Sunday, February 06, 2005

Yoga Sutra

Originally uploaded by lools.

I'm definitely begin to LUVVV Manhattan. There's so much to discover and experience here, it's just a matter of getting connected to the best that the city has to offer.

I was incredibly fortunate yesterday to find out about Yoga Sutra , an incredibly beautiful yoga studio in the heart of the city. All thanks to my friend, Shri, who is obsessive about researching and finding the best of the best. She invited me to take an ashtanga class with her and I gladly accepted even though I'd never taken a class before. Yoga has gone mainstream in the U.S. now and millions of Americans are well-versed in this unique philosophy of life. Frankly, it's a bit embarassing to be Indian and not know Vinyasa from Iyengar or what pranas are all about. I really should have observed my father's daily practices while I was growing up in Bangalore and Bombay and paid more attention to what yoga is all about. Oh well, I guess it's never too late do anything.

Yoga Sutra is situated on Fifth Avenue at 42nd street, right opposite the New York Public Library. The design of the space speaks volumes of the intended philosophy. The high ceilings and spotlessly clean hardwood floors create a spacious and open space that is immediately calming to the mind. A small library section has a low table and colourful silk cushions to sit on while browsing the studio's collection of books and magazines on the subject. The actual room where yoga is practiced has beautiful brass lamplights placed in front of pictures of various Hindu gods. A light incense lends the room a pleasant fragrance.

We spent an hour and a half going through the ashtanga routine which was incredibly difficult for me given that I'd never taken a yoga class ever. The breathing was the first part to master. I found it harder than I thought to stand still and hear my own breathing. Goes to show just how much out of touch with our own bodies we can get if we don't pay much attention. The stretching was hard as well but our teacher was encouraging and really allowed us to take our own pace. By the end of the 90 minutes, I was profusely sweating and totally amazed by the heat my body had generated.

I have to say that it was a life changing experience. It's so incredible to me that one can really learn to control the mind and body and take charge of the things that happen to us. I'm now curious to learn more about the philosophy of yoga and see how I can integrate it more into my daily life.

Yoga Sutra
501 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10017
(212) 490-1443


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