Immediately upon entering The Three Jewels, Sleuth was immediately hit by the homey atmosphere; several yogis and a monk were seated around a communal table talking about the new movie release, Gurukulam. When they saw me come in, one popped up and offered to check me in for the 9:30am yoga class with Miriam Parker.
After an easy check-in, I removed my shoes then made my way into the yoga room with its white walls and view of the trees on 4th Avenue. My eyes went straight to the sweet altar that sits up front underneath the colorful chakra illustration on the wall.
Miriam was inside speaking with a student. After a few moments she introduced me to both herself and her student instantly creating a welcoming community vibe for her class.
To begin, she gave a dharma talk on the "middle path." She spoke about the spine as essential to holding our centers, and how the distractions that pull us away—whether it's a thought in the mind or an achey muscle—are helpful in providing boundaries to clearly define where the center is. She then asked us to use these distractions in class to help guide us back to the middle, our center.
From there she led us in a meditation where we brought our awareness inward to focus on the different perspectives we can find from within.
We then went into child's pose and came up for some easy stretches that included the side body, head, tongues (stretched out in lion) and eyes which we awakened by gazing from side to side.
Once our bodies were warm, we went into the vinyasa portion of class starting with surya namaskar and variations that included triangle, crescent lunge, warrior one, chair and chair twist.
Miriam's sequencing was fluid. She never moved too fast, and frequently told us to tune into our breath. Her voice was calming and clear. Sometimes she sang along to her playlist which was a beautiful mix that cued perfectly to our sequence. We went through sun salutations to Stevie Wonder and found stillness to "Lovin’ You." Also included were songs by The Beatles, Lenny Kravitz and Radiohead.
In warrior two, Miriam recalled her talk on the middle. She asked us to feel the extremities reaching out while staying solid in our centers.
To practice balance, and staying in the middle, we took tree and warrior three. Miriam included a mini vinyasa in between these poses which had us stand on our toes ("Barbie feet," she said), one foot in front of the other, and lifted and lowered our legs with our palms pressing up and down.
From padottanasana, she suggested tripod headstand. Another opportunity to invert came up with shoulderstand as part of our closing postures. To backbend, we were offered full wheel or bridge for a full ten breaths. We took fish right after, and then went to rest.
Wrapping up a nice savasana, we came back to sit where Mariam asked us to, "Feel the architecture of the spine and its support, and notice how the calming of the mind allows for the awakening of the body's intelligence. Feel what it’s like to be in the middle, and how good that feels."
As I rolled up my mat, I felt my center and committed to staying with this feeling for the rest of the day.
—Elysha Lenkin for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $9 (for 9:30am only, all other classes are $15) with $2 mat rental available. New student packages include three classes for $30 or one month unlimited for $108. First class is free.