If your life is anything like Yoga Sleuth's, running all over New York and diving into some of the most invigorating yoga classes, you’ll understand why slowing down to let go and restore at The Yoga Room in Long Island City was an absolute delight. To end the work week, I hopped the 7 Train to Vernon Blvd. and walked a few blocks to find a small oasis nestled among layers of developing construction. The Yoga Room offers a wide variety of classes including hot yoga, Iyengar-based alignment classes, vinyasa flow, prenatal, mommy & me yoga and, lined up for this particular evening, restorative yoga.
Entering a candle-lit room with plenty of space to breathe set the tone for the next 90 minutes of full body bliss. Lindsey’s nurturing energy carried her presence into the room as she stopped at each mat to personally connect with her students. As she made her way to the front, her radiant smile illuminated the flames flickering around her angelic silhouette. I felt instantly relaxed and safe.
Lindsey guided us onto our backs for an opening pranayama practice with one hand on the belly and the other on the chest. “Feel like your breath is fluid like liquid filling up your empty cup as you inhale, “ she said, “and with each exhale, let go.”
A few detoxifying twists started to generate heat in the body before we made our way to hands and knees. Instead of guiding us through specific movements, Lindsey offered the freedom of doing whatever felt good in our bodies. She suggested soft spinal movements like Cat and Cow or rhythmic hip circles as everyone began connecting to their own personal practice – an essential ingredient to the art of yoga.
We slowly and mindfully moved into a wide-legged Adho Mukha Svanasana to warm up the hamstrings and then flowed through a few Planks to build strength before finding total muscular release. Lindsey’s soothing voice and precise alignment cues transformed what little strength I had left from an exhausting week into a powerful flow of Warrior 2 to Extended Side Angle followed by Warrior 3 into a (shaky) Half Moon sequence.
Moving through a series of externally rotated standing poses started triggering the judgmental thoughts. “See if you can use your breath to fill up the space where it’s most challenging,” Lindsey said, “even if that space is in the mind.”
Just when I began to go inwards, we were directed to unwind in our first restorative pose, Viparita Karani. As I began to feel the effects of a new upside down perspective, I realized creating heat in the body makes letting go that much more magical.
After a few extended deep breaths with our legs up the wall, we arranged a variation of props for Supta Baddha Konasana. Laying my spine along a comforting bolster felt like a guided tour of support through each vertebra. As I deepened my breath, the erratic waterfall of thoughts began to dissipate and for the first time all week, I found a moment of silence.
Lindsey rubbed her hands together above my eyes bringing awareness to her presence and then gently placed her palms on my shoulders as she assisted in broadening my collarbones and opening my heart. I felt so connected to her breath at one point that it reminded me: there really is no such thing as being “separate” from one another.
Savasana was our final resting pose with our legs supported onto a bolster and block tower. With each inhale I felt myself go inwards to restore and with each exhale I found the space to let go. As I continued to follow the rhythm of my breath, I found my way back to the one room that always leads me towards home: yoga.
- Ashley Rose Howard for Yoga Sleuth
Single drop-in classes are $21 with mat rentals for $2 and towels for $1. New student special: $39 for 3 weeks unlimited classes.
Friday 6:30- 8:00pm Open
The Yoga Room 10-14 47 Road Long Island City, NY 11101 718-786-7962