Stepping into Laughing Lotus is like walking on sunshine, and the Sunday Lotus Hour with Jamie Skolnick is a perfect example of that magic. “Bring your left hand to your heart and your right hand on top,” said Jamie to the packed room of sunwalkers, as a way to relieve depression and anxiety, she said.
Her intro set the tone for the class: "B.K.S. Iyengar said the yogi’s mind actually lives in the heart. If we do enough yoga we can slow down the churnings of the mind, and imagine that the brain literally drops down to the heart...the wisdom, the intuition of the heart. The heart knows, it’s beyond the mind and the ego.” Jamie, a teacher of 13 years who discovered yoga while living in Hawaii, played her harmonium as the we chanted “Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu.” “Make your body an altar,” she said as we came to reverse hands and knees, lifting our torsos, bringing our heads gently back and exhaling through the mouth. From there we took a mini-inversion in rabbit pose, lifting our hips off our heels and opening the back of the heart, before rising up into our first down dog. “The head hangs below the heart in down dog so you can let the heart lead,” noted Jamie. From there we got right up to sun salutations, which got us very sweaty very quickly in the summer humidity. We rose to a firm stance in warrior one, then clasped hands behind the back in devotional warrior before circling open into warrior two. “Let your hips sink and your belly fire up,” said Jamie. We progressed through triangle, extended side angle with an half or full bind, and half-moon with a grab of the back ankle. “Dance with the breath,” Jamie encouraged. “Let go of everything that is no longer you.” Wrapping the left arm underneath the right, we turned the toes out and the heels in, sinking the hips and swaying in Kali pose. We progressed to side planks and rock star before facing forward again to sit in malasana. “Symbolically, spiritually, this pose helps with understanding others,” said Jamie. “Compassion.”
We played with airtime in crow pose, with an optional tripod headstand. When our feet found the earth we twisted in a prayer lunge, then experimented with revolved triangle and half moon, descending into a seated twist to transition from the latter. As we began to wind down, Julia closed the curtains, bathing the room in a soft glow as The Beatles’ plaintive “Julia” began to play. We took a series of bridges and wheels before settling down to reclined goddess, legs in cobblers pose and arms resting wherever they naturally fell. “Your hands are the instruments of the heart,” said Jamie. “They instinctively know where to go.” From there we placed one ankle over the other knee and twisted on the mat, wringing out those Friday and Saturday toxins, then stretched out into savasana. “Let your body rest,” said Jamie. “Sounds easy but it’s actually a really advanced practice, to not do anything but receive, and take in,” she offered. As we pressed up to sit we brought hands to heart and completed our Lotus Hour by “Om”ing gratefully along with Jamie’s harmonium once more. —Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $22 with a $2 mat rental.
Sunday 1-2pm Intermediate Laughing Lotus 636 6th Ave., 3rd Fl New York, NY 10011 (212) 414-2903