Master yogi Heidi Kristoffer is on a one-woman mission to transform the Financial District “yoga desert” into an oasis. The neighborhood resident and mother of twin toddlers was initially mystified by the lack of options.
“There’s no classes here. There’s none. There’s zero in Financial Proper,” Kristoffer explained.
After noticing the extreme popularity of mid-morning yoga classes in TriBeCa, Kristoffer partnered with CompleteBody in Hanover Square to offer the same service in FiDi, especially catered to neighborhood moms. Every Wednesday morning, she holds a Power Flow yoga class at 9:30. Although it’s no easy task to break the ironclad routine of busy New York moms, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We have a lovely little crew of moms that come each week… It’s a support network, and such an unexpected one,” Kristoffer stated.
A strong believer in the connective power of yoga, Kristoffer hopes her FiDi class will provide a restorative atmosphere where maxed-out moms can take a little time for themselves and just breathe.
“You focus on your breathing, you focus on your body, you focus on your mind, which makes you a better mom, and a better everything,” she explained.
Access to CompleteBody’s host of amenities, including showers, a steam room, and a sauna, doesn’t hurt either.
“It’s like a pause button in the middle of the day,” Kristoffer said.
However, the power to help people improve their physical and mental wellness remains at the center of Kristoffer’s yoga philosophy. The former actress fell into the world of yoga somewhat by accident after an unanticipated move landed her far from her go-to gym, New York Sports Club. After taking one class at a studio close to her apartment, Kristoffer was hooked.
“I was sometimes taking three classes a day. I fell so hard, so fast, in love with the way yoga made me feel,” she explained.
When three of her upcoming films lost funding, Kristoffer attended a teacher-training course and soon took on instructing full-time, eventually working as a yoga expert for Shape magazine. Her mash-up fitness videos for Shape lead to the creation of her signature workout, CrossFlowX, a powerful combination of tabata interval training and yoga.
“I’ve always known that yogis need cardio, what I didn’t realize was how badly regular fitness people needed yoga… It’s great because it’s a doorway for people who would never take a yoga class,” Kristoffer said.
Currently, Kristoffer only offers CrossflowX classes at Five Pillars Yoga in the Upper East Side. However, if enough of her students are interested, Kristoffer has plans to offer a class downtown. While many find the workout intimidating, especially after watching the video available on her website, Kristoffer encourages those who want to be physically challenged to give it a try.
“There’s really something to this pushing hard and then going into a restorative yoga pose that maybe your body doesn’t love, because your body has no choice but to relax when its exhausted,” she explained.
For now, Kristoffer continues her crusade to bring yoga to, arguably, those in the city who need it most.
“There’s so much good that yoga can add to your life. Yogis bend so they don’t break. Everybody needs to bend so they don’t break.”
Photos by Jay Sullivan