Super Cool Vibes: Meet Your New Girl Crushes, Sky Ting Yoga
Maybe it's their daily yoga practice, or the Friday night honey + Egyptian clay face masks they use, or maybe it's the result of working in a hip downtown sunny white, open studio all day... but Krissy Jones and Chloe Kernaghan of Sky Ting Yoga have us crushing hard. And we're not the only ones. The entire city is singing their praises, because these two created a community for the city-dwelling modern day (non)yogi. But what is it exactly that everyone so obsessed?! We found out...
THE EVOLUTION OF SKY TING
Chloe: Teaching Yoga came much easier to me than the idea of working a regular office job every day. So I decided to pursue a career in teaching yoga while still balancing it out and doing some dance stuff. I met Krissy while teaching, and we started to work together. We first started practicing together all the time because we practiced with the same teachers at a studio up in Chelsea. Their style of yoga - that was a medley of lineages from Katonah, Taoist, Hatha and Vinyasa - resonated with us so well because we were able to talk about it, as it aligned with our ideas that were a little different from those around us. We knew that we were developing a voice and thought it was worth something. Initially, we started going to yoga retreats in Nicaragua where we led this sailing yoga retreat. We just worked really well together, and then Krissy came to me last New Years Eve and was like, ‘What if we open a yoga studio!?’ I was like, ‘You’re insane.’
Krissy: We were celebrating New Years Eve together because we just love each other, and I remember we were sitting with a few friends and my boyfriend at dinner, and I was talking with the girl next to me, saying that I should probably write down some resolutions. It was like, "Meditate everyday..." Which is always one of the things on my list that I still never do... Sorry!
Chloe: Still trying, still trying.
Krissy: I added a few other things to my list, with the last being, "…Open a yoga studio." I’d had that idea since I started teacher-training. Actually, when I was young, I wanted to open up a dance studio because I was a dancer too. Something like that had always been my goal. When I was 12 years old, I was teaching dance to three year olds. It’s not like I planned on opening this studio so quickly, but my boyfriend and I saw the space on Craigslist and were like, "Oh my God this is the dream, let’s go check it out!" Once I walked into the space, it was like, "Well fuck, I have to do it… this is too good to be true. A once in a lifetime thing."
Chloe: It was a gem. I signed on and the rest has been a whirlwind.
Krissy: The energy is just so good.
"I think when you truly do what you love, it shows and people want to be around that."
Krissy: I still feel like I haven’t had time to take it all in. People are like, "How does it feel?" I’m like, "Well, we’re just working one little chunk at a time, so I don’t know.’ We always have an overall vision of what we want this place to be, and we check in with that more from time to time. We have to prioritize what should always happen first. Like getting teachers scheduled, finding desk staff, etc... We’ve just been working through the process, taking baby steps. Now, it’s become a place that people really love, thank God!
Chloe: It’s been a little bit of a tidal wave with how quickly things picked up and started to build. Now we have our feet more on the ground, but still feel like we’re riding this tidal wave, figuring things out one step at a time. We learn something new every day, making mistakes too, because no matter how prepared you can be in starting a business, you’re bound to make mistakes no matter what.
Krissy: People have been so supportive and a lot are asking us, "Who’s you PR person?" But really, it’s just students of ours who like us and want to support us, because at the end of the day, we're just two young yoga teachers who suddenly did this thing. It was amazing how many people showed up out of the wood work and took the first class that we taught together. That was a magical class.
Chloe: Super good vibes.
Krissy: I think when you truly do what you love, it shows and people want to be around that. No one wants to go to a bitter yoga teacher’s class. We’re jut very excited by the work that we’re doing right now so I think that people keep coming because of that reason.
INSPIRATION + TAKEAWAYS
Krissy: We’re very inspired by our teachers, and we’re always bringing them up, because really, we’d know nothing if it weren’t for their support. In particular, Abbie Galvin and Nevine Michaan really gave us the confidence to even do all this. I asked Nevine if this was a good idea and she was like, "Of course! It’s a great idea and I’ll help you." She gave us mats, and they both now teach workshops for us. Her advice was, "As long as you keep it small, do it for the community, and have good intentions, people are going to come." So that’s what we’re trying to do: make it a small yet rich experience for the students and we want to know everyone who comes in through the door. It doesn’t feel like a yoga factory, but it’s really a home for people. Even with this lounge, we want people to feel free to chill out with us and not just go to class and leave. The doors are open.
Chloe: We also want people to take something else away from the practice. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes yoga can be a very serious matter, and can be a super spiritual experience. For us, that spirituality is this feeling of joy and fullness. We wanted this space to invoke that. We don’t focus too heavy with any specific tradition that other studios might lean more towards. With that, we wanted it to feel very welcoming for all people to be able to find some part of the yoga practice that would resonate with them and that they could grow with.
Krissy: Yeah, Chloe and I are very... You could say we’re serious about our practice, we practice a lot.
Chloe: It’s our life.
Krissy: And we know the material so well, but really, we just want to convey that the practice is meant for you to cultivate a better life outside of the yoga studio. For us it’s not like yoga is the end all be all - it’s not this thing that we’re like, "You have to come and do every single day at this and that time!" I think our space reflects that, we don’t really have a certain theme to this space. It’s not too Indian flavored, or yogic flavored… It’s just a light, open space. It’s like anyone is welcome to practice, and all styles are welcome.
FINDING A MORAL COMPASS (OR TWO)
Krissy: I don’t know what I would do without Chloe. I’m not sure I would have been able to do all this without her.
Chloe: I would not be here at all if it wasn’t for Krissy!
Krissy: Our relationship is really nice, because teaching yoga can feel so lonely; you’re the teacher and you’re the only one talking. It can creates this separation, so we try to focus on not having that much of a separation between student and teacher. We co-teach and we feed off of each other’s energy. We’re always on the same page in terms of what we believe in as yoga teachers, the material we like to teach, what’s safe for the students, and sequencing. It’s so beautiful that we share these core things, and we can just feed off of each other and be in each other’s heads. I don’t really have that with anyone else.
Chloe: We push each other too.
"It’s so good to have found someone that understands me enough to call me out. She knows when I’m falling off, and she’s like, ‘Hey, get it together! Let’s go!’"
Krissy: We really bonded during our first retreat in Nicaragua. We had the time of our lives, and I was like, "I would marry this girl if I were a dude!" I just knew we were meant to be working together.
Chloe: I also think we balance each other out, because Krissy is risky and she knows how to see a goal and just go out after it. Whereas I’m more of this safe, rooted one. I would probably never open a yoga studio on my own, but I think I’m a good balance for her by keeping her from jumping too deep.
Krissy: She’s my moral compass. She always puts me in check by helping me shift my focus in certain situations.
Chloe: But it’s good because she lightens me up and forces me out of my comfort zone, while I help her feel safe.
Krissy: It’s a blessing to have someone who challenges you. Like last year on a super moon, we were setting our intentions and I said something very generic. I was basically just coughing off something I’d heard from someone else. Chloe was like, "No, that means nothing to you. I want you to really set an intention on something that you know, and something that you really want." In our friendship, she always leaves me like, "Damn, you’re so right." We can’t let each other be complacent or lazy, especially in teaching.
Chloe: It’s so good to have found someone that understands me enough to call me out. She knows when I’m falling off, and she’s like, "Hey, get it together! Let’s go!" This is especially good when running a business together, because things can get very overwhelming.
Krissy: I feel like we’ve changed a lot since opening up the studio.
Chloe: We’ve really had to own up.
Krissy: We’ve had to step into being this leading role for people. Not role models, but it's like now all of our actions matter. At this point, we’re realizing how we have to live the life of a yogi to the fullest.
Chloe: We’re being held more accountable now.
Krissy: I’ve also definitely become less of a spaz.
Chloe: And less flaky.
WHY YOGA SHOULD BE SIMPLE
Krissy: I think we’re attracting all types of people who are looking for more connection to the bigger picture. That’s the common thread for us. We believe that yoga should be simple, it shouldn’t be about beating yourself and needing to work out harder or burn off calories. It’s about getting people into a different experience and get out of a mundane mindset.
Chloe: I think we also attract people that are interested in learning more of the material, and getting more into the esoteric dialogues of the practice, or on the spiritual meditation side.
Krissy: Chloe and I really believe in this stuff and we want to offer others a richer practice as well. We want it to bring students to the next level in yoga. We’re starting to offer things like pranayama classes, and workshops where you can come in and learn more about the different material to yoga. It’s a learning center as well.
HOW TO BE A GIRL BOSS
Chloe: I’m excited to continue to develop ways that this idea of Sky Ting can go beyond just the classroom setting, beyond 60-minute classes. We’re starting to touch on it with our collaborations with friends. I think it will be interesting to see over the next few years how we’ll start to really develop that broader sense of community that is"living like yoga". Where it’s not just yoga as a workout practice, but yoga as the mindset of how to live. We’re lucky in that we’re young and can relate to our community. We’re in the middle of it all, and trying to figure it out, because obviously, we live in New York City. We’re not meditating in the mountains everyday.
Krissy: I also think that further developing our voices as teachers, but also as business owners is huge.
Chloe: And learning how to be a boss…
Krissy: And how to keep my friends who work here in check, which is hard for me because I don’t want to be pushy with anyone.
Chloe: We all just want to be loved.
KEEPING IT FRESH
Chloe: For me, yoga is about just understanding. It helps me get to know myself better, and those around me better. It helps me understand the world and the universe at large. It leaves me with the tools to do that.
Krissy: Yeah, I think it really provides a map to figure out life and our roles in this short time that we have here. I like that we’re obsessed with the esoteric language and the material that’s out there. For me, yoga is about finding a voice for myself and figuring out what’s worked for me and how to properly pass that on. I care about passing on good information that will help people enjoy their lives more.
Chloe: Ditto! One of our biggest philosophies with yoga and how we teach is the idea that you should learn from someone else and then take those two strains and your own strain, so that you come into this world and make a braid. A braid is always going to be a stronger whole than say, a twist of two sides. If it’s just you and one teacher, things could unravel pretty easily. But if you have a braid, it forms a complex plait that’s going to stick together and hold form.
Krissy: The things we teach are really meant to teach you how to have a full, well-rounded life. It’s not just about being good at postures, but also how to have a nice life and family. It’s about setting up conditions to make yourself happier and see more abundance and vibrancy in your life. Teaching that philosophy is very cool, as opposed to just teaching people how to do triangle pose, you know?
Chloe: What I’m interested in, in terms of evolution of the studio, is the continuation to figure out what yoga really can be. I am a firm believer that this is a practice that is highly progressive, and it should shift and change with the times and with the people that are practicing it. It reflects this period in time. I want our legacy to never be set in stone. I want it to be a rolling stone, moving with the tides in what I’m teaching, and to be relevant to what everyone else is going through so that it never feels wasted or out dated. I want things stay fresh.