Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yoga Passbook 2011 - Day 6 (Yoga Vida NYC/The Secret is Out!)

Yoga Vida NYC, 99 University Place, NY, NY, www.yogavidanyc.com

Yesterday I was determined to go to yoga. Mercury is retrograde so everything was slower than usual and than I had a few internet snags to contend with, but I made it! I was going to go in Brooklyn, but due to the snags in my day I didn't make it to the bank in Brooklyn because it closes at 4pm. So I headed to the City where the banks close at 5pm and decided to take my class there.

I went to my bank branch in the Village and then walked over and up to Union Square, and to Yoga Vida NYC.  Like many of the places in my passbook I had never been there.  The studio is on University Place on the 6th floor of a building. When I got there the building felt familiar, but it wasn't until I was leaving that I realized why.  Core Pilates is also housed in this building and I had been to Core a few times before.

As usual, at least for the past two classes I was really early.  I walked in, took off my shoes and noticed that the release forms were out. So I signed and walked around a bit only to find that there was a huge class in session in the bigger of the two rooms in the studio.  That class was packed! It kind of reminded me of Jivamukti, which is also in Union Square.

Yoga Vida felt really great. When you walk off the elevator you are right in front of where everyone drops their shoes and coats. The men's room is to the left and the front desk is to the right.  Right in front of the desk is the small class room. This is where I had class, but if you go around the corner there is the larger classroom and clearly they needed that because again it was packed! If you keep walking straight there is a cute lounge and the the ladies rooms is to your right and the changing rooms are to the right of the couches.

Front Desk. Small class through the door.
Since I was early I was going to sit in lounge and wait  for someone to officially check me in, but just then someone walked in who could help me.  Turned out it was the teacher.  Great! So she checked me in, told me we would be in the small room in front of us and I could go in and set up.  I walked in and wasn't too clear about which was the front of the room was. Usually there is an alter of some sort, but there wasn't. So I asked and she told me which was to face and I set up my station.  There was one other woman there setting up her things as well.

Lounge area. Comfy couches.

As I sat waiting for class to start a myriad of things were going through my mind.  The music that was playing was great and I was wondering who it was.  As people were trickling in I was lamenting the fact that I was the only person of color yet again in class. But just as I was saying that to myself this ultra bubbly sista walks in the door. She looks right at me and says hello! She then starts talking to me about how she has to set up a station for her friend who is coming and her friend likes to sit in the front of class and she doesn't because she doesn't think she's any good at yoga, but she keeps coming back because her friend keeps inviting her...and on she goes.  I think I was in shock that she was talking to me and she was black. HA! Just so happened her friend was Latina so I had to eat my silent words.  I am very clear that my yoga practice is not about who is in class with you, but I really do love to see people of color in my yoga class. It just makes me feel good because so many of us are not taking care of ourselves. But that's a whole other blog.

The small class was pretty full, but soon we were off and moving.  The teacher's name was Jessie. She was really pleasant from the jump.  She introduced herself. Check! She asked if people had injuries she should know about.  Check! She told people to take care of themselves. Check! Okay let's do this!

When Jessie began her class there was no Om three times or even once and strangely enough it didn't matter. Her energy was so vibrant I think we really didn't need it. Very strange for me to say that, but it's true.  The class was a basics class and although I have been practicing yoga for a long time I really like basics classes because it keeps you tuned up. Especially if you haven't been practicing regularly like me. Jessie made it clear that she would come around and adjust people if needed and I really love that because I believe in the power of touch.

As class began we moved through cat/cow and a few other postures to get warmed up before we hit our first down dog. Jessie was very attentive to everyone in the class. She would slow things down and demonstrate something if she thought it would help people. I really appreciated that. When you practice yoga for a long time, you might get the feeling that you have it all correct, but then someone will break something down for you and then suddenly it really clicks. That is what happened for me a few times in class. First was with knees, chest, chin and keeping my arms in an outward rotation. Now I have been taught this for sure and probably have been doing it, but doing it and being mindful of doing it are two very different things. Same for coming into a flat back after moving through Uttanasana (forward bend). It was like a lightbulb went off and I have been doing these moves for years! I love it when that happens. 

The rest of the class was really awesome as well. Good music and great teaching.  I love that combo.  I could hear the young lady in the back who had talked to me earlier, talking to herself about her practice. She was saying out loud, to her herself how terrible she was at all of this.  I wanted to stop and tell her that this is not about being good or bad. Yoga is not a competition. Not even with yourself. It's a practice and if you keep going you will get better and feel better.  No time to beat yourself up. But I know she'll be okay. She has a friend and she keeps coming back.  That's really the best sign of them all.  Even if you are grumbling through the whole class, keep going back.

So I know you are wondering what the secret is.  I had posted an earlier blog about Area Yoga being the best keep secret because their classes are only $10. Well I found another one! Yes folk, drop in classes at Yoga Vida are $10 and for new guest right now they are offering at week of unlimited yoga for $10. Also if you are a student then classes are....drumroll please...$5!  Yes I said $5!  I wish I had a student ID.  HA! Another thing that is not listed on their website is that they offer Karma Yoga, which is basically work-study.  So you can help out around the space and you can get free yoga in exchange.  I didn't get all the details about that, but it was nice to see that option. I know many studios offer this kind of thing.  Now I understand why that big studio was packed when I walked in. 

So yes Manhattan folks. There is $10 yoga in Union Square. I think Yoga To the People is also very inexpensive, but I'm also shocked to find a cheap, good class in this city where some studios will try and run you over $20 and I'm not talking Bikram. 

When class ended I had to go over to the iPod and see what Jessie had been playing when we came in because she was playing it on our way out. It was the first Fleet Foxes and clearly I'm late because it was their first album from 2008. But I have to get that joint. It appealed to my hippie sensibilities. LOL!
Jessie (awesome teacher) & grasshopper

I waited until some of the folks left and asked Jessie to take a photo. She was really sweet. Found out she's an actress and voiceover artist as well. Got a little advice on the V.O. front from her as well. That was sweet!  Then I headed out.  Another great day on the mat.


Note: Don't forget to check out my IndieGoGo campaign.  One of the incentives is Yoga Class with Me! Let's make music and be healthy together.