Saturday, June 11, 2011

Yoga To The People

A few weeks ago a friend invited me to take a yoga class with her. I'm always game for a physical challenge. We ended up in two different classes that day. I was challenged as I usually am in a Vinyasa flow class, but something didn't click for me that day. The amount of students in the class could have been enough for me not to return but afterwards, my friend and I compared notes on our workouts. I sat in Half Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) till my hips and legs feel asleep in my class. She regaled me with her tales of Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III) and Tree pose (Vrksasana).

We didn't take class together until yesterday. Still some communication glitches, but I decided to go anyway, not sure she'd be there. All signs pointed to 'yes' - I woke up a bit overwhelmed and knew yoga would balance me. The sun was shining and NY was no longer smothered in the miserable heat-humidity combo of the previous couple of days. I got a train right away and arrived early enough that I was able to be in the studio on the 2nd floor (the 1st floor of Yoga to the People).


Great workout. My quads and abs sung. My planks were solid. I felt much better having gone to that class. I did better than I thought I would despite my lack of sleep and mental state. I was drenched a few minutes in. I've never been to Bikram yoga class (but have done the postures) but if I work up that much of a sweat without having the room heated to 100 degrees, I can only imagine...

Classes at Yoga to the People are for people of all levels. In this class, the instructor walked around and corrected the form of some people so they wouldn't injure themselves and so they'd get the full benefit of the asanas. She didn't ignore intermediate and advanced students either. She noticed my powerful Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana) and gave other students praise as well. I totally forgot to ask the instructor at the end of class what the 2nd song was in her playlist, it sounded like a Nigerian artist. She even had U2 and Zero 7 on her playlist--almost started singing along!

A room full of people in Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana) and I started cracking up. I could only see the ceiling, but I could "see" all of our expressions as she encouraged Lion's Pose (Simhasana) with the soles of our feet to the ceiling. The sounds were hilarious and wonderful. For everyone to let go and be in a room full of strangers, no fear of judgment... My laughter was a sign of complete and utter relaxation. I was "Abigail" again!

Because the classes are so crowded, we're limited to the asanas we can perform, but it's still a challenging Vinyasa flow. At the end of class, I went to give my donation (classes are donation-based) and she remarked on my "great practice". I'll still practice at home for a more well-rounded practice. Before class, I told my friend that I used to do Namaste Yoga on Fit Tv. I don't have cable anymore. I used to have Direct TV. I don't even know all the cable companies in NY anymore. I'd check for Comcast or Time Warner cable deals and make sure they carry Discovery, NatGeo, Food Network, Travel Channel, HBO and of course, Fit TV.  Sometimes I like to be "led" through a workout so I'd still like the option of a great yoga show I could workout to. I haven't been to a Naked Yoga NYC class recently either. I wrote about my early naked yoga experience in an article, Breathe Deep and Avert Your Eyes. And still have to go on my AcroYoga date. They recently opened another Yoga to the People studio in Brooklyn, so I'll hop on a bus up to Williamsburg and check it out. Perhaps a candlelit class.

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