New York state of mind

It has been an incredible week in my life. It’s hard to know where to begin and I’m almost wishing I had brought a laptop to New York with me so I could have blogged while there. I’ll recap and try to be brief.

Thursday:

I actually went to practice in the morning and it was pretty good. All my aches and pains and strains were masked by good old Advil, and I managed to do full primary, modifying as need be. It was a huge relief. I left for New York a couple of hours after and, as this is a yoga blog, I won’t go into great detail about the rest of the day, suffice to say we had a fairly easy time getting to our apartment rental and enjoyed the first of many delicious meals.

Friday:

We got up at 5am (while on vacation!!) to get to led primary at AYNY. We walked there in the pre-dawn quiet. I was amazed at the beauty of the shala. It’s a magical space. Eddie Stern wasn’t teaching because Sharath was in Connecticut. Speaking of which, I suppose it could be considered a bit of an Ashtanga crime that we were so close by and missed the opportunity to practice with the boss of our yoga, but the wheels were in motion for the trip before Sharath’s schedule was released, so the timing just didn’t work out. Next trip, perhaps. Led was lovely, and my body was still hurting but less. We spent the rest of Friday walking Manhatten and enjoying ourselves as much as possible.

Saturday:

Enter Yoga Journal Conference. We started the day off with Inversions and Arm Balances with the incredible Ana Forrest. They don’t call her a tigress for nothing! The class was very intense. Ana demands full attention and we did tons of very challenging core work. I really appreciated her message about showing up 100% in your practice and in your life. A few giggles were had in the portion of the class that we were actually on our hands. Next we met David Swenson, who Youtube told me I would like and I did. He was very humble and funny, he keeps things simple which I like. We had an absolute blast doing his Flying , Floating, and Handstanding workshop. Lots of work on jump throughs and jump backs, some good take aways for me there. We did a lot of partner work, which was fun for my sister-in-law and I. He hung out for pictures and chatting after and we took full advantage.

 

Next was Richard Freeman. The workshop was called Bolted to the Earth and involved much mula bandha discussion. Ashtangis seem to forever be discussion their anus’s and this workshop was no exception. Richard was lovely and full of great information, as expected. We did standing and some primary with lots of talk about soft palettes and threading needles and fake vomiting. Watching both Richard and David when they demoed anything was so incredible. The ease and control they both have is an inspiration to see. It was an exhausted but elating day and we made the most of it with a lunch picnic in Central Park and a great dinner in Chelsea.

 

Sunday:

I was extremely excited about our first workshop of the day which was Intermediate Series with David Swenson. It surpassed my expectations. It was significantly smaller than the previous days Swenson workshop, which was nice. David did an intro and then we went right into practice, doing all of standing (including the warrior series) and then intermediate up to eka pada, plus mayurasana and nakrasana. It was such a fun time. I was shocked that I could manage kapo and had a laugh trying things I haven’t done before. A highlight for sure. Next we met Dharma Mittra for Maha Sadhana. I wasn’t sure what to expect from him, but I enjoyed his teaching. He was soft-spoken and laughed at all his own jokes. I was completely entranced. We did an interesting asana practice, which was challenging and I enjoyed it. He spoke at length about the connection to god being the most important thing and asana just being to keep the body healthy, also seated meditation and a vegan, preferably raw, diet. We took Seane Corn last. It was a very meditative and spiritually focused workshop. A peaceful wind down after so much excitement. I felt reflective and somewhat emotional, and it left me in a peaceful state. Afterwards we had yet another amazing dinner.

Monday:

Our last day. We got up and went to AYNY for practice. We met Eddie Stern, who has a gentle way about him that I appreciated. I had an amazing practice. One of my best ever. I don’t know why, I don’t think I suddenly became more proficient at asana, but something about the energy and the head space I was in resulted in a really great day on my mat. I got through everything without pain and left elated. We had totally incredible smoothies for breakfast and had a bit more time for exploring before flying home.

It was a really special trip. New York was everything I’d imagined and I don’t know if I’ve come up with the words yet to describe the conference besides amazing. I feel so grateful that I had the opportunity to do this, especially with my sister-in-law, someone who I share a special bond with. This is our second annual yoga trip together and I’m already dreaming and scheming about next year’s adventure.