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February 2020
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Divine Swirling Space with Danielle Lee
Yoga Room, Long Island City
10-14 47th Road
Long Island City, NY 11101

Tue, 9:15 AM To 10:30 AM

The Yoga Room: Long Island City is situated conveniently off the 7 and G lines, not far from midtown Manhattan, but just far enough. For Danielle Lee's vinyasa class I entered the beautiful room with a mural of a rose and a Buddha covered in orange Christmas lights and candles.

Danielle started us off in a restorative posture, Viparita Karani, or Legs Up the Wall. She showed us how to fold our blanket into a trapezoid that would subtly cushion the shoulders and neck. "We're working with Akasha today which translates as space or something is invisible," Danielle told us. "Space is one of the five elements of Panchakarma."

Danielle is a fascinating teacher with some of the most creative sequencing Sleuth has experienced in months and she has an interesting way of weaving philosophy into her sequencing. She has also been trained and influenced by a number of teachers including Shiva Rea, Sarah Powers, Lois Nesbitt, Amy Ippoliti and Leslie Kaminoff and is currently studying Shadow Yoga.

Following Legs Up the Wall, Danielle had us sit on the blanket and chant "Om hrim namah shivaya. