My first trip to New York City (I know... I can't believe it took me this long either). What an amazing city, so much energy buzzing around it's crazy!
Day 1: It was also my first time going to the Jivamukti Yoga Center - although they recently moved, this is the founding center of Jivamukti Yoga. I spent several years studying with Sharon Gannon & David Life (the founders of Jiva) with visits to Toronto, and then did the Jivamukti Teacher Training at the Omega Center (in New York State) in 2007, but I had never been to the 'mother' studio... It’s a great big space right downtown on Broadway. Surprisingly, it’s in the same building as a Bikram studio - it’s amazing there’s enough people to support 2 studios in the same building! Jason came with me to the first class with Matthew. The room was warm and packed (around 65 people). My first reaction to Matthew's teaching was that he was exactly like this city: fast and abrupt. His first words were “Stand Up.” From there we quickly started moving through salutations and sequences. I found myself loving it - the fast movements, all the people squeezed in together, the fun music, the heat, the sweating, and the quick commands coming from our teacher. We struggled, laughed and sweated our way through an amazing class.
Day 2: After another day of sight-seeing my body (especially my feet!) were sore and I was feeling tired. As Jason headed to the music shops, I headed back to the Jivamukti Center to take class with Ruth. Ruth is one of the senior teachers, who is now teaching part of the Jiva teacher training. I had heard about her, and was excited to take her class. She had a calm and compassionate presence, her class was very different from the one I had taken the day before. This time it was a slower pace, with Ruth counting us through each inhale and exhale (often ‘accidentally’ adding in a couple extra breaths). We worked hard and ended up just as sweaty as the day before. After class Jason and I stumbled over to Alphabet city for some yummy Indian food and live sitar & tabla.
Day 3: I happily put on my brand new boots and headed back to the Jivamukti center for a 12 o’clock class with Sangeeta. I think because it was midday on a Tuesday, class was a little smaller (we were now about 25 people)... this made it much easier/less scary to kick up into handstand! Sangeeta started us with a beautiful chant, led us through a perfectly sequenced class, and encouraged us through challenging asanas. Half way through class I realized Sangeeta and I had done our teacher training together (its been a couple years, and we were 100 people...). There was only one other Montrealer at our training, so it’s always fun to see someone who I went through this amazing experience with... and fun to see where life has taken her.
All three classes were quite different, but I loved them all! I’m happy to have had the full Jivamukti experience (Russell Simmons and all!). It’s amazing to be in a room packed with people all working together through their own individual struggles... sweating, laughing, struggling, pushing through, and finally collapsing in savasana. After arriving home to a cheerful customs agent, a helpful security guard, and a patient parking attendant (especially since I accidentally threw out our ticket) Jason said “somehow the world seems friendlier”. There’s something about traveling that forces you to open up to others, to ask for directions, or help with figuring out the subway system, that reminds you that we are the same... a little lost, but eventually find our way with the help of each other.