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Yoga to the (economically challenged) People

October 5, 2009

panhandler

Walking off of St. Marks  in the E.Ville you would think you were entering the shabby apartment building of some random friend, or drug dealer. It is smack dab between a hat stand and a place that sells blown glass pipes. The elevator is only for the lucky residents of this stellar building.

As you scale the stairs, there is immediate pandemonium as one class gives birth to a full flush of new students eager to replace the old ones. It seems very crazy at first, but I guess it’s because there is an overwhelming sense of simplicity that doesn’t exist with most studios. Just go in. Just go in, and put your mat down. If you need to change, there are some curtains anchored to wall on one side of the studio.

 Now, I’m only 25 years old, so I must say I have never felt old before this evening. Aside from three other “real adults,” 18-20 year olds surrounded me. They were chatty, cliquey and immediately made me feel self conscious and more juvenile than even they were acting.

Once everyone calmed down, the snarky but soothing instructor started the class. On one wall, there is the studio’s bohemian mantra…which she didn’t actually mention, beyond the fact that the studio is run by donation so don’t hesitate to drop something in the tissue box on your way out.

I feel that the class proceeded (asana-wise) very much like any other vinyasa style class. It didn’t take me long, however, to notice the chorus of sighs and moans that seemed to be encouraged by this studio. My pleasently breathy but personal yogic ujjayi seemed to be vastly out-of-place. I mean, I was enjoying myself but I wasn’t in the throes of orgasmic pleasure or anything. It’s down dog, not doggy style…c’mon people.

At the end of practice when I wanted to assume a savasana, and I’m sure my yogic companions wanted to assume a post-coital spooning position we began a high energy series of core strengthing activities. Were it not for my refusal to partake, I’m sure it would have made the subsequent resting pose that much sweeter. Oh and when I assert that the resting pose could have been sweeter, I mean that it might have been without the sonic boom-gong at the end of class. I think my ear drums cried… but maybe they’re  just not used to a hyperactive cosmic vibration.

All things considered, I really enjoyed this experience. And hey, you can’t do much better for free (or by donation.)

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