When Yoga Sleuth learned that the force of nature known as Yoga to the People was opening a new location on 104th and Broadway, he had to check out the new digs right away. Just days after it opened I found myself at the pre-brunch-time class on a gloriously mild late winter Sunday.
The studio is shiny, new, and one of the largest I've seen yet. Windows overlooking Broadway let in the sun, on the first truly nice New York day in months. We had a very large group of students but still plenty of spots to choose from, the gleaming laminate brown floor showing ample space between mats to accommodate any latecomers.
John, our instructor, cued us into Child's Pose from his vantage point at the back of the space, his voice amplified by a wireless mic. John admitted he wasn't crazy about using it, but it was a necessity due to the enormous space!
[Editor's note: Yoga to the People has a strict anonymity policy regarding their teachers and does not list teachers' names on the class schedule.]
We began with standard Sun Salutations, and John's cueing was very precise while sprinkled with a lot of humor. "There should be the size of an iPhone 4 between your feet," he quipped as we came into a forward fold. "Not a 5 or 6, specifically a 4!" After a turn in each sequence he invited us to try it on our own on each side, and then we proceeded to Thunderbolt Pose, Warriors 1, 2, and reverse.
In between we performed vigorous vinyasas that John cued step by step. We progressed to Chair twists followed by lunge twists. Our climactic backbend was Camel followed by a quick stay in Hero’s Pose.
"Don't worry, pretty soon we'll be headed to Pigeon!" John promised, and before we knew it we were there, luxuriating in the fold as John ran around assisting anyone who needed it.
Our final pose was a Plow that segued into Shoulderstand, and then we were invited into Savasana by the sound of the Tibetan singing bowl, which reverberated from ear to ear and sealed our practice with a sensation of tranquility that I carried with me for the rest of my Sunday.
John thanked us warmly for coming to one of the inaugural classes at the new space, reminding us that what we put in the donation box was a precious gift not only to the community but to ourselves, as we were ensuring the continued ability of Yoga to the People to bring affordable yoga to communities all over the tri-state area and beyond.
-Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth
Classes at Yoga to the People are $10 suggested donation. Mat rentals are $2. Water is available for $1.