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This Company Is Making NYC Rooftops the New Yoga Studios

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Did you, too, make it a summer goal to be outside as much as possible? Luckily, it's pretty easy to do that in New York City, with everything from movies to dining to fitness busting out of their four-walled prisons. But when it comes to yoga, one company wants to elevate your practice—literally—by bringing it to the rooftops.

"We don't have that much greenery here, unfortunately, but what we do have is picturesque, beautiful rooftops that overlook the skyline, the Hudson River, and the city streets," Mike Lundberg, a co-founder and the chief operating officer of SpotYoga, explained to Racked via phone. A fan of building startups, Lundberg and his friend Ben Brenner were looking to start a fitness business with bootcamps and Zumba sessions in the park, but ran into trouble obtaining the appropriate permits. But as it turns out, all they had to do was look up.

"I come from a concierge background, so I worked in hotels, restaurants, clubs, lounges, specifically very beautiful ones, and a lot of them just happen to be in terrace or rooftops," Lundberg explained. So he combined that with Brenner's passion for yoga and began contacting potential venues around the city, and SpotYoga classes began rolling out a couple months ago with anywhere between 25 and 70 students per session.


A preview class at the Hudson Hotel in Midtown West

Right now, they count the Bowery's Wyndham Hotel, Hell's Kitchen Halo Penthouse, the STK Rooftop in the Meatpacking District, and the top floor of The DL on the Lower East Side as venues, and they plan to add more as the year goes on—yes, even after the summer months have passed, since everywhere they host has retractable roofs. "It's not going to be pop-up yoga...It's going to be a regular, Monday-through-Friday alternative to the indoor yoga studios."

However, those indoor studios do have one advantage over SpotYoga at the moment: low prices. Yoga studios' ubiquity makes them some of the cheapest workout classes in the city, and their intro deals drive that cost down even further. SpotYoga, meanwhile, sits firmly in the boutique price territory at $34 per class (though a reusable promo code drives it down to $24 through the rest of the season). But Lundberg insists that the extras that SpotYoga offers are worth the dollars you save by attending a pay-as-you-go donation-based studio.


The Heaven Over Hell's Penthouse at Ink48 Hotel

"With that [price], you are going be getting excellent instructors in beautiful and unique spaces," Lundberg explained of his classes, which are primarily of the power Vinyasa/flow variety. "Different venues have different incentives. A lot of the hotels will offer breakfast," either complimentary or at discounted fee, "and we provide juices, yoga mats, straps, blocks—all of the necessities to run a class. The price for it is very reflective" of what you're actually getting, he added.

Interested in signing up? Check out their schedule here—classes are limited to once or twice a week at the moment, but they're working on establishing a more regular schedule as more venues are added, along with class packages and membership rates to drive down the per-class price (they're on ClassPass, too). And if you go, don't forget to Instagram after your shavasana.