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New York has hundreds of yoga studios, but WOOM Center—a relative newcomer which opened in 2016—has managed to stand out among the competition by blending tech and tradition in a way that feels authentically yogic.
WOOM’s windowless studio on Bowery seems fairly unremarkable, until the music kicks in and the walls become a blank canvas for hypnotic projections.
The concept was born atop a subwoofer at a Brooklyn party, when co-founder Elian Zach (a regular at Burning Man festival) began to wonder how exactly sound affects skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems, as well as the brain. She sought out and studied under ethnomusicologist and sound meditation practitioner Alexandre Tannous, gradually realizing what a profound impact sound can have on consciousness and our perception of reality.
“This became our primary goal with WOOM,” she explains. “To create the safest and most perfect setting for a meaningful exploration of non-ordinary states of consciousness, with sound being our primary tool.”
Yoga at WOOM is a sensory journey: blindfolds distributed at the start of class facilitate uninhibited chanting; audio-responsive light projections swirl as you perform poses; teachers play resonant instruments over your resting body during Savasana; and class always culminates in a healthy elixir shot, served in the community bar space.
There’s nothing else like it in New York—or quite possibly on the planet. Though class lasts an hour, the accumulative effects of the WOOM experience stay with you long after you’ve been reabsorbed by the city.