The nature of work is evolving. As more professionals join the gig economy, home offices, co-working spaces, and cafes are replacing cubicles and corner offices.
But New Love City puts an entirely new spin on the idea of the workplace: During the day, the Brooklyn “life space” serves as a co-working area. After hours, it becomes a yoga studio and an incubator for new yoga instructors who have recently completed the startup’s teacher training.
Founded by Jen Jones, a yoga instructor herself, New Love City puts an emphasis on teacher care and development. “Creating an environment where the teachers feel valued and cared for is my number one priority,” Jones says. Second priority: Make the space feel calming, beautiful, and welcoming. (Check, check, and check.)
Here, Jones opens up about how the philosophy behind New Love City and how the studio revolutionized her practice.
Live The Process: What initially sparked your passion for yoga, and what has it added to your life?
I came into yoga somewhat by accident, dove straight into the fire, and fell in love hard, which is more or less exactly how I approach life in general. A friend took me to a Bikram class, and right afterward I purchased a Groupon for hot yoga, not understanding at the time that hot vinyasa and Bikram are two different disciplines. But the hot vinyasa that I stumbled upon (at Prana Power Yoga, RIP) was exactly my cup of tea, and I started practicing regularly; found my teacher, Be Shakti; and signed up for a teacher training, all within the first eight months.
Teacher training totally reconstructed and changed my relationship with my body. Awareness is a word that gets tossed around a lot in yoga, but it's a good one—I feel very deeply connected to my body in a way that can only be described as aware. It's almost as though I am observing and respecting my body and its responses from afar.
I pay attention to the way the tiny muscles move in my feet with each step I take. I notice, in great depth and detail, how it feels to move in different ways, to play with heart rate and breathe and work on adrenaline responses. I am so very aware of how unbelievable I feel when my body is working—I don't think I could ever go back to a desk job, not because of the work itself but because I know how unhappy I get when I'm sitting for long periods of time.
From a mental standpoint, cultivating a deeper understanding of how my body works has helped me to foster a sense of true empathy, which is super helpful when living in a city of millions of people, New York. I think the greatest thing yoga has given me is a sense of permission, the idea that there are no right or wrong choices, there's just experience, and everything is an inquiry, a curiosity.
LTP: New Love City is both a yoga studio and a co-working space. How did the idea behind that combination come about?
I was managing a beautiful studio that went largely unused during the day and thought, as a freelancer myself, that co-working could be a great way to add a revenue stream during off-peak hours to a space that's already a nourishing environment.
New Love City also services as a training space and incubator for new yoga instructors. What role does learning play in the space?
Teacher care is our number one platform, and the driver behind our whole business model. We are boutique, and our classes are pricey, not so I can rake in the dough (trust me) but so we can support our teachers in a way that most studios don't. Teaching yoga in studios is a typically very poorly paid position, which leads to situations where teachers are rushing, overloading their schedules, and neglecting their own self-care and education in order to try to make rent, amirite? So we pay our teachers very well, about twice the average rate, and subsidize their education at the studio.
The incubator program is for graduates of our teacher training program and new teachers that we want to support. It’s like a paid internship for teachers who are learning to teach. The only way to learn to teach is to practice teaching. Our incubator teachers are paid to teach, and students pay a discounted rate to take their classes. Hire smart people, preferably people who are smarter than you, compensate them at value, and give them full permission and autonomy, and they will do magnificent, amazing things.
What are your yogi gear musts?
I use The Mat by Lululemon because it is sticky as all get out. It has changed my practice entirely in that there's so much more you can do when you're not focused on trying to stop yourself from sliding! I use the 3mm version because I like to feel the floor. My studio uses Manduka products: EkoLite mats as well as blocks, straps, and blankets. They're pretty and minimalist and made from recycled materials, which is super important to me. I'm a palo santo junky, and we use lavender oil in our savasana massages. I also LOVE a good onesie.
I’m a huge fan of music with practice and playing with aligning the emotional response that music drives with the emotional arc of the class. It's the best prop out there. I try to change my playlists weekly and experiment with music all the time, but when I practice solo, I practice to the first disc of the Justin Timberlake 20/20 Experience. That is not a joke and you can quote me on it. It's perfect.
What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more every day?
Life is process and change and experience, never predictable, never stagnant. We can waste our time fighting that or we can lean in, notice the subtleties, and ride the wave.
There is so much freedom wrapped up in permission, in leaning into the constant shift that is really the only thing you can count on. Letting go of attachment to outcome and living in a space of enjoying the experiment creates a sense of importance around living bigger. Focus on intensifying present experiences, and you end up with this life that is more, you know?