Studio Spotlight: Om Factory NYC


AcroYoga Finds a Home in New York

It’s surprising to get off on the 17th floor of a pre-war factory building, high above the crowded, semi-seedy streets between the Port Authority bus terminal and Penn Station, and walk into the bright colors and clean lines of Om Factory NYC. With a garment factory staffed by Cantonese-speaking women across the hall, Om Factory is an oasis of positive vibes, smiling faces, and good old-fashioned hard work.

The Friday night of my first AcroYoga class at Om Factory, I was exhausted. The staff at reception, and the space itself, was immediately soothing. From the glittering sliver clothes hooks, to the marigold-orange and avocado-green walls, to the gold-edged sun yantra in the Yantra studio, Om Factory was clearly constructed with love and enthusiasm (and maybe a little bit of obsessive planning).

Faramarz, a Swiss-trained architect originally from Iran, is responsible for the riotous color and warm welcome. An extreme-sports aficionado, and a yogi since 1996, he dreamed of opening a wellness center in New York, his adopted home. In 2004, he took a yoga teacher training at Laughing Lotus, and in 2006, Faramarz opened Om Factory in New York’s garment district, 11 floors above his architectural office, with Harvard-trained psychologist and yogi, Allyson Pimentel.

“I wanted to open a yoga place that was really not judgemental, not guru-oriented, where people could feel at home, where people could feel free,” says Faramarz, who uses Om Factory after hours as his apartment. Neighborhood people, such as fashion designers, garment workers and staff from not-for-profits, fill the daytime classes.

Originally conceived as a vinyasa studio that would offer nutritional counselling, psychotherapy, fundraisers, and kirtans, Om Factory has included AcroYoga since it opened. A July 2008 AcroYoga retreat to Fire Island drew almost 40 students, and monthly AcroYoga jams are filled to capacity.

Instructor Kathryn Ulrich, 33, says Om Factory has been the first studio in New York to adopt AcroYoga and support its development. Director Emily Conradson adds that Om Factory is also the only studio in the city with Ana Forrest-trained instructors. “It’s a hub. Other forms of yoga not represented in New York come through Om Factory.”

Julie Royall, 25, of Queens, NY, who came to her first AcroYoga class the same night I did, was enthusiastic. “You come into a room where you don’t know people and you have to create trust with them. Then you’re flying. It’s awesome.”

Joaquin Cruz, 31, a fiber optics technician with Verizon in New Jersey, agrees. “It’s infectious, this place. Once the AroYoga class starts you relax and enjoy yourself, sweat and get a good workout.”

“But my favorite part is the dynamic here,” he added. “It’s a tight-knit community.”

Om Factory NYC, 265 W37th Street, 17h floor, NY NY 10018 212 616 8662