I love New York City. And, don't judge me... I actually really like doing yoga there. The hustle to make it to class on time, the sweaty bodies squished mat to mat, the way people are fully present in class (like London), the thoughtful sequencing and intelligent cues, the weird music or lack there-of. I dig it.
Sure, there is the crappy stuff - third floor walk up studios, surly check-in people, smelly feet in front of you that have been walking the streets all day. But I’ll take it. I like the vibe. I like the seriousness. I like a whole class flowing like a river of vinyasa, getting me out of my fucking head. I like how many people are yog'ing every single day.
People have asked me lately where I like to practice in the big apple. I am a fan of Kula Yoga in Tribeca. The studio, the flow, the vibe. I went there Monday and wasn't let down by the Kula Flow class. I enjoy it every time. But this trip, for the first time, I went to Yoga to the People with Mike. Packed house. Tuesday. 7:30pm. They filled up four rooms of about 50 people each. That’s 200 people – probably more – moving their asana in just one studio at one time. Who knows how many people are practicing daily in NYC. That is absolutely beautiful. Our mats were centimeters apart. I got anxious when they called superman because my limbs were about to get tangled up with the limbs of ten other people… and it’s all good. Because we are breathing and feeling and being in our bodies and not our heads for a little while. I mean, the music wasn't amazing and the class wasn't anything to write home about but it was all good. We were practicing yoga and that is the part that I care about nowadays.
The part I don’t see as much in NYC is community building. People meeting new people after class. The crowded stairwells at Yoga to the People didn’t lend themselves to creating connection. Hell, there’s barely a place to put your shoes on.
Yoga means union, coming together. An esoteric coming together of body, mind and spirit and I’ve always also interpreted it as a physical coming together. Communing with like minded people. Growing and sharing your journey with people who can intimately relate. That part can improve in NYC (or maybe I just haven't found it yet) but overall it was a pretty rad experience. Watching the rooms fill up again for the 9pm class as we were leaving, knowing that bodies and minds are being opened on a scale that can influence the world. And that's pretty awesome.