I got a cute tip from the lovely Amanda Zapanta this weekend. She said she’d had a hip injury, too. But instead of focusing on the bum hip, she made sure to focus on the good one, and then imagined herself blowing the sensations of health over to the bad side. She did it all the time — on the train, on the couch, in class — and the pain went away!
Last night I went to Amanda’s “Sweat & Flow” class at Greenhouse. It’s appropriately named, but not nearly as vacuous as the name might seem. (Honestly, sweating is one of the reasons that vinyasa is such a valuable form of yoga — it gets the junk out of your system, and heats your muscles up enough to stretch properly.) She has a few unique transitions that she uses frequently:
- Warrior I —> turn 180º to Humble Warrior —> turn 180º to Warrior II
- Down Dog —> right foot forward to Lunge —> right hand up to Revolved Side Angle variation —> left foot and right hand forward to Forward Bend
Her classes are usually quick, but not rapid. Meaning, the poses are held for 5 short breaths maximum, but she’s not calling everything auctioneer-speed where you are racing to keep up. She’s also pretty good about calling the breathing with consistent and realistic timing. I always feel great after this class (I’ve been twice).
This morning, still sore, I went to the first of the free/by donation yoga classes in McCarren Pool, taught by J. Brown of Abhyasa Yoga (a new center on Metropolitan). It was a beginners’ class, and he talked a bit much for my taste, but I liked how he made us practice Ocean Breath (ujayi) at the beginning of each and every pose. His focus is on the therapeutic value of yoga, when it’s done with mindful breathing, kind of a reaction against the uber-athletic step-aerobics-style vinyasa that’s so popular in New York.
We started late, going for maybe an hour, and did:
- Reclined Breathing, with knees bent, arms raising up and down w/the breath
- Easy Reclined Twist, with knees together
- 5 rounds Sun Salutes, stepping back into Down Dog and then straight forward into Up Dog
- Warrior II
- Extended Side Angle, with arm on knee
- Forward Angle, arms and torso raising up and down w/the breath, before holding
- Tree Pose, focusing on smiling/chuckling if/when you fall
- Single Leg Lifts
- Half Bridge, 2x, with Wheel as an option on the second
- Reclined Spinal Twist
It was a nice class for my sore muscles, the breathing really helped, and perfect for the stiffness of the morning. They gave out free class cards, and I’ve been meaning to check out the studio, so I will be there soon.