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The magical mystery tour is coming to take me away.

November 11, 2009

george-harrison Today the travel bug bit me.

NYC, though only 8 miles more or less, can feel like a vast expanse if you never leave the 10 square blocks within which you are employed. Today, I traversed those lost territories on a whim to check out  a new studio in a new neighborhood! It is probably not so shocking for tourists, or people who live in Manhattan…but for me to find myself in the West Village really was astounding.

In lieu of  naked yoga (which I swear I’m going to do this week) I popped into  the Integral Yoga Institute on 13th Street between 7th and 8th avenues. This particular practice was founded by Swami Satchidananda (thats a mouthful). Having introduced the Swami, I should explain my George Harrison moment. 1) George Harrison vaguely resembles my father, or vice versa…especially contemporaneously to this photo 2) I stole one of two copies of Swami Satchidananda’s book published in 1970 from my father and 3) even though Georgie and the other bug boys did not practice under Swami Satchidananda’s watchful eye, they’re whole yoga obsession fell into the same time period.  There you have it, George Harrison, my dad, Swami, hippies, yoga.

Now, I must say that this yoga felt true to the time period of its inception. The building is a bit on the institutional side as many things built in the 1960s and 70s tend to be…it’s also a bit, well, layered? Yes, there are layers to the Integral Yoga Institute starting even before you get into the building. Although it was founded in 1966 on the Upper West Side,the current location seems to have had plenty of time to root itself and blossom — there is an Integral Yoga Natural Foods, Integral Yoga Natural Apothecary and an Integral Yoga Shop. I would say they’ve pretty much got the branding thing down pat. Just to think, I had assumed Park Slope Yoga Center had the monopoly on post-practice convenience due to proximity to the CO-OP.

The IYShop is the gateway to good times — well, yogicly speaking. All studios are on the upper levels of building and named for colors, or celestial things…well, mostly colors.  The front desk will give you a laminated ticket with your studio name on it and you have put it at the head of your mat to be collected. It was like going to the movies or any other number of things that require ticketed entrance. Might there have been a scene had I left that pass in my locker? Would sweet and mild Santoshi have wrestled me to the ground, leg locked me and forced me into some very torturous and long held asana? I shudder to think.

Well, thank god I remembered my pass, and got in with little to no violence at the door. I was greeted by my fellow yogis – but only a handful of them. It was a blissfully small class ( no more than a dozen) that was very much a mixed bag as far as people go in my NYC yoga adventures. I find this to be refreshing and in the true spirit of yoga. Again, I’m reminded of the hippies (NOT hipsters) that helped yoga find its footing stateside in the 1960s and 1970s. They sure were a strange bunch (dad, Harrison, hippies, Swami).

Class was, as Swami Satchidananda would have it, very standard and traditional hatha yoga. It was one and a half hours long like most classes I take. I really liked, however, how it was very gradual. It managed to seamlessly blend the lame warm up stuff into the harder asanas  and back out so that it felt smooth – like buttah. The end was pretty great too because I rocked out a head stand for a very long time and then the teacher swaddled me in a blanket and made me meditate. The mediation was awesome – probably because it was less than 1 minute long.

Integral Yoga Institute – Yeah, I’d do it.  Also, IYI had all sorts of sexy classes, work shops and other magical offerings. If I attempt to touch on it all right now either my head will explode, your head will explode, or perhaps my fingers will just fall off.  More information, more posts, more yogic reading pleasure for all.

[Image via: Some other blog…and George Harrison]

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. moodle permalink
    November 11, 2009 9:31 pm

    I love this post!! I felt your inner yogi pour out!

  2. November 14, 2009 4:55 pm

    This is a great post. Thank you for the wonderful feedback and I hope to see you back at Integral Yoga really soon. Namaste.

    PS: I’m going to put a link to this in my blog…just cause. :D

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