On a soggy and criminally chilly summer Saturday, Yoga Sleuth decided to skip the mimosas and Eggs Benedict, and get his sweat on at New York Yoga instead.
Teresa Harris would be guiding our flow today. Teresa, a NYC native, versed in Irish Step Dancing, is a 500-hour Yoga Works-trained instructor, and helps run the New York Yoga Teacher Training program.
"We're going to start sitting on our blocks," said Teresa. "Close your eyes, sit nice and tall. Really start to root down. Feel the shoulder blades slide down the back. As we open through the chest, we open up our hearts."
After a round of Om and setting a dedication, we stood to take a juicy side bend, stretched the left leg back for a low lunge, and began to flow, which of course worked up a sweat very quickly.
Coming into Table Top, we raised an arm while stretching through the opposite leg, then brought the knee to the elbow and worked it up to the shoulder blade. Our practice was accompanied by a playlist of folk music, including a fitting version of Roxy Music's classic "More Than This."
This was a twisty class, which, combined with the heat, meant that we were in full detox mode, wringing out the internal organs and sweating out the week's mini-mishaps. We performed Revolved Half Moon and lunge twists, with one arm pressed against the bent leg and the other soaring overhead. Later, we took a seated twist followed by a supine one (I could almost hear my liver thanking me). The mirrors on the right side wall were a tremendous help in self-correcting my posture—as soon as I wiped the sweat out of my eyes!
Standing poses included Triangle and Pyramid Pose. Spying that I only had one block, Teresa got me another so I could bring the floor to me. She also helped me ground my wayward back foot down in Warrior 1, gently pressing my heel into the mat. Alignment is of utmost importance in Teresa's classes, and as we flowed and sweated buckets, she always delivered step-by-step precise and clear cues.
We melted into Uttanasana, grabbed our toes with our "peace fingers" to deepen the fold, then slid our palms under our soles to take it a step further. Warrior 3, Lizard, and half Hanuman were a challenge in the heat, as was Side Plank, which I took with Teresa's suggested sole on the thigh, in Tree formation. "Breathe into the present moment," Teresa guided.
We finished up with a Shoulderstand, which we offset with a Bridge Pose, then closed our eyes and enjoyed the stillness of Savasana. We Om-ed once more to seal our practice, and headed for the showers and cool air, which I suddenly felt very grateful for. (Thanks, yoga.)
—Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes at the New York Yoga hot studio are $28 with $2 each mat and towel rental.