YOGA MANHATTAN

Sometimes the Universe surprises us. Rays of light and love streak through a sometimes dark and dreary world. A shooting star lights up the night sky.

My skies have had some pretty rough storms. Frightening and beautiful. I guess that is just life. For me this entire year has been about transition, acceptance, heartbreak, and new love. I am learning to flow with what life brings me.

Life recently brought me a trip to Manhattan. Talk about a shooting star….. This lit up the night sky and turned it back to day. YEEHAW.

How the vacation came to be

My sister is the responsible one, the successful one, the ambitious one. She is the one that seems to hold all of us together when we are coming apart at the seams. Talk about grounded. This Taurus stands firm. She knows she can have what she wants and she does! Not that she doesn’t have her faults, believe me she does. Talk about bossy! You mess with the Bull, you really get her Horns! Good lord. Talk about polar opposites! My sister and I are three years apart and seem to weave in and out of each others lives. . I am the flighty gypsy Gemini girl who floats above the ground and changes direction with the wind. Seriously. I am like the ball from a pinball game. Oh I will go this way… no this way…. No this way… okay fine, this way. Even though my sis and I are totally different, I realize that sometimes I need her help to pull me back down to the ground before I float off on another adventure. I have no idea what I want to do. Ideas float in my head but they float right out. I forget how powerful I am. My sister reminds me.

Knowing her well, I was not surprised to learn that my sister was running the NYC Marathon. Yes, that is right, a marathon. And not her first marathon either. HER THIRD! Wow. Talk about endurance! I was really excited when my sister asked me and my son to join her for the trip. We stayed at the Hilton in Manhattan.

While I was in Manhattan I had the opportunity to take a yoga class at Jivamukti. I know very little about this style of yoga and was planning on taking a class somewhere else, but we happened upon this studio on our way to Strand Bookstore. I was excited and surprised to see the studio. I told my mom and sister that I wanted to run in to the yoga studio and grab a class schedule so they went next door to the fancy awesome chocolate restaurant. Next time I am in Manhattan I will be eating a slice of chocolate pizza.

I had never been to the studio which happened to be on the second floor. So I found the elevator, pushed the up button and was soon joined by a woman in a fancy business suit. We got on the elevator. She pushed for the forth floor and I pushed for the second. As I pushed the button she looked at me, suddenly fuming. “Are you serious? She screamed. “Aren’t you going to exercise and you won’t even walk up the stairs? GRR I am getting off.” I didn’t even respond before she was off the elevator. I stood confused and frozen as the elevator doors closed and I was on my way up. Okay so apparently I was super un-cool taking the elevator. But I didn’t even see the stairs! I reminded myself that her reaction had nothing to do with me….. It had to do with her being frustrated with her own life. “Shake it off” I told myself. Better yet… send her love. With that I closed my eyes visualized sending the woman love and then giggled as I imagined her with green skin- writhing in pain as love started to soften her heart… “I am melting- Oh what a world” ….. oh man I love making myself laugh.

I stepped off the elevator and into the studio. Welcome to yoga in Manhattan. It was almost exactly as I imagined it. Stylish space with attractive Guess Models working the counter (okay maybe they weren’t models but they could have been!). Café and boutique to the left, locker rooms and studio space to the right. I paid 20 dollars for the class and 2 dollars for the mat rental and was instructed to go to the Goddess room. The Goddess room! I found my room and waited outside with about ten other yoga students. I couldn’t help but observe everything and everyone. I shared a smile with a couple of women but it felt as if most of my fellow students were too busy playing the part of perfect devout yogis. Head to toe stylish expensive yoga clothes. I felt I had just stepped into a Yoga Journal Ad. I noticed a snobbery with yoga that as a teacher I had forgotten about. A voice in my head said “STOP JUDGING OTHERS TIFF!” I responded back to my inner voice “OH Shut UP!” At that point I truly was not looking forward to the class. I was longing for yoga in the woods….. Ahh trees. I thought back to an awesome yoga experience I had with my friend Jessica over the summer on a camping trip. We had woke early before the sun and walked to a beautiful wooded space and floated through several sun salutations. It was so magical that we were the ones who woke the sun up that morning. As it rose it blessed us with warm rays that peaked through the trees. AHH. Trees.

 

Back to Manhattan. Sirens. Horns. Pretentious people. I took the class which was listed as an “Open” class. I had thought about taking a strong class but decided against it, hey I am on vacation and I want to lay around and stretch. “Yoga for Sloaths” would have been perfect. First of all, I had no idea that the room was heated. Probably to 100 degrees. I was wearing a big t-shirt but five minutes into the class, I realized that I would simply die if I kept my shirt on, so off came the shirt and I practiced in my new sports bra my mom had just given me (Thanks Mom, you are the best). We started in Downward facing dog. We did a few different asanas before the teacher brought us chanting books and we all sat down and did two different chants. I enjoyed the chanting and thought…. Ahh… perfect relaxing vacation yoga. Wrong! After chanting and a short meditation we went back into our asana practice. Which I might add, was probably not appropriate for many beginners. If my introduction to yoga was this class I honestly don’t know if I would come back. It was far too challenging. And I teach a lot of yoga.

The teacher was very pretty and seemed to have a great deal of knowledge and love for yoga. Unlike my own classes, the teacher did not practice with our class. She instructed us and walked around adjusting people. Although I appreciate a warm loving touch during my practice, I was reminded during this class that I do not like people adjusting my body while I practice. It feels uncomfortable. I know my body and I listen to it. To me practicing yoga is loving my body… so I never push myself to the point where it doesn’t feel good. I realize that some people really like getting adjusted, and it really could have to do with me having scoliosis, but whatever it is; I do not like my body being manipulated during asana practice. To each their own.

Anyways, we spent a good deal of time at the end of class in shoulder stand and then headstand. I spent a few minutes in each but then made my way into child’s pose and hung out there. While in Child’s pose, I realized I was on the verge of crying. And then suddenly I was crying. I couldn’t figure out what I was crying about. I wasn’t in physical pain, I wasn’t thinking about any painful experiences I have had in my life. I was fully absorbed in the present moment with my pose and my breath but I was experiencing an intense emotional release. We moved into corpse pose and my crying continued as tears ran down my face. I wasn’t sad. I was healing and I knew it. Energy sometimes gets stuck…… and this was my body’s way of moving it around.

I am really glad I had the opportunity to take yoga at this studio. While I definitely saw some parts of yoga that made me a little uncomfortable (Hey- it is Manhattan) I also truly had a wonderful time chanting, practicing yoga, and enjoying the power of Corpse pose.

I walked the 22 blocks back to our hotel with a renewed faith in my practice and the real power of yoga.

I walked down Fifth Ave in Manhattan smiling at anyone who looked my way…. (Obviously a tourist!) HA!

 

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