You either love yoga, or you don’t. I happen to love it. It’s how I handle the stress of living in New York. It’s my therapist and my me-time. It’s how I meditate and clear my mind of all the unnecessary thoughts and clutter. Where do I go for this weekly detox session, you ask? SKY TING Yoga down in good old Chinatown. Here’s why.
SKY TING is a yoga studio that’s breaking all the rules. First of all, the founders are just bada**. Best friends Krissy Jones (above, right) and Chloe Kernaghan (above, left) are the not-so-typical instructors that make up the heart and soul of the incredibly chic, yet down to earth operation. The two are known for sneaking secret selfies during class and admit to not following the strict vegan diet that hardcore yogis swear by. The duo’s nonchalant attitude has caught the attention of an impressive roster of clients from Carine Roitfeld to a bevy of models. Amazing, no?
Then there’s the studio itself. The airy Chinatown triplex is comprised of a spacious rooftop for outdoor sessions and a rotating art gallery by Krissy’s boyfriend Nick Poe. The gallery’s most popular – and most noticeable – piece is a giant giraffe that gives the space a fresh and playful vibe.
The studio also boasts a tightly edited mini boutique of yoga gear, beauty essentials and even healthy snacks from Dimes, one of my all-time favorite New York food spots. It’s clear the SKY TING girls aim to go above and beyond the typical yoga experience.
But despite the spot’s cult-like vibe, the studio is inclusive and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Their classes work for all levels and offer a mix of Katonah, Taoist, Hatha and Vinyasa plus different mediation and even crystal classes. I first met Krissy and Chloe at Yoga Vida. They are both smart, beautiful and highly trained – everything that you could want in an instructor.
This is what I have learned from these two modern day yogis who aren’t afraid to shake things up.
Krissy: I got into yoga through my dance training. I would do a yoga warm up for performances. Yoga turned into passion once I moved to NYC and felt that I “needed” yoga for more than just exercise. I knew that there was something rich and profound about yoga that I wanted to explore.
Chloe: I first was introduced to yoga when I came to NYC to attend NYU. My acting teacher would guide us through a yoga warm-up to begin class. I started practicing outside of school at Jivamukti and eventually dabbled at different studios around the city. It wasn’t till after college, while working a restaurant job that I felt was sucking my soul, that yoga became my place of solace and what kept me going.
What types of benefits can we gain from practicing yoga?
K: Yoga can give you techniques to break habits, first in the body, then more subtle habits in the mind and thought. Yoga is a great way to heal yourself from the inside out, cleansing the organs and glands, organizing the body so that it functions better and you have a better overall sense of well-being. Eventually the practice leaves you feeling radiant, joyful and transformed.
C: One of the things our mentors talk about with yoga is that it doesn’t have to be your be all, end all. The practice is supposed to give you tools to help you have a better life. While the practice definitely has a huge range of benefits, I think understanding how to use it to bring you joy, to help you understand yourself, to get you to relate to others and the bigger picture are some of the most potent benefits.
Do you have any go-to yoga clothes?
C: I wear a lot of Outdoor Voices and Live the Process for yoga bottoms, and I generally wear basic tees or tanks on top. Since I have to live in my yoga clothes pretty much all day everyday, I generally prefer simple and comfortable looks that aren’t too fussy but still feel put together.
K: I eat a mostly vegetarian diet with some fish. I’m not very strict. If I’m craving something, I’ll have it. On my birthday this year, it happened to be a full moon and I ate a steak. I felt so good afterwards, and so now occasionally I’ll eat a nice steak on the full moon. A great thing about yoga is that if you do a lot of it, you’ll naturally want to eat clean because the body feels clean.
C: I eat a lot. Haha. I try and shift my diet for the seasons and weather: warm, cooked foods during the winter; fresh, raw foods during summer. I have a primarily vegetable based diet, but I do eat meat and fish. I try to pay attention to my body’s responses to food that leave me feeling great versus terrible and try and find a sense of balance from there.
Speaking of diet, how do you stay fit and on track during the holidays?
K: I’m not into dieting, I’ve never been on a diet. I believe in eating mindfully – eat when you’re hungry. If you really feel sluggish from the holidays, do a clean eating cleanse for a few days.
C: Moderation is key. I can never replace a meal with a juice, unless I’m committed to a cleanse (which I would never do during the holidays). Instead, I’ll cut back on portion sizes since you’ll most likely be eating more on the regular. Also, for my own sanity, I schedule my weeks with times for my practice that I’ll hold myself too. I give myself the time and space to decompress, move my body, and reconnect.
K: Avocado toast and lemon water.
C: I enjoy a savory, hearty breakfast: poached eggs, sautéed spinach, avocado, a delicious bread and hot sauce!
K: Get back into a daily pranayama practice.
