Sangha House: Finding Balance With An Evening Yoga Flow

I had been genuinely looking forward to Thursday evening’s yoga gathering with several New York-area ladies, including the lovely Katherine of Sweat Passion and Tears who put the event together, for quite some time now. Of course, when I replied “yes,” I in no way predicted that the get-together would come at just the right time — during the one and a half week period before half-marathon training in which I’d been extra tired, jet lagged, grumpy and sick of my piriformis syndrome pain.

Thursday’s yoga practice was highly welcomed after a tough, busy week (does the first week after an awesome vacation ever not suck?). Fortunately, Tuesday’s birth of my new nephew and niece made all of my problems — including that lingering gonna-punch-everyone-in-the-face feeling — slide onto the back burner. Yep, I knew exactly who I was dedicating my practice to before even making my way to the east side studio. Welcome to the world, little Dustin Miles and Remy Alexa. You’re bound to be as awesome as your big brother Becker, though we’ll see if your cheeks ever compare.

(Look at that running form and smile!)

The event took place at Sangha House, conveniently located on 28th between Park and Madison and only 10 blocks from my apartment. Tucked away on the second floor, the studio turned out to be cute, clean, spacious and filled with light. Even better was watching the sun slowly fade outside of the massive windows, the studio becoming dimmer and dimmer with every inhale and exhale as the night wore on.

I have to say — and my injured running partner BK had to agree — that Thursday’s practice was like the Goldie Locks of all yoga flows. Not too difficult, but not too boring restorative, I found myself challenged by the poses but not by the speed at which they were performed. Translation: perfection.

Something else I appreciated was that the instructor, who graciously introduced herself to me prior to the class and asked whether I had any injuries (duh, piriformis syndrome, don’t you read WRFG?), actually incorporated the kinds of poses I told her that I loved — along with a few additional sequences that targeted my glutes, hips and sciatic nerve too. In other words, I was in pigeon pose heaven. So thanks, Ximena.

To me, yoga is a form of maintenance — not my primary form of working out. (If you missed that by the blog’s title, I’ll try to make it clearer.) I’m a runner, self-proclaimed obsessed by nature. As a devout once a week practitioner of yoga, I look to the ancient art as a way to unwind, lengthen, stretch and strengthen, not as a way to soak through my sports bra.

That’s exactly what Sangha House offers, and I can confidently say that I can’t wait to return. Maybe it was the music; any instructor who plays Damien Rice’s painfully emo-song The Blower’s Daughter during yoga is a winner in my book. Maybe it was the setting; the class was reassuringly full yet spacious enough that we weren’t elbow to elbow. Or maybe it was the collective group of individuals in the room; all of us like-minded athletes with determination running through our veins. Maybe it was a combination of all three.

All I know is that, just two hours ago, I was walking around the streets of Manhattan with steam practically streaming out of my ears. After tonight’s class however, I feel decidedly calmer. My inner sense of balance is far greater than it was before. And finally, after a week or so of very slow and steady workouts (no runs exceeding 3 miles, who am I?), I think I’m ready to get back on the half marathon training horse.

Bring it, Philly.

  • Do you prefer a strong, powerful yoga sequence or a gentle, restorative flow?

12 thoughts on “Sangha House: Finding Balance With An Evening Yoga Flow

  1. I’m in the middle, I used to be all about the crazy hard power classes. I still go to those, but my favorite classes are the ones that move a little slower but offer really challenging postures and really focus on alignment.

    • I think it depends on my mood, because there are certain moments when power is nice too. I also think I burnt out on power yoga by beginning my practice with those kinds of classes years ago, and never really exploring slower paced ones. In the winter, there is nothing like a hot, sweaty vinyasa flow to get the blood movin.

  2. I have zero idea why I didn’t meet you tonight!!! I haven’t done yoga in over a year but I left the studio feeling challenged yet relaxed. The instructor was wonderful and helpful. I would love to go back!

    Also, I am soooo happy you love that song too!!! When it came on I was thrilled!

    Let’s get together for a run or a drink or both soon!

    • That’s too bad, right? I think I recognized you, but were semi-deep in conversation and didn’t want to interrupt; I figured it wouldn’t be the first time we’d share the same space anyway.

      That’s too funny. It’s one of those songs when you look around to see if you’re the only one swooning – because it’s so depressing. But so good.

      Agreed on both. Run, drink, both – they go together famously.

      By the way, I’m surprisingly sore this morning. I think that class was extra stretchy. Or I’m out of yoga practice.

      • I am sore too! But a good sore. I love that she geared the poses and stretches towards spots that runners need to work. I wish I lived closer, I would definitely be there more often!

        Let’s do a run/drink combo next week!

  3. This recap of last night’s class is perfectly written! I truly couldn’t have said it better myself. I was apprehensive at first, but once the flow started, I must admit, I thought it was a great class. I am extremely sore this morning and I think it was the combination of strength training and a yoga class that was indeed challenging, while still relaxing enough for me to let my mind go. My favorite combination in a yoga class.

    Congratulations on the birth of your niece and nephew! That’s so exciting.

    It was great to finally meet you (and Beth)! Wish we had more time to chat after class was over. I second what Ashley said, I think a run/drinks date is in order soon! Like you, I like having something/somewhere to run to. To me, that makes it so much more fun, right?

    • Sounds good to me! (After this morning’s run – which, yes, I did – I am basically ready to soak my entire body in a pool of ice.) Ouch.

  4. Pingback: Sangha House NYC | Running Bun

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