Yoga Sleuth was excited to visit Sonic Yoga in its second day at its brand new home on 8th Avenue. A new space is a great place to get back to fundamentals, and Taquice Campbell was our skilled guide in deconstructing the flow.
The lobby was filled with students coming and going as I went through the yellow curtains leading to one of the two new asana studios. I parked my mat up front and took in the statues of deities on the windowsill, flanked by green plants against the backdrop of 8th avenue.
"Thank you for being present today, and welcome to the new space!" said Taquice. "The wonderful thing about yoga is that we're not only able to take a physical trip, but a mental one as well. Set an intention and let it guide, drive, inspire your practice."
Taquice had us start by both inhaling and exhaling out of our mouths, which had a cooling effect. She then invited us to "om" with her or to simply listen and absorb; I croaked out a weak one, out of practice after a short hiatus from the mat.
We rubbed our palms together and cupped our eyes, massaging the temples and then giving attention to the jawline and then the sides of the neck above the clavicle. We took a few slow and deliberate rounds of cat and cow to awaken the spine, eyes of the elbows forward as Taquice cued.
"Open your eyes toward the altar and look out at that beautiful McDonald's sign!" quipped Taquice to laughter as we lifted to cow. "Note the spinal cord is actually a jelly-like cord. The only thing that gives it rigidity, other than the stresses of life, is the very complex set of bones that stack on top of one another to preserve this amazing neurological thing that relays all the messages of our body towards our brain. We have to preserve it, but also work it out."
We threaded the needle with one arm as the other yearned forward and then to the side, its fingers tenting and giving us a stretch to the side. "Breathe into this thing you've created," said Taquice. Back into tabletop, we raised the right arm and the left leg, keeping the hips on the same plane and flexing the raised foot, then bending its knee to grab the foot for a quad stretch. In our first down dog we moved the hips, pressed the heels and bent the knees, bringing life and awareness to every joint and, as Taquice observed, the synovial fluid running through them.
We created a flow in stages, breaking it down into parts. We explored plank, then added cobra, chaturanga and up dog separately before putting it all together to flow. "You're challenging your body," said Taquice, "but as you build your asana each time it gets easier and easier."
In between each stage we took a breath in child's pose, occasionally taking a prayer to rest behind our heads.
"This pose is your friend!" reminded Taquice. "This is not a weakness, it's a surrender of allowing."
We stood and forward folded, then rose to bring hands overhead and to each side to stretch the side body. Bringing one foot behind the other, we placed its knee to the back of the other knee and blossomed into "dancing shiva." We then proceeded to chair pose and warrior two, Shaquice precisely cueing each articulation. Before we knew it, it was time to cool down, and Shaquice had us lie down and shift our hips to one side so we could reach bent legs to the other side for a reclined twist. We then stretched out for a short savasana before rocking up to sit once more.
At the end of class my "om" was clear and strong, and Taquice complimented me on its resonance. I thanked her for helping me get it, and my grasp of the basics, back again!
—Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $22 with a $2 mat rental. New students can try two months unlimited for $108.
Sunday 1:30-2:30pm Beginner
Sonic Yoga 944 8th Ave., 2nd Fl New York, NY 10019