Stanton Street Yoga is a ground floor yoga studio with a sanctuary retreat space on the floors above. As I walked through to the studio at the back, I passed a large kitchen where they hold Conscious Cooking classes on a regular basis. To the front right of the yoga studio is an altar holding various offerings and a couple of colorful deities. (Stanton Street Yoga is a sister studio to the Bhakti Center.) This bright and warm studio offered a fine retreat from the upcoming snowstorm that was threatened for the next day.
“Are you looking forward to the snow day tomorrow?” our teacher, Patrice Caracci, asked us when she walked into class. Patrice’s next-day flight had been canceled, she told us. She seemed to be handling it well and with cheer, perhaps because Patrice is a long-time practitioner at Stanton Street yoga, where she was also trained, and where she often finds refuge from any stresses in life.
Class began with a seated meditation with Patrice asking us to be present to the breath. This was followed by a few rounds of cat and cow where Patrice invited us to do the spinal movements with the breath. “Use the breath to work out where you’re tense,” she advised us.
We then moved through a series of fast-paced sun salutations in this level 2/3 class. Patrice added some variations in which, from standing, we would take hold of the left wrist with the right hand and bend to the right, and then to the other side. After she had led us through a few rounds of sun salutations, Patrice then encouraged us to go through a couple of rounds at our own pace. Later, low lunge and low lunge twist with hands in prayer position was added to the mix.
Patrice also requested that we hold utkatasana for ten breaths. As students began to make strained faces in utkatasana, Patrice asked us, “How many times have you held a pose and thought you were going to die? And then of course you didn’t die. You’re still here! So just stay with the pose. It will be over soon.”
It was over quicker than we knew, and soon we were moving through various sequences composed of high lunge, warrior 3, standing split, high lunge with prayer twist, triangle, revolved triangle, ardha chandrasana, revolved ardha chandrasana, and handstand hops. More poses were added to this refreshing sequencing including a warrior 2 followed by goddess pose.
In the final vinyasa of the night, following knee to opposite elbow, the pose turned into a pigeon preparation. After holding pigeon preparation for several breaths, Patrice walked us through a pigeon variation, hooking our elbow around our back foot for mermaid pose.
Slowing the class down, Patrice led us through a happy baby and bridge pose, with the option to come up into full wheel. We then took our feet mat’s-width distance apart and dropped our legs side to side. From there, we practiced plow followed by shoulderstand. Patrice gave us the option to take any other poses we wished to wind down our practice before savasana.
Class ended with three “om”s. “That was a great class,” the man on the next mat said to me as I was leaving. It was. I almost wanted to go back for seconds as the next group of students rolled in for the live music class, another great Stanton Street offering and retreat from the incoming storm.
—Marie Carter for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $20 with no charge for mat rental. New students can try one week unlimited for $35 or one month month for $108.