It was a bitterly cold Sunday morning. The kind of cold that makes you put your yoga pants in the microwave before you put them on. Yoga Sleuth knew that if he was going to class, it was going to need to be a heated one. Luckily, husband and wife team Bethany Lyons and John Murray had opened their new Baptiste Yoga center, Lyon's Den, mere days before the deep freeze.
The asana studio was gleaming, with a brick wall in front and a bright red wall in the back, joined by a grey laminate floor. I had the privilege of taking class with Bethany herself. "Nice to be in a heated room, huh?" she observed. And at her urging we forgot the frigid outside world existed as we embarked on a 90 minute power journey that started at full speed and stayed there.
"Allow your brain to soften, no matter what you've got going on," said Bethany. "Let go of everything and everything that is not going on in this room. Fully be here." And she means it: Bethany is quick to spot whenever a student's mind is leaving the asana room, and never shy about firmly guiding them back. "Come back into the room with us," she urged anyone who looked like they were straying. "Come into stillness on your mat. A little suppleness, a little ease in your shoulders," she said as we took our first Down Dog.
"Flex your feet until your toes come off the floor, like you had a double-shot of espresso in your toes! Come into a space of co-creation, with me, with each other, with your mat and your body. And not 'waiting.' Let's not wait at all during this class. Waiting for the pose to be over, waiting for a cue from me....just do it, and own it, like the leaders that you are."
Fully motivated, we performed our Sun Salutation As and Bs deftly and swiftly ("We're moving today!" announced Bethany), and then we progressed to standing poses and twists. Bethany came over to help me twist gently to open my heart in Extended Side Angle, and called out to me to stack my feet and flex them in Side Plank. She blanketed the room throughout the practice, physically adjusting whomever needed a little guidance. "Open your heart space," she encouraged. "Bring joy into the pose."
For a balance we played for several breaths in Crow Pose, by which time the sweat was stinging my eyes, and soared in “airplane” pose. "It's ok to have a bumpy flight!" she grinned.
Coming to stand, we folded over and grabbed our big toes, then slid our hands under our feet. We played in Eagle twice in each side. Tree Pose was intensified by an added back bend. "See if you can bend back enough to spot that red wall behind you," said Bethany. This foreshadowed two tries at Ustrasana (Camel Pose) later in class. Bethany handed us straps for the next challenge: Dancer's Pose. We looped it around the back foot and pulled with both hands as we glided in.
Bethany spotted a few frowny faces while we held the pose. "Pursing your lips should be banned," she noted, "unless you’re Maggie Smith in Downton Abby!"
Bethany cued us through 8 Wheels (or Bridges if we preferred). When we got to the last one the class counted the breaths in unison before we finally lowered our hips down. We lied down on our backs, not to rest but to perform 100 bicycle kicks. "Stay in the game guys!" urged Bethany as we hit the home stretch. We proceeded to half Pigeon on the now super-slick mats, then a Shoulderstand, Supta Baddha Konasana and a supine twist. Every student was a living blob of jell-o as we sank, soaked but invigorated, into Savasana.
"Nice work everybody!" said Bethany as the class erupted in spontaneous applause. And we returned to the premature winter, a little warmer on the inside.
Classes are $24 drop-in; Mat rental is $3 and towels are complimentary. New students can try 30 days unlimited for $79.