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October 21, 2011 / fionarwbl

Don’t Forget To Breathe

In the midst of moving apartment and moving jobs, I went two weeks without going to yoga. This was the longest yoga break I have taken since February when I broke a bone in my foot. Man, I felt it. Firstly, I kind of went crazy. Forgetful, stressed out, multiple random tears, and snappy at my husband. Charming, really. Secondly, I also felt tight and hunched.

One issue I have had is that I’m not actually a member of a yoga studio right now. I used to go to Yogaworks, which I absolutely loved, but their West Side studio is about 30 blocks away from me. I really want to check out Pure Yoga, but haven’t had a free weekend to take advantage of those 3 day passes. The other day I walked past NY Loves Yoga on west 83rd street, so I decided to try it out. One thing that I loved about the schedule was the 8.15 – 9.45pm classes. I have never understood why yoga and fitness studios do not offer classes later than 7.30, since so many of us are only getting out of work at that time. An 8.15 class makes so much sense to me.

I took a class on Sunday with Yuval at 5.45pm. When I registered, I found the studio strangely unfriendly. Despite the fact that I was early and the only person at the studio, I wasn’t asked about my yoga experience, or told anything about the studio itself, like where the bathrooms are, or anything. It just felt very unfriendly. A lot of studios offer the first class for free, but this wasn’t the case here. Each drop-in class is $20 – I think a little above average for a NY class. The studio itself is nice, with windows that open out to a small patio, so there is some natural light coming in to the studio. It is a very long studio, but with only 12 people in the class, there was plenty of room for all of us. Our instructor was Yuvan. We started the class with call and response Oms, and then did some Sun Salutations. Yuvan gave incredibly detailed directions, including awesomely opaque ones like “lift from your ankle bones”. Maybe there are yogis who have control over their ankle bones, but I am pretty sure that bone is not going anywhere for me. We did some tree work against the wall in order to help stabilize and balance our hips, which I found interesting. We finished up with a supported shoulder stand that I really did not enjoy. I am used to coming into shoulder stand from plow, i.e. bringing my legs over my head and then raising them up again. This way, we started with our legs bent against the wall. We were also using blankets to support our necks and shoulders. When we had our legs against the wall, it made me feel incredibly unbalanced when trying to move my legs away from the wall, and that if I did, I would bring my legs too far forward and completely destabilize me. So, I didn’t really enjoy this variation, to be honest. It felt out of control for me.

Yuvan’s teaching style also left me cold. As I mentioned before he was very anatomically correct. I also felt that it was devoid from any personality, and there was no lightness or inspiration. I walked out feeling stretched and lighter, but without the usual yoga high. I might go back for one of their late evening classes, but it’s not my new yoga home.

A day later, I found myself at another yoga studio, this time in my current second home of Portsmouth NH. Portsmouth has about 5 yoga studios, which I think is crazy, but kind of awesome. If I wanted, I could even do Bikram. I won’t. I picked Zev Yoga based on the positive reviews on Yelp. I was welcomed to the studio by the founder Jonas, who led the Level 2 class. The class started with a couple of moments of silence, then some sanskrit chanting, and then Sun Salutations. Normally silence, and sanskirt mantras would not be my cup of tea at all, but the studio was so warm and welcoming that I totally loved it. Jonas used an unusual form of directions that left me a little confused at times, but it appeared that he uses the same flow regularly because the rest of the class were keeping up and moving swiftly through his directions. We must have done 2098239 chatarangas, and I can definitely feel it in my chest and triceps. Jonas also helped me into a bind in a really encouraging way – “you got this, you just need to move your arm this way”, which was so encouraging, and he also helped me push deeper into some forward folds which felt great. At the end of the class, everyone turned to each other and said Namaste to each other – amazing! While the class was hard, I felt happy and relaxed walking out, and will definitely try and make it part of my Monday routine here.

Isn’t it amazing how a different studio fit can change your practise?




One Comment

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  1. Sam @ Mom At The Barre / Oct 21 2011 2:15 pm

    What an unfriendly yoga studio. I have not been to a lot of yoga studios but I have been to Pure. I think you’ll like it!

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