Native's Pick! (?)
The Yoga Room embodies the core ideal of this stylish and homey place, as everything is designed just up to the point: your health and well- being. With a friendly green and glass front against the mosaic wall, the small room welcomed me warmly. As I stepped inside and looked around, I sensed a philosophy of “vinyasa” in the decor—“vi”, in a special way, “nyasa”, to place— everything is placed in a special way; in one corner, a wooden table chest held a copper brown hand wash, with a large wooden Buddist embossment hanging over it, inviting a deep breath in the special ambiance of religious tranquility. This small world made me feel like I was in an exotic and authentic Indian lounge. I was asked to take off my shoes at the entrance, because everyone should have the right to enjoy themselves without any binding from the outside—both physical and psychological.
The class was Vinyasa Basic by teacher Yuval, who has been practicing yoga for almost 15 years and has coached in France, the UK, and across the US. However, his teaching style draws from a variety of traditions: dynamic flow and awareness of breath from Vinyasa, careful attention to alignment from Iyengar, the vigor of Ashtanga and the subtlety of Ishta. In his class, he guided us through a sequence of body movements that were relaxing, stretching, healing, integrating, and also creative. The class had about ten students, including myself.
The best part of my yoga experience, however, was the moment when my face virtually shook off all expressions and began to speak for itself—a moment when the heart settled down into the comfortable bed of soul and quietly felt its way in the interaction with the natural movements of body. You do not need to be religious to feel the sensation; Yoga, under a good guide, opens that access for everyone to the restoration of all natural senses and body-mind-soul balance. The teacher led us through a preparatory stage before our muscles and nerves were activated and then relaxed, followed by the last stage where we were set lying on the mat with legs on the wall, eyes shut and meditating. Teacher Yuval then slowly turned down the light: it became so soft, so dreamy, as if he had turned off the whole world outside the window.
I felt my peaceful, sweet breaths in front of me, and could hear my measured heartbeats. I left feeling the perfect entirety of body-mind-soul, and backed home with a perfectly renewed vigor and elasticity for the next laborious week.
The Yoga Room: Long Island City studio – 10-14 47 Road, (718) 786-7962; Astoria studio – 38-01 35th Avenue, (718)-274-0255.
- Yihan Yan