Let's Get Physical with Lindsay Hilscher
Looking to stir up the practice, Sleuth headed over to YogaWorks Soho for class with Lindsay Hilscher. Lindsay's vinyasa flow is known to keep students on their toes with her creative and dynamic sequencing. I entered the studio on the 2nd floor behind a few regulars who automatically stopped at the prop bench to pick up two blocks and a blanket. Lindsay, seated by the door, gave out warm welcomes coated with friendly smiles to all who passed by. When it was time to begin, she introduced herself, said a couple words about the celebratory nature of practicing on Friday (which it was), and then went into a dharma talk on how our practice can impact the way we perceive the physical realm. At that moment, loud sirens were blaring out the windows on Broadway. Though it became a bit challenging to hear Lindsay speak for those few seconds, her message was loud and clear. We then brought our hands to prayer and chanted Om. To warm up the body, we started on all fours. We lifted one arm up towards the ceiling, and then threaded it under the body for a side stretch. After repeating this on the other side, the warm up heated up as Lindsay turned up the notch. From Down Dog Split, we dropped the extended leg and knee to the floor, rolled onto the side of the foot, then brought the other foot slightly in front of the knee for Supported Side Plank. Devotional Warrior and Warrior 3 with hands interlaced behind the back were also interspersed into the warm up. Sun Salutations came next - a few rounds of both Surya A and B, and then several variations in the B rounds - using both English and Sanskrit to name the poses. Lindsay walked around assisting students throughout the room. When it was my turn, in Twisted Chair, she used her body weight to help ground me before encouraging my upper body to twist even more. On another student, in Revolved Triangle, I noticed how Lindsay incorporated her whole body into the assist. Her hands helped lengthen the students arms while her hips helped provide stability as her fingers activated the pose to the end. It was 15 minutes in when I saw sweat dripping from my neighbor onto his mat. Lindsay's class is incredibly physical. The pace had picked up swiftly, yet I never felt rushed. As she counted out breaths for each hold, her voice lingered in the space between the numbers which gave us more time to explore and deepen within each posture. My body was getting the workout it craves in a vinyasa flow class. There was plenty of core work, from Navasana (two rounds) to several Ashtanga style jump backs (cross the ankles, lift up then jump back) to the subtle instruction that Lindsay gave when we were holding our knees up by our chests: “Hold your knee up from your stomach”. She talked us through the sequences in a clear and concise manner. At moments, there were silences when the music was emphasized - beat-heavy dance tracks during the more invigorating parts of class, down tempo rhythms once we slowed down. Floor postures were smoothly integrated with the standing series. From Standing Split we went to Low Lunge to Pigeon which led to Seated Spinal Twist. Half Virasana was done on both sides with the option to rest on our forearms behind the body, or take it all the way down to the floor. Salabhasana and Bow preceded Bridge and Wheel where we were offered the opportunity to take each leg off the floor, and straight up towards the ceiling. Inversions came in the form of Forearm Stand (in the middle of the room) along with an offering of Headstand or Shoulderstand at the end of class. When it was time to close, after Savasana, Lindsay brought our awareness back to the physical realm, and asked us to note any changes in perception. I noticed that my body felt awake, full of energy, and my mind seemed less fixated on the city noises outside.
Drop-in classes are $30, with $2 mat rental. Locker rooms and shower facilities available. -Elysha Lenkin for Yoga Sleuth