Yoga Shanti, with its gold walls and lavish chandeliers, looks right at home on the ground floor of the opulent Masonic Hall in the Flatiron District.
On a recent Wednesday morning, Sleuth showed up for Lindsay Buehler Tyson’s Shanti flow. On the website, it’s described as a 75-minute class for students “who feel the urge to move seamlessly from one posture to the next with the grace of a dancer and the mindfulness of a yogi.”
I entered the yoga room to one of Beyoncé’s softer songs—it was a good fit for the fellow student who waited in supported goddess for class to begin. Lindsay came in and asked us to grab two blocks, at least one blanket and a strap.
We began seated on a block in virasana. Lindsay sat behind the harmonium and played while she instructed us to sway gently side to side and front and back in order to notice and locate our center. We then took the second block and placed it in between our hands as we stretched our arms long in front. From there, we bent the elbows, and drew them in towards each other. Lindsay wanted us to notice the sensation of our elbows coming together before lengthening them up by the ears.
Noticing what our bodies were doing as we were moving them became the main theme of class.
“The phrase ‘find your center’ is probably overplayed so I want you to think about noticing what your body is doing while in your asana so perhaps you can bring in a little more ease, or maybe even find joy in the pose,” said Lindsay.
We went to downward dog with soft knees which led into a warm up that brought us to crescent lunge where we once again raised the arms by the ears. But this time we reached each hand higher as if rock climbing. Lindsay spoke about the space we were creating in our rib cages as our arms lengthened. She also mentioned the breath, asking us to notice and follow each inhale and exhale.
Hands-on assists were a big part of Lindsay’s teaching as she worked her way through the room for the duration of the class. Her adjustments were both grounding and lengthening. In upward dog, she helped raise my thighs which allowed me to reach up further with my torso. When coming into gomukhasana, she explained the transition clearly with words, and then went to another student to physically help this woman find the pose.
While class flowed at a moderately swift pace, Lindsay frequently reminded us to notice what was going on in our own bodies, and to find ease in each movement.
“Are your eyebrows straining as you lengthen your arms?” she asked. “Pull back on some of that effort!”
She introduced the sanskrit words sthira (steadiness) and sukha (ease) to help illustrate the notion of softening in the pose. And right on cue, the song “Ohh Child (Things Are Going To Get Easier)” came on.
After going through a standing series that included triangle and extended side angle with the block, we went to the wall for forearm stand which explained the block work with the elbows at the beginning of class.
“I know a lot of you are thinking there’s no way I’m coming up into forearm stand, but rather than get caught up in your story, try to keep it playful,” she said before demonstrating modifications that didn’t involve the full inversion.
Still at the wall, we went into backbending with bridge, wheel, and locust before one last leg stretch using the straps.
For savasana, we rolled up the blanket to place underneath the knees. Lindsay told us that no more effort was needed, and we could completely relax.
As we came out of rest slowly, I noticed my nervous system had been reset. I felt calmer with a sense of ease that spread through my mind and body.
—Elysha Lenkin for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $25 with $2 mat rental. Class cards and special intro offers available.