To start the new season well, Sleuth decided to head over to Lizzie Falkner’s Sun Celebrations at Laughing Lotus in Chelsea. As I entered the studio, two women worked behind the check-in counter greeting everyone and ensuring they had what they needed for class. When I went into the yoga room, gospel music played from the speakers filling the air with a soulful energy. There were already several people sitting on their mats. Some had props, others not. I decided to take two blocks and a blanket and take me place just as Lizzie came in with her own burst of energy amplified by brightly striped ombre pants and a tank top that said "Magical" across the chest. She handed out mantra sheets to each of us while introducing herself to those she didn’t know. After chanting, there was a few minutes' pause for a dharma talk before Lizzie directed us into cat and cow. “Figure out how your body wants to move,” she said, giving us the freedom to find our own movements. Looking around the room, I saw several students were doing the traditional cat and cow and some were doing an interpretive version—shifting side to side and around in circles. A variation of sun salutations came next which included several rounds of chair to diver’s pose that kicked up the intensity of the class pretty quickly. Lizzie moved around the room as we flowed, offering hands-on assists to some as she passed by, while continually coming back to this idea of making each pose and transition our own. The music played a big role in keeping the energy alive during class. It was an upbeat mix which ranged from deep house to indie to R&B soul that encouraged the yogi next to me to snap along. A cover of Cyndi Lauper’s "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" came on right around the time Lizzie told us to high five the front of the room as our arms stretched forward in rock star. Keeping the vinyasa fluid, Lizzie built onto the sequence with poses that felt intuitive. My body welcomed each posture as if it was exactly what was needed. Warrior one led into warrior two (facing both front and back of the house) which went into peaceful warrior and then devotional warrior. Extended side angle, triangle and half moon were also included in the series as well as side plank and eagle. As the sequence progressed, more challenging postures were introduced including crow, tripod headstand and extended hand-to-big-toe pose. Lizzie kept a steady stream of devotion present within her instruction. “Be inspired by the practice of others, and let your practice inspire others,” she said. She also spoke about being in alignment with greater purpose, and going with the flow in uncertainty. Her talks, however, never got too lofty. At one point, she related these ideas to the poker game she played the previous night all the while guiding us into full prostration before backbends. Salabhasana and bow began the series, and then we flipped over for bridge and wheel for those who wanted to go deeper. In pigeon, Lizzie suggested taking whatever props we needed before giving us a nice, long reprieve in this pose. We came to dandasana next. Then Lizzie had us bend our knees, clasp our fingers underneath our knees, and then stretch the legs long. It was a gentle way to find seated forward bend that allowed my body to relax more fully in the posture. Before coming to savasana she suggested seated meditation, and then slowed down the music to an ambient wave. To close class, we created a sea of "om"s with Lizzie's turn on the harmonium. When it was time to leave I felt energized and aligned with the renewal of spring. —Elysha Lenkin for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $22 with $2 mat rental.
Sunday 9:30-10:30am Intermediate
Laughing Lotus 636 6th Ave., 3rd Fl New York, NY 10011 212-414-2903