C: I’d like to make a short dance video everyday. I think I might start a private Tumblr for them and just see what I can come up with for a year. Not really for show, but making work just to make work. I just read Marie Kondo’s “Art of Tidying Up” and I would really like to walk myself through her process and see if I can conquer my small living space and be tidy… hopefully beyond just a year!
Do you have any favorite music playlists for when you do yoga?
C: I generally don’t even listen to music when I practice at home. In group classes if there is music, I love when a teacher has an eclectic playlist – good beats, interesting voices, mixed genres and a good build from beginning to end of class.
What’s your opinion on veganism? What’s up with yogis being so loyal to the vegan lifestyle?
K: I don’t like the idea of limiting yourself to a small group of foods. However, one classical school of yoga tells you to eat a vegan diet in order to not harm any living creature. This is called Ahimsa, non-harming, and is part of the 8-fold path as describe by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, an ancient text. My yoga philosophy is more practical and contemporary, as I think yoga should be accessible and always changing with the times.
C: Veganism makes sense for a yoga practice as far as generally you are eating clean foods that the body can process easily, so your digestion moves smoothly and quickly. This way you can feel light and easy when you practice. It’s a diet that is going to make less of a heavy footprint on this earth, which is important to recognize and pay attention too. I’m not a fan when there is shaming about not being vegan if you practice or teach yoga, which you sometimes hear about in a yoga community.
C: I always go to CAP beauty to update my product regimen and for facials! I wash and moisturize my face morning and night using Ko Denmark Anti-Aging Cream Cleanser and Pai Geranium & Thistle Rebalancing Day Cream 2-3 times a week I add an exfoliator, Black Chicken Complexion Polish, into my face wash. I use a rose water spray as a toner and mid-day refresher. Once a week I do a clay or Honey Face Mask. I also take the Beauty Chef’s “Glow” powder supplement which helps balance your gut and a few tonics from Sun Potion (Reishi, Astragalus, He Shou Wu)… I’m a serious believer that a lot of ailments, including skin breakouts, stem from gut problems.
Do you wear makeup? If so, what’re your essentials?
K: I rarely wear makeup. I’ll wear it sometimes when I’m going out. When I do, I wear NARS lipstick and whatever mascara I can find.
C: I don’t wear makeup day to day. If I’m going out and want to put something on, I generally keep it simple – a quick fix concealer, O-Glow blush by Smashbox, good ol’ Great Lash Mascara and a fun lipstick like NARS Lana or NARS Olivia!
What are your thoughts on crystals and new-age beauty?
K: I actually love crystals because they’re so beautiful and mystical. I don’t really know too much about them, but I like the idea of them being powerful and cleansing. It’s fun to act as if they are, even if the science is still not out. I have a client who is into crystals and she has them hand selected by a mystic, so they come with a specific, individually tailored narrative. That’s where most of my crystals exposure has come from so far. It’s fun.
C: I just got a bunch of crystals and stones for my birthday and I’m so into them. My favorite right now is chrysoprase, which helps to bring a deeper understanding of divine truth, abundance and love. Rockstar in Chelsea is definitely the place to go for all things crystals!
If you were stranded on a desert island with only 3 beauty or wellness products, what would they be and why?
K: Avene SPF 50 Sunscreen because I’d burn to death on an island; rose water for both hydrating and cleansing; coconut oil, which is the best all-purpose moisturizer I use it everywhere. I also use it for cooking and for oil pulling which would be my backup if I didn’t have a toothbrush on the island.
C: It’s funny because I could probably find all of my essentials on the desert island, since I use mostly natural products. I like mud for a mask; sand for exfoliation; aloe for skin soothing; manuka honey; rose water. I guess I’d only really miss a nice face moisturizer.
Have any favorite healthy NYC restaurants, hangout spots, coffee shops, boutiques?
C: My favorite place to hang by default is SKY TING. Even though it’s where I work, it’s also a super tranquil, beautiful space to exist in. I love Dimes and Kiki’s for meals, all the shops and boutiques on Orchard just north of Canal are fun to wander through. Lost Weekend or Two Hands for coffee shop hangs. Rachel Comey is my Achilles heel for shopping in Soho.
Any hidden talents or weird facts about you that no one knows?
K: I talk in my sleep.
C: I studied Japanese through high school and I’m still pretty okay with conversing. I love to surprise people with it every now and then.
Lastly, what is the best advice to give to someone who has never tried yoga before?
K: Don’t worry! Everyone has had his or her first class. Put yourself in the middle of the room so you can see people in front of you and behind you.
C: You’re first class is going to be tough because there’s a degree of technique that needs to be learned and followed. That being said, you should also give yourself room to enjoy it and not be afraid to have a laugh at yourself. At first it might feel overwhelming, but your body, breath, and mind will start to understand the postures and dialogue quicker than you might expect, and you’ll reap the benefits for many years to come!