difference between conscience and intuition," said Yogamaya director Bryn Chrisman, as Yoga Sleuth searched for mat space in the packed after-work class.
"B.K.S. Iyengar wrote that conscience can actually bring us a feeling of pain, because when we do something that takes us away from wholeness, we know it. And he said that at least when you're feeling pain, you have the privilege of knowing that God is still speaking to you."
Words to practice by on a Monday evening, already dark in this first week of Eastern Standard Time. Bryn guided our “Om”s with her harmonium, then we reared back into Down Dog. Lifting the right leg, we brought it forward and planted its foot outside the right hand. "Try not to push your face and chest down," said Bryn. "Actually elongate with the front of the body and extend your chest forward. Start to straighten your front leg and bend your back knee."
We went into Surya Namaskar, with vinyasas in between, jumping forward to squat, or, if we were feeling it, getting some air-miles in Handstand. Bryn reminded us to keep the back leg straight as possible as we played.
After pushing our heels down to rise up into Utkatasana, we swiveled into Virabhadrasana 2 as the music picked up to match our energy. We reached back into Reverse Warrior, then yearned forward into Extended Side Angle four times, with one hand on the mat or a block and the other soaring above our ears. "Press through the heel and rise up!" said Bryn. "Use the weight of your wrist to go a little deeper into the pelvis."
After the challenge of Revolved Triangle, we launched into Tree Pose and then extended the leg to make a “four” shape, bringing our hands down to the floor or blocks. Our climactic pose was Titibasana. Bryn let us play with the pose for a spell, having us press our hands into blocks until we felt ready to lift one leg and greet it with the other. Many of us landed squarely on our bottoms. "Not that far to fall!" smiled Bryn, who deftly demoed the pose and encouraged us to try again.
We came down to lie on our backs, placing a block on its lowest height beneath our sacrums. We tried variations of Bridge, bringing the block to medium and then maximum heights. From there, we placed our hands by our ears, progressing into Wheel. Bryn invited us to take several Wheels or cool down in Bridge. We took supine twists before melting into a short Savasana.
Then we stretched, bid our teacher a grateful namaste, and headed out into the dark with a little extra light on the inside.
—Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth
60-minute classes: $18
Mats are provided
Yogamaya 135 W. 20th St., 6th Fl. New York, NY 10011 (212) 675-4555