Archive for April, 2012

Sign of the Times? OM Yoga to Close After 15 Years

On Sunday, yoga doyenne (and former Cyndi Lauper choreographer) Cyndi Lee gave the closing remarks at last weekend’s Yoga Journal 3rd conference in New York.

By Monday—the day after the conference—she announced, via email to long-time students, that the studio had lost its lease and would be closing by the end of June.(Read the announcement on the studio’s Web site.)

Lee, who established OM in 1997 on 14th street, said the landlord at 826 Broadway, OM’s home above The Strand bookstore for about 7 years, didn’t give her an option to renew. According to an interview on Well+Good:

She gave us 90 days notice and rented it to someone else. She just didn’t want a yoga studio there anymore.

According to some long-time NYC yogis, OM had begun to lose its fire a little while ago. Once-loyal students had already moved on to other studios or classes that seemed eager to move with the changing trends of yoga.

Still, the pioneer studio had nurtured beloved NYC teachers such as Margi Young, Christy Clark, Lippy Orem, Joe Miller, and Brian Liem, and gave others such as Brooklyn maverick Jonathan FitzGordon his start.

It also was one of the first to explicitly bring yoga asana practice and Buddhist meditation techniques together. Lee frequently hosted her Tibetan teacher, and held workshops by David Nichtern, music producer and senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage (and Lee’s husband), and her step-son, Ethan Nicthern, author of One City: A Declaration of Interdependence and founder of the popular Interdependence Project.

Teachers and students recite the dedication of merit at the end of (most!) classes, offering their work to the greater good of all beings.

OM's "Earth" studio

OM is not completely going away—it’s transforming its teachings and services into more of a “homeless” or online-based studio. Lee and her senior teachers will continue to give workshops and trainings, although there are speculations that some may branch off altogether.

For now, enjoy the last 2 months of this breezy and popular studio that trained a lot of eager new teachers, brought teachers as diverse as Judith Lasater and Meredith Monk to students, and gave a very chill American spin to a practice that can be be altogether too many things to too many people.