Shevy Katan

One muggy Saturday, I—normally a crack-of-dawn riser—dragged myself into Manhattan for a rare afternoon vinyasa class.

The place: The Shala, on Broadway, an old favorite. The class: Shevy Katan’s 2pm open-level vinyasa. The purpose: To take a break from toking the usual Mysore pipe.

In the high-ceilinged front room, steamy from the previous occupants, an intimate group of yogis was spread equidistantly across the wooden floorboards. All eyes were closed and the energy was still. I could’ve heard a pin drop.

Shevy entered the space precisely on the dot. She acknowledged the usual faces, and introduced herself to new ones, asking them—individually, quietly—about injuries.

After three “Oms,” Shevy, maintaining the room’s muted energy with a quiet voice, guided us through several rounds of sama vritti breathing. We inhaled for four and exhaled for four, and by the fourth round, I felt my heart rate slow...down.

Onto hands and knees we took some meow-moos, which brought me back to the olden days at Cyndi Lee’s OM Yoga Center where Shevy received her initial training. When we came into our last moo, pelves anteriorly tilted, we pushed back into our first woof of the afternoon.

Shevy, who has a Mysore practice, established the class’ rhythm by guiding our ujjayi breaths. Most sun salutes were done in silence, which was refreshing for a vinyasa class. When Shevy did put the music on, it was a non-offensive soundtrack of ditties, and Gary Jules’s “Mad World” was one of them. Snaps for Shevy.

After class, I asked her how she might describe her playlist.

“I have no clue. Eclectic moody rock-pop soul?” she said, laughing. “It’s a tricky question because it definitely creates a mood, but I pull pop classics as well as current stuff, and I throw in some off-the-radar stuff, too.”