Open Vinyasa with Tanya Namad at New York Yoga

Tanya Namad
Tanya Namad

I was tempted to skip yoga today. Forty mile an hour winds kept me from crossing Third Avenue; my umbrella simply wasn’t going to make it to York. But, literally one minute after I’d given up, the cross-town bus arrived like a knight in screechy armor. I made it to class just a few minutes late.

Tanya Namad, a recent graduate of Atmananda Yoga, invited me up to her vinyasa class at New York Yoga. I did my first teacher training at Atmananda (albeit with different faculty), so I just hoped I wouldn’t be too adrift in memory bliss.

New York Yoga is a clean, calm space with all the niceties of the Upper East Side. (See a few more notes in my post about Mia Baer.) The class was comfortably full, in spite of the weather, and I found a cozy spot in the back.

I’d missed Tanya’s intro, but still caught a few neck stretches and cat-cows. Then it was on to the Sequence.

For those who’ve not heard of Atmananda, it’s a set sequence developed here in New York City by Jhon Tamayo with Sabina Stahl. I find it much more fluid and enjoyable than the more well-known sequences of Bikram and Ashtanga. It used to vary some, but now it’s fixed in stone (i.e., they made a poster. Full disclosure: I helped them.) They recently broke it down into seven stages, from the basic poses to the full sequence. Before that it was “just do what you can, you’re welcome to rest.”

Tanya took us through the Sun Salutes and standing poses at a nice, rhythmic pace. Her instructions were minimal but clear, and she didn’t leave us hanging too long on one side or another. We spent ten or more breaths in Down Dog, but the rest of the poses flowed at a moderate clip. You’ll hold poses briefly, but still have time to breathe.

Tanya is a marathoner, and a former dancer, and the class had an athletic feel. She encouraged us to push and pull into deeper variations. If you have injuries, or minimal yoga experience, you’ll need to hold yourself back. She demoed about three-quarters of the class; if you don’t know the poses you’ll have a visual. Friendly encouragements, and a few gentle adjustments, filled her trips around the room.

The class was labeled “Vinyasa All Levels”, but they could have called it Intermediate Atmananda (if more people knew what that meant). We did most of the Sequence. It was a well-balanced selection of standing poses, arm balances, forward bends, back bends and twists. Five glorious minutes in Corpse pose were a welcome ending.

After class I had a blissful buzz. On my way there, I’d been ready to cry; on my way home I was laughing at the world. It was a welcome treat for a rainy day.