes to healthy living (especially eating and drinking) in this city, there seems to be a never-ending range of choices on offer, especially in Manhattan where admittedly we’ve spent most of our time and where our recommendations are largely located. We’ve rounded up some of our current front-runners, from vegan restaurants with moreish desserts to Boot Camp classes with the most ruthless instructors known to man (or woman). As always, we’ve included a host of our favourite zen spots (yes, you really can find zen in this city) and even one or two places that we loved for shopping for athleisure-wear brands.
“I went to New York to be born again.” – Kurt Vonnegut, novelist
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