I’m always excited when I can find my way to practice with Tanya Boulton, and her Friday morning vinyasa class at Pure Yoga East did not disappoint! I’m drawn in the moment she begins teaching.
Tanya is wonderful at preparing the body and mind for practice right off the bat. The result is that you feel as though you simply float through the most challenging parts of the practice. To prepare our minds for class she started us off with sama vritti (equal length) breathing increasing from a six-breath count to an eight-breath count. She guided us through supta baddha konasana to happy baby to start preparing our bodies for the physical practice.
We brought a rolled-up blanket between our legs to the base of our pelvic bone. Laying flat on our backs we cradled the back of our head in our and hands and began a core strengthening exercise. Tanya guided us to lift our heads and shoulders while keeping our lower backs on the ground. She reminded us to keep the face and shoulders soft, engage mula bandha, and to begin witnessing sensation. It was a challenging warm-up but her calm presence guided me through it and reminded me to stay calm. The entire warm-up was steady and slow.
Tanya’s sequencing flows so smoothly that class seems to fly by before you know it.
Tanya brought our attention back to our breath often and asked that if we do nothing else we continue to find a steady meditative breath. Throughout class she sprinkled wise statements into the practice that reminded us to remain in our bodies and our breath so that our physical practice wouldn’t wind up in a different place than our mind.
The class continued to gain an even and unwavering pace as we glided through poses such as virabhadrasana three, to ardha chandrasana, to standing split. In three-legged dog we reached for the hip that correlated with the lifted leg. It was a challenging move that called on a lot of balance, core strength, and a connection to the deep and even breath we had connected. The pose then transitioned into a flipped dog. Other interesting sequencing included a side plank with legs in tree pose which transitioned into a plank keeping the legs in tree pose and a warrior three with “airplane” arms into revolved ardha chandrasana.
Tanya broke down pincha mayurasana. She reminded us to re-adjust our arms after every lift and I found myself close to floating into the pose which is a rare occurrence for me. I give credit to her strong core warm-up, gentle reminders to keep our minds and bodies aligned, and her instruction to readjust our arms after each lift up. Our wind-down included pigeon with an option for double pigeon, then a straddle stretch, supine twist, and a revisit through happy baby and supta baddha konasana. Towards the end she reminded us to come home to ourselves and to return with love and compassion.
Tanya’s mastery of traditional yoga techniques sets students up for a self-empowered practice. Using the breath, bandhas, core-strength, and presence helps us feel empowered within our practice. Nothing was excessive and her verbal cues came with ease. I got the sense that I was learning from someone who has truly done the work herself. Tanya is able to deliver guidance with a genuine faith in the practice and deep wisdom, a true Guru.
—Erika Beaton for Yoga Sleuth
Pure Yoga classes are members-only but first-time students can try a trial class for $21. Mats, towels and locker room facilities available.