Be Well

The Creators of SKY TING Yoga Built An Oasis In NYC's Chinatown

We spoke to Chloe Kernaghan and Krissy Jones about their new space, animal mascots, and creating a community centered on wellness.
Reading time 7 minutes

For a lot of people, yoga class can have the exact opposite effect it's supposed to. The space can be intimidating and don't even get me started on all the expert-level people surrounding you. As someone who started practicing yoga only very recently, I've often found myself in the middle of a classroom, wondering if I'm too inflexible to be there. 

Chloe Kernaghan and Krissy Jones, the creators of SKY TING yoga, want us to drop all of our pre-conceived notions of yoga as pretentious or competitive. In their new space, located at 17 Allen Street in New York City's Chinatown, both experts and beginners practice in a space that is inclusive, light, and fun. Designed by minimalist Nick Poe, SKY TING is supposed to make you feel right at home. Now we just have to work on that flexibility thing.

Tell me about your new location. Why the move? What is special about the new space?

KERNAGHAN Space is super important to us. If we hadn't found our first location in Chinatown, SKY TING wouldn't have come to fruition as quickly as it did. We were at the end of our lease at that OG location, and the building tenants had shifted and it felt the time for us to shift as well.

We had been on a search around Chinatown and other neighborhoods to see where we might shift to, and when we walked into 17 Allen, it felt like home. It has the same light, bright, airy qualities of our first Chinatown spot, but it’s a little smaller. We like that since our Chinatown space has always felt like a neighborhood spot, so it’s very homey. It’s an older building with fun, unique features for us, like a tin ceiling, an elevator that opens right into our space, and windows on three sides of the studio. It’s also on a funky Chinatown block — not necessarily a building you'd expect to find a yoga studio in — so when you enter the space, it feels like a real escape from the city. 

 

How would you describe the SKY TING lifestyle? 

JONES The SKY TING lifestyle is all about living well, being surrounded by beauty, having a community and experiencing joy. We don’t have classes built on fitness, getting skinny, or trends. Instead, we’re really interested in the functionality of the body and giving our students tools and techniques to enhance their lives outside of the yoga class. We focus on longevity and inclusivity, so it’s really a method for everyone. We love yoga, but we keep it light and fun. We play music. We’re not dogmatic. We offer a variety of styles that all feel amazing.

 

What is the significance of the giraffe and flamingo mascots?

KERNAGHAN We initially brought in our big giraffe just for fun, not necessarily expecting him to stay in the space. Our designer, Nick Poe, had him from an art installation in his studio in Brooklyn, and Krissy thought he might look good in the tall ceilings of our space. Once we opened, the giraffe became synonymous with us.

When we opened our Tribeca location, we thought it would be fun to add another animal element, so we went with two flamingos. Our recently opened Domino location in Williamsburg location has its own panda. We like that the animals keep the space feeling playful-- very much a reflection of our style with the yoga practice. 

 

Why New York?

KERNAGHAN So far, we've allowed SKY TING to grow organically. It’s been important for us to really establish our mission, style, and brand, and I think if we had expanded too quickly, especially outside of New York City, it would have forced us to compromise our principles. We're not opposed to expanding out of New York, but we're not in a rush either. 

 

What inspired the décor and the look of the studios?

JONES Our partner, Nick Poe, designed the spaces. But we all wanted the studios to feel clean, open, airy, and fun. And, most importantly, timeless. I feel like everything that’s opening in New York City right now is so over-designed, trendy, and too much. 

What are some of your key inspirations for the visual aesthetic of the studio?

KERNAGHAN We drew a lot of our inspiration from old-school New York lofts, taking notes on how to highlight the architecture of the space, and keep design simple and clean. We want all our spaces to feel like an oasis from the city, so we bring in as much plant life as we can get away with. We love practicing yoga near something organic and alive.

 

What are your own personal wellness practices?

KERNAGHAN My biggest "wellness practice" is super simple, yet oftentimes easily forgotten: listening. I have to allow myself time and space to slow down to actually be able to hear what it is I need. Sometimes that's a home practice, sometimes a group class at SKY TING, sometimes a bath, sometimes a beautiful meal out with friends. I have my rituals of meditation, practicing with my teachers, etc. But I'm not afraid to break up my patterns when I notice I need something different. The idea of being well is in constant evolution for me, based on where I am in the present moment. 

JONES I love to practice yoga even more than I love teaching it, so I make sure that I have time in my schedule to get to class. I’m continuously surrounding myself with inspiring teachers — learning from people who have more experience than me fills me up. I love taking baths, meditating, seeing friends, going to the spa, making smoothies, being outside, and traveling. 

 

You guys have a SKY TING for Planned Parenthood classes – could you tell us more about the campaign? 

KERNAGHAN We actually host a slew of donation-based classes for a number of different organizations, but our Planned Parenthood NYC class is one of the most popular. We're constantly looking for ways to give back to our community, as well as ways to offer our practice to a wider range of students who might not be able to afford the full cost of a regular class. These classes are taught by our newest teachers, who decide which organization they'd like to support and 100% of the proceeds go to that organization, and students can donate any amount to take the class. 

 

What’s the importance of creating a community to encourage wellness?

KERNAGHAN Creating a community was one of our main intentions in opening up SKY TING. Krissy and I have both found it easier to dedicate ourselves to this practice by having a friend who can keep you on track along the way. New York can already feel so isolating and competitive, we understand how important it is to have a place that can feel like home, and, better yet, have a neighborhood that feels like home.

 

What would you say to those who are skeptical of yoga?

KERNAGHAN If you haven't tried it, try it. If you've tried it and it’s not for you, try another style. And if you've tried a bunch of styles and it isn't grooving, find another practice. 

JONES You’re blowing it! 

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