I meet Guru Jagat, the yoga teacher loved by Alicia Keys and Kate Hudson, in the penthouse at The James Hotel New York – Nomad. It’s the first time we’ve met, but I feel like I already know her since she led me through a session in my hotel room that morning.
A virtual class with Guru Jagat is on-demand at all James hotels as part of the new Four Bodies Wellness Program recently launched across their properties (there’s another James downtown in Soho, and one in Chicago). The in-room programming also includes a high-intensity workout with personal trainer Michael Olajide Jr (he’s trained more than a few Victoria’s Secret models), free access to the popular meditation app Inscape and a host of wellness experts on speed-dial.
“When we travel a lot, often we’re stressed,” Guru Jagat, dressed in a flowing white cotton dress and matching turban, tells me as we settle in on the couch and take in the view across Manhattan. She teaches kundalini yoga, a style that focuses on breathing and chanting with the belief it will release energy held in the chakras.
“The body is in a constant state of inflammation because of the cortisol production and the hormones associated with stress. So by making kundalini yoga more accessible – right there in your hotel room when you get back from a busy day in the city – it gives people a skillset that they have in their back pocket to help them.
“It’s going to make the world a better place.”
I have to admit I felt like I was killing it after doing Guru Jagat’s yoga session and Olajide’s workout that morning, without having to leave my hotel room. A former professional boxer, Olajide’s 15-minute session put me through my paces with interval rounds of running on the spot, high knees, shadowboxing, squatting, push-ups, burpees and planks. I was so sweaty afterwards I was grateful a hot shower was only a few steps away.
For the astrologically or spiritually curious, there’s also the ‘Readers on Room Service’ menu. The James can make appointments for guests to have an astrology reading, life coach session, tarot reading, hypnosis, reiki healing or sound healing in the comfort of their room. This element of the program was curated by Ruby Warrington, founder of modern mysticism and spirituality website The Numinous.
When staying at a hotel, it’s tempting to just raid the mini-bar or watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians re-runs when you have time to kill. Of course, sometimes we deserve to let ourselves off the hook and indulge. But Warrington hopes the Four Bodies program will encourage guests to practice self-care while travelling.
“The line between when am I ‘on’ and when am I ‘off’ is becoming increasingly blurred [because of technology],” Warrington says. “I think what we really need to address, and this is what we’re trying to do with this program, is the emotional imbalances in modern life. The emotional needs that are not being met elsewhere in life that we then seek to find in social media, or alcohol or whatever is it.”
So check-in to The James, step away from that tiny, overpriced bottle of wine in the bar fridge and book an astrology birth chart reading or a sound healing session instead. You might just have a spiritual epiphany by the time you check-out.
For more on The James Hotels Four Bodies Wellness Program, visit the website.