Sarah Franco, fresh from a family member's graduation, returned from the event with some wisdom for Yoga Sleuth and his fellow students at Tangerine Hot Power Yoga.
"The theme running through the speeches was 'find your own voice,'" she told us. "Don't let anyone tell you how you should think or how you should be. So I encourage you, through your practice, to find your own voice. To express yourself through your practice, to connect with yourself, and bring that out into your daily world."
After stretching in our first Down Dog of the day, we took an early Child's Pose and set an intention.
"Massage your third eye into the mat," said Sarah. "Make it your Child's Pose. Then reach your arms out and grow an inch taller."
We came to sit on our heels and let out a vibrational “Om,” then arched in Cow and grounded in Cat.
We began to feel the heat of the 95 degree room as we took Side Plank, three times on each side. "It's always an option to take your knee down," reminded Sarah.
"Look up to the sky and see your intention. Lengthen in every direction. Get a little more meaty with it."
We took a vinyasa, shoulder blades kissing each other (as Sarah put it) in Up Dog. Coming to Plank, we brought the knee to the nose, then placed the foot down and rose into a high lunge. We touched our palms together overhead and took a gentle backbend, then brought our arms out in Warrior 2 and twisted. Swiveling to the side, we took a wide-legged forward fold, with options to grab our big toes or clasp hands behind us. "Make it yours," said Sarah. "Your expression, your voice."
Swiveling again to face the back of the room, we challenged ourselves in Lizard. "Feel the hip releasing," said Sarah. "Wiggle in and out of it." We exhaled a satisfied "Ha!" then returned to face the front of the room for Warrior 1. "Find your fire, find your core," encouraged Sarah, as we flowed and then took standing poses that included Airplane, Extended Side Angle, Pyramid Pose, and Half Moon. Sarah came around to help me open up in my prayer twist and lengthen my spine in my Down Dog.
We played in Crow Pose, and Bridge to Wheel, and were then invited to take a shoulder stand and a juicy supine twist. The final pose was an optional Headstand or Legs-Up-the-Wall. Many of us remained in the latter for Savasana. Sarah came around and sprayed a light mist of lavender over our resting heads.
She closed with a story about a recent illness that she had just recovered from. "That was a big blow to my ego because I thought I was invincible," she explained. "I was going to take care of my family and teach and practice, and nothing was going to get in my way. And the universe sent me a huge message, which I'm still trying to figure out. But slowing down is one part, and the fact that I'm not invincible is another. And being able to get on your mat is a gift, as is sharing this practice with you. Take a moment to be grateful for yourself and all that your body does for you, give yourself a big hug, and then go out and find your voice."
—Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in Classes are $22 with complimentary mat and towel. New students can do 3 classes for $36 in their first 30 days.