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February 2020
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Hatha in the Heights with Stacey Linden
Mind Body Soul Yoga
350 Fort Washington Avenue
New York, NY 10033

Thu, 12:30 PM To 1:30 PM

Mind Body Soul Yoga is conveniently located barely half a block from the 175th Street stop on the A line. Also close to New York Presbyterian, health workers sometimes drop by the yoga studio to decompress after a stressful day at the emergency room. Inside I am greeted by a long wooden community table and a gift shop with yoga clothing, props and handcrafted jewelry. Out back by the changing area is a sofa and small library of yoga books which students are allowed to take out for three months at a time.

The studio room itself has yellow walls, is well stocked with props and has a colorful Green Tara mural up front. Throughout the class we could hear the peaceful trickling of the water fountain at the back of the room. Stacey asked each student she didn't know if they had any injuries and asked all of us if we had any requests.

Shoulders and hips were requested so we started in a seated position and took our right hand to our left ear and gently pulled on the head to get a neck and shoulder stretch. Stacey then had us put our hand slightly further down by the occipital ridge giving us a different neck stretch. We then went through a seated sequence taking a twist to the right then the left, interlacing our palms up to the ceiling, opening up the chest and collarbones then rounding our backs and bringing our hands to chest level.

Then we put our hands on the floor by our hips, lifted the hips and stretched our shoulders open. Coming back down we walked our hands out into a forward fold. This sequence was then repeated one more time. Moving onto all fours we were then instructed through a round of Cat/Cows before stretching back into a Downward Dog.

Stacey encouraged us to ease into Downward Dog pedaling out the feet and taking any stretches we needed before settling into the pose. She then led us through several gentle Sun Salutations offering minor adjustments to each student. Since hips had been requested, during the Lunge Twist Stacey instructed those looking for a challenging to put our weight on the outside of both feet to open up the hips even more.

Stacey is Om-trained (and also studied with Baron Baptiste, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, and Bec Conant) and offers challenges to her students as well as creative sequencing. Moving onto standing poses, in a Warrior I, we T’d our arms out to the side then lifted them up toward the sky repeating it several times before swooping the arms into Eagle. From there we lowered the Eagle arms into a Devotional Warrior. Coming back into Warrior I, Stacey then gave us the option of coming into Warrior III keeping the Eagle arms followed by High Lunge and a flow through a vinyasa.

Stacey's sequencing also included a Warrior II to Extended Side Angle with a half bind to open up the shoulders to a Peaceful Warrior to High Lunge to Crescent Lunge to Lizard. After getting us sweaty with standing poses, we brought our Planks all the way to the floor for a little back bending. Stacey gave us the option of either taking Shalabhasana or Bow Pose. After a couple of gentle backbends we came back into Downward Dog, then lifted one leg and opened up the hip and lunged the leg forward into Pigeon.

After a reclined Pigeon on each side, we took a reclined Twist and a Happy Baby to decompress the back followed by what seemed to be a decent ten minute Savasana. Ending class with three Oms, Stacey made some announcements for upcoming exciting workshops that included shoulder anatomy and a community party/chanting. Upon exiting, I noticed some students reading in the library, and others gathered at the community table talking.

Drop-in classes are $18. New student special: 4 classes for $40 or one week unlimited  for $25.

-Marie Carter for Yoga Sleuth

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