My Life in Words
Tips, travel, yoga, mentoring, life, and everything in between.
Leaving off from Sunday in New York.
The Monday following I googled a Forever 21 to buy a few items for my stay because the weather was a bit colder then I had anticipated and I didn’t want to bring cold weather clothing en route to the Caribbean. Luckily Irina had a few jackets I could barrow for the time being. It was a 2.5 mile walk up Broadway to get to Forever 21 and I had more then enough time to walk. Just after Irina scurried off to work, I left shortly after to familiarize myself with Manhattan.
I headed north and took in the hustle and bustle of a New York minute watching people rush off to work, buying their breakfast donuts and coffees from the street stands, making their way on foot in the local commute with an umbrella, phones, and earphones. To my pleasure, I found a 24 Hour Fitness along the way, which was a bonus. Eventually I found the Forever 21 (yep I’m not boujie) I spent an hour rummaging through the clothes, trying on a few items until I finally felt satisfied with what I had.
Previously, I looked up Yoga to the People for locations and times. I saw on the schedule a noon Power Vinyasa class at a location relatively close to where I was that was in contingency. I decided to look up Dharma Yoga Centre and their class schedule also had a noon class as well for 90 minutes. Decision made. The studio was approximately 1.5 miles away from where I was, a tad further but not entirely a stretch. I calculated X amount of blocks walking at X pace to get there in the knick of time. It was cold, wet, raining, dreary, and I was, loving the atmosphere. I had nowhere to be other then on my way to Dharma to get in a practice.
When I arrived, I walked in like a little kid in a chocolate candy store. I was excited, I finally made it to this studio I’ve heard of, read about, saw on the television, and there I was. Dharm Mittra the owner and master teacher was not around during my time frame unfortunately. No worries, I was still so excited to be there, to be at this space that has such a invaluable reputation. The front desk staff was kind and I could tell it was going to be a great session, just by hearing the chanting from the previous class as I walked in. There was something about this studio I immediately fell in love with.
The energy spoke to me and I was eager to be a student all over again, more so than Y7. People started piling into the space in all different directions, grabbing props, yoga wheels, blankets, blocks, chit chatting amongst others. I placed my mat down in a corner tucked in the back so I could see the entire space. It’s a very basic studio, no showers, or hip music playing. To me, I felt like I was definitely in a New York yoga class simply by the array of beings that came together in this space. It’s interesting to accept the notion that this was east coast vs west coast, traditional but not. I don’t get classes like that back in San Diego unless it’s Ashtanga based or Rocket.
We started in standing of traditional Surya Namaskar A moving into B with only the name of the poses. No cookie cutter cueing, just get your bum right into it and move. Our teacher was male, slim, seemed young, perhaps early 30’s. Strong of course with standard inner strength in flexibility, giving me the impression he only teaches this particular style. His voice was dry and that of a master teacher. There is an essence of demeanor from different styles of teaching and many programs teach their YTT’s to be embracing, soft, and inviting. He was not. He was not mean, nor harsh, he was matter of fact, and that’s what I liked. He had a drawing distance to his teaching methodology and that has always been my go to in practice. I feel personally, that is what makes a master teacher; a slight separation of camaraderie but not entirely unapproachable.
Throughout the 90 minute session, I received everything I was quietly feening in a practice. The Dharma sequence is attractive yet intimidating. Like a beautiful human walking into a room that has all the sex appeal and qualities of a well-rounded person, only to have you question yourself. Of course I couldn’t nail every advance posture like I use to before, taking into consideration I just don’t practice that hard anymore. Nevertheless, because of the environment I submitted myself to, my inner yogic practice was heightened and I’m glad I took the initiative to make it to Dharma.
Studio Review - Modest, Enlightening, Big Space
From the elevator you walk into the small area to take shoes off. Lobby is of moderate size, plenty of Dharma souvenirs and other yogic essentials, beads, malas, how to books, etc. The look is not hip or up to date and that's what makes it what it is.
Changing area - Two curtained off areas for men and women to leave their stuff.
Bathrooms - Small, basic, no showers
Main room - Very big, plenty of props to use.
'New York concrete jungle where dreams are made of’ - Alicia Keys.
It has been approximately nine years since I visited NYC, and this time I managed to stay for five days. People love New York with its scurrying lifestyle, hip and trendy bars, joints, neighborhoods, and active movement. It is active and I would say as I walked around the city, I felt like an ant moving throughout a steroid injected ant farm people watching while minding my own business. David Bowie once said, ‘You can have a normal life in New York.’ You can, but it depends on your definition of a normal life.
So, why New York to yoga hop? Well, I flew out there to visit a girlfriend of mine whom I met in Jamaica a few years back at the eco-retreat I teach at from time to time (Go Natual (www.gonaturaljamaica.com/). We keep in touch regularly through Facebook, and face time. She met up with me while I was in Thailand a couple years back and offered the invitation several times to visit her in New York. After two years, I finally made the effort.
Staying true to my name ‘Traveling Yoginista', I was keen to check out a few yoga studios that I have heard of to get a feel of the environment and get a practice in. The glory of travel is to experience yoga on my own terms, and there are times I don’t go to any yoga studios, and practice alone. Then there are times I just soak it all in at different locations. Tasting the different environments altogether. Though I coined the name ‘Traveling Yoginista’, it doesn’t make me any different then of those who travel and teach as well. I have said many times over, we are all Traveling Yoginistas.
I started writing this blog on the last day of my trip to NYC and I’m currently on a dive trip on Roatan Island, off the coast of Honduras. It’s a nice quiet night here with a settling breeze coming from the east. I met up with my boyfriend in Miami en route to the island, and booked a week stay at Tobri Divers, managed and operated by a lovely couple that I met in Thailand in 2013. But, let’s get back to the yoga in NYC.
I flew to New York on a Saturday morning from San Diego arriving in the afternoon to visit my girlfriend, Irina. I took an Uber pool from JFK and met two other passengers who happen to be from San Diego as well. We talked about growing up and traveling abroad, agreeing how many people in San Diego (and I’m sure in many other parts of the country and the world), people don’t leave the comfort of their surroundings. After an hour or so picking up and dropping off in Brooklyn, I finally made it to the financial district to Irina's place.
It was wonderful to catch up and the first thing we did was walk over to a Russian bathhouse about a ten-minute walk from her place. Interesting place it was as you walk down a few steps into a mediocre lobby to check in and grab a key. I have to say though, for the price you pay, it’s a gem. Nothing bourgeoisie about it; and that’s precisely what made the place quite awesome and worth every dollar. It had a bar slash café slash restaurant slash plastic outdoor (apparently indoor too) chairs slash you can order whatever you wish in your bathing suit seating area that was not segregated from male to female. Russian plaques and signs were hanging all over the walls, TVs, a concoction of foreign languages being spoken, primarily, you guessed it, Russian.
Apart from the slash after slash after slash all in one dining area, you also had your set of different sweat rooms from Russian to Turkish to traditional sauna as well as a selection of steam rooms, topped off with the ice drop to psych out the body; there was also a full size pool and a Jacuzzi, all underneath a building. To top off the bathhouse experience, a VIP room with dark lighting and sultry 90’s era booths for your ultimate night out. Surprisingly there were quite a bit of people there and it was a fun time. Irina said it’s not as busy as it usually is and I’m sure glad it wasn’t because the amount of humans that were utilizing the fun zone was enough for me.
We started out by ordering food at the bar, then went to the Jacuzzi for 30 minutes followed by eating our meal in bikinis and towels in the café, grabbing a glass of red wine, moving onto the saunas, and a steamer for a night cap. Overall, I have to give this place a 5 star rating not because of the fancy décor, but purely by the come all be all invitation of enjoying yourself offerings. I definitely would like to go back, that’s not a bad way to spend your Saturday night.
The following day, Irina took me to a place called Y7 in Soho which was the first yoga studio experience. She mentioned it was her favorite place to practice because they play hiphop music during the practice. I play some hiphop songs when I teach, but not full on. We jumped in a Via cab and took the 10 minute jaunt over to the studio and unfortunately it was full at 10 am. The girl at the front desk said for us to wait just in case a few people don’t show up and we could get a spot. In the knick of time and at the last minute, Irina and I were able to get a place in the dark room to begin our practice.
The class we took had 3 flows. We started with a build up of holding the postures, followed by another round of adding breath to movement. Once we picked up the flow, we were given 5-7 minutes to practice the flow on our own. That’s when the hardcore hiphop came on, and loud to add. Each flow was slightly different then the previous and due to it being so dark, everyone was in their own element and on their own pace. If you like hiphop, this is your place.
Y7 Yoga Studio – Soho
430 Broome St. New York
Studio – Loft like. Walk up a flight of stairs into a small lobby. Décor is minimal but airy and fresh with hiphop beats in the back round. The front desk is nestled in the middle of the space, and it can get crowded quite quickly due to the small space.
Bathroom/Shower – Only one shower and two bathrooms
Space – Lobby all white. Small but spacious and clean.
Room - Dark, candle lit with a huge “A tribe called Sweat” logo painted in the center. Probably holds 30 people mat to mat. Heated, hip hop music varies.
Class – Vinyasa Flow 60 minutes.
After finishing our class at Y7, Irina and I went back to her place to freshen up before heading out on the town. First we had lunch along side the river before heading over to One World Observatory to see the views on the only clear day I was in town. We went to Central Park (per the usual tourist and normal city folk do to), sat on the grass having ourselves some Ice Tea Lattes, walked around for a little bit before heading back to her place. The day ended with a lovely dinner for two Irina put together followed by some Hulu before calling it an evening. A little over 24 hours into my trip so far and it was just swimmingly perfect.
Until my next blog of another yoga studio experience.