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Stefanie Eris

After a holiday weekend of making merry, Yoga Sleuth's mat was calling to him to wring the old out before ringing in the New Year. For this, Stefanie Eris' lunchtime class at House of Jai was made to order. Stefanie is a Laughing Lotus alum who also served as the National Yoga Director at Exhale for 4 years.

Before class, Stefanie went around the room check in with each of us personally, then asked us to keep a blanket handy for an abdominal massage to come later on. So we knew we'd be getting a treat after the hard work! "Today we're going to focus on creating space in the belly, compressing it, twisting it so we can digest after all this holiday stuff," said Stefanie. We started on our backs with feet on the floor. "Take a moment to let all the muscles that hold you up throughout the day get soft and relaxed. Allow your attention to drop into your body.Send your breath down into your belly, create space there."

We came into supta baddha konasana while pressing our hands into the thighs, then replanted the feet and raised our arms alongside our ears for a set of rolling bridges. "Move as if you were swimming through molasses," suggested Stefanie as we added retention to the top of the inhale. "Think about breathing in without actually doing it; it'll create a vacuum in your center." And from this vigorous sweaty flow, we smoothly transitioned into a restorative sequence. And indeed it was the treat we had been promised: we rolled up out blankets and placed them at the soft part of our belly and enjoyed the promised massage to our abdomen and digestive organs.

Wrung out and relaxed, we left class prepared to ring in the year, renewed.

—Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth Drop-in classes are $30 with complimentary Manduka mat and towel provided. Class packages and membership options are available. Tuesday 12:15-1:30pm Intermediate House of Jai 1456 1st Ave. New York, NY 10021 (646) 861-3659

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