Looking for Monday motivation, Yoga Sleuth headed for one of the hottest studios in more ways than one. Sweat Yoga in Tribeca delivers exactly what it suggests, leaving you bedraggled but energized for the week to come.
An actress and dancer, Pittsburgh native Sarrah Strimel found yoga in the aftermath of a Broadway injury, and her passion and creativity are on display in her focused class themes, sequences and playlists. The packed room was already sweltering as she asked us to close our eyes and let our bellies fill up with breath.
"In yoga we have a concept called sangha," she said. "It means family, community. As New Yorkers, the longer we live here, family increases exponentially. Our circles grow. Sangha is what keeps us here, the connections we have with other people. As we move tonight I want you to consider your sangha, your New York tribe. Let's move together as one, taking the sound of 'om' to celebrate each other."
We started seated, stretching through the side body as the music began to pound out a dance rhythm with an eastern feel, and soon we were rolling forward to high plank, bringing knee to nose before pressing back to down dog. We progressed to an "A" flow sequence including chair pose, a side twist, extended side angle, and reaching back into "Star Gazer" pose—straightening the front knee, bending the back one at an angle, and reaching the top arm overhead. After a few guided trips Sarrah had us try the sequence on our own, as the beat of "We are Family" by Sister Sledge fittingly filled the room.
The "B" flow started with tree pose, adding a side bend with hands clasped overhead and index finger pointing up Charlie's Angels-style. We soared in warrior 3, took a high lunge, twisted to the side wall, opened into triangle, and then paused in wide legged forward fold before swiveling to the back of the room and lunging into half moon. "This is a great time to practice some handstand hops," said Sarrah as we lowered into a standing split. Again the music swelled as we took the sequence on our own, testing our stamina and our memory. "You know where you're going!" encouraged Sarrah.
"Come Together" by the Beatles complemented us thematically for our next sequence, beginning with malasana. "Everyone lift up an inch," said Sarrah as we lowered one arm to the mat and let the other soar. "You have to be really open in the side body to be able to give great hugs to your sangha!"
We continued into fallen triangle and warrior 1, dived into humble warrior and opened into warrior 2. "I want this to feel like a release," said Sarrah of the latter pose; and then we pivoted to the back of the room for side angle. "Use the momentum of your torso," cued Sarrah as our gazes came skyward, fighting nonstop beads of sweat. We returned to "Star Gazer," and then once more Sarrah set us loose on our own to explore.
Cooling down a bit with the help of ceiling fans, we took lowered torsos over figure-four legs, and opened our chests in upright pigeons. The Cranberries made us wistful with "Ode to My Family" as we took bridges, wheel and supine twist. As our bodies finally found rest we reached for the lavender scented soaked towel that had been left for us, placing it over eyes and foreheads. Al Green played us out with the perfect sentiment for our practice: "Let's Stay Together."
—Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $28 with a $3 rental each for mat, mat towel and shower towel. New students can try a 14-day intro special for $49.
Monday 7:15-8:15pm Intermediate
Sweat Yoga 406 Broadway, 3rd Fl New York, NY 10013 (917) 470-9599