The Shala, on Broadway, was lively and full on Monday evening when Yoga Sleuth joined in on Edward Jones's after work Now:Yoga class.
"Let's all have two blocks and at least one blanket," said Edward, "although two might be nice!" (I agreed.) "We're going to start lying down."
We took one of the blankets, rolled it up and put it underneath our shoulder blades. We then pushed into our feet and rolled over onto one shoulder. "Any physical discomfort is easy to address by changing the organization of the props," said Edward. "It's also possible that this shape brings with it a certain amount of mental or emotional discomfort, as it has a vulnerability to it." We acknowledged anything that came up for us, meeting the emotions head-on with a deep breath and an acceptance of “the now” just as it is.
Edward is a grad of the legendary Om Yoga Center and a student of Leslie Kaminoff’s Anatomy and Breath Clinic. He founded Now:Yoga along with fellow Om vets Brian Liem, Frank Mauro, and Joe Miller. The team describes Now as "Energetic, Joyful, and Deep Vinyasa!" The next 85 minutes bore this out.
Before getting into our poses, we sounded three “om”s as if in tribute to the gone, but not forgotten, Union Square studio.
Following that, we got moving, first with traditional cat and cow warm-ups, then some side twists, with one arm raised and the other pressing the mat. This was followed by hip warm-ups, as we raised one leg and opened to the side, then brought the knee in under our noses. We hung over bent knees in uttanasana and luxuriated there for a long spell. Then we launched into a vigorous vinyasa flow framed by lengthy holding of postures, including triangle, high and low lunges, prasarita and every kind of warrior several times each.
"Long spine," reminded Edward as we flowed into plank pose. "Chaturanga or you can go straight to dog." To build energy for a long week, most of us were motivated to take the whole sequence.
After pondering life and practice from the perspective of a malasana squat, Edward suggested that, while we were there, we might as well dive into crow. We obliged, then took a break in a long-held dog and engaged in a little mid-class musing.
"Any thoughts or observations?" asked Edward. One student noted that the longer holding of poses made it seem that time was going slower. We all agreed that as long as we were in a yoga class, we were fine with that!
Or climactic poses saw us going upside down. Edward guided us through a different kind of shoulderstand. Edward suggested we try it with a blanket to reduce compression at the back of the neck.
"But instead of coming right into shoulderstand, we're going to come into it from bridge." Hands on our hips, we raised one leg into the air, then the other, then repositioned our hands so we were in a straight sarvangasana. Edward also had us practice the "return journey" into bridge, guiding us through plow and to placing each foot gently back on the mat. We tried it a few times until the action was relatively slow and graceful.
We finished with a headstand, with one student graciously demo-ing a strong foundation and an elegant drop-back. We then came into a supine baddha konasana, with blocks under the knees; we were invited to stay here for savasana, come into traditional rest position, or put our legs up the wall. I was happy in my cobbler's pose and stayed there for a blissful extended yoga nidra, the perfect end to a perfect class to wind down a Manic Monday.
—Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth
A single drop-in class at The Shala is $20 with a $2 mat rental. Learn more about Now:Yoga at NowYogaNY.com