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?