The traditional five tenets, or "pillars of yoga," are right movement, right nutrition, right breathing, right relaxation, and right intention. Friends Karen Mehiel and Olga Palladino embrace all of these, so the duo had no trouble finding a name for their beautiful new studio, Five Pillars Yoga, at 1298 Madison Avenue and 92nd Street.
"It just kind of all happened for us," said Mehiel, as we chatted in the tranquil courtyard at the rear of the asana room.
"Olga's been teaching me for six years. She's a teacher, I'm not. One day we just said, 'We need to do this!' It just felt right to come together."
Mehiel noted that the journey from idea to opening was miraculously quick, a mere seven months. Predestined perhaps?
"She called me in November," remembered Palladino. "And within 24 hours, I said, 'lets do it!' Karen not only has a business background, but is also one of the most caring and generous souls I've ever met." (Not a bad combination for these times.)
Once the decision was made, the perfect place was found in a neighborhood that both Mehiel and Palladino adore: Carnegie Hill.
"This is the type of space that reminds me of an old-school Ashtangha studio," Palladino said. "Beautiful windows, brick walls, an outdoor space. We want to make it a real community up here, for people to feel that this is their little sanctuary away from home."
I took Palladino's Moderate Vinyasa flow. It was a balanced hour of core, movement, and standing postures. Her adjustments were exceptional; she helped us all find our edges and best expressions. She even treated us to some eucalyptus for our necks and shoulders at the outset of class, which felt heavenly as we flowed through our up and down dogs.
The morning sun streamed through the front window, enhancing the spirit of a new start that permeated the studio. Another Five Pillars teacher, Vida Luz, took class along with us, and she gamely demoed chaturanga while Palladino gave a mini-workshop on the crucial part of the vinyasa sequence. Other classes offered include a Dynamic Vinyasa, Fundamentals, Yoga Therapeutics, and a Sunday Night Restorative.
"It's a place where you can really find balance in your life," said Mehiel. "If you think about the five pillars and incorporate them into your daily life and practice them, you'll get to a place where you'll feel calmer within and feel better about yourself, and the person next to you will give off that positive vibe as well. Everyone's energy helps connect people in a very positive way."
"People have said that after class, they don't want to leave!" added Palladino. "Hopefully we can bring more spirit into your life. If you're looking for that, I think this is a great place to learn. We want an atmosphere where we're not comparing our insides to other people's outsides. We want to promote being of service to those around us."
Coming up this month: an assists workshop with Jai Sugrim, June 13–14. To learn more about this and other workshops and events, click here.