After a brief winter hiatus from vigorous vinyasa, Yoga Sleuth was ready to get back in the game. Calling it a Yogamaya Monday, I joined a jam-packed class to sweat and flow with Bridgette Trezza. Bridgette told us that she had been reading the essays of senior Iyengar teacher Carrie Owerko, who, in turn, shared some wisdom from BKS Iyengar. "'I am enlightening each day in my sadhana, my practice,'" quoted Bridgette. "The endgame to yoga is enlightenment, which, for us little humans may seem crazy. Iyengar's answer is to just keep practicing. So you've done it, you're here!" announced Bridgette. Coming to plank we hit the mat running with chaturangas, up and down dogs, followed by warrior two, side angle, half-moon, and a clever transition from triangle to side plank with top leg planted against the thigh in tree pose. Bridgette invited us to keep the tree as we returned to plank and chaturanga. The music accompanying us was varied, ranging from trance to calypso to reggae, while always seeming to complement the particular pose we were in. We tested our balance with warrior three while arms were eagle-wrapped tight to the midline.Turning to face the side, we stretched one leg while bending the other in skandasana, then folded into prasarita padottonasa with an optional spell in tripod headstand. Next, Bridgette sat in the middle of the room to show us crow pose the Yogamaya way. "The way we teach it is to start low," she said, demonstrating. "So that you can use the pressing of your arms and legs to lift your heels." We gave it a try, and I found myself catching quite a bit of airtime with this method! But crow itself was not our peak. We came to a reverse table top with blocks under our hands, then bent our knees and sank down, our backsides lowering between the blocks but not quite finding the mat. We did several reps, then Bridgette skillfully demoed the evening's main event: eka pada bakasana. Soon it was playtime for all as we placed one leg over the shoulder then lifted into the complicated arm balance--falling, laughing, and trying again. The music changed to mystical sitar as we came down to the mat, supine twisting and then crossing our shins and grabbing our feet to pull our lower limbs gently to our torsos. Then we opened up like starfish as a string quartet signaled savasana. As we breathed in the darkness, Bridgette's soothing voice encouraged us to find rest: "If you still find yourself holding on, let go and go within."
—Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth Drop-in 90-minute classes are $22, mat included. New students can try one month for $108. Monday 7:15 -8:45pm
YogaMaya 135 W 20th St., 6th Fl New York, NY 10011 (212) 675-4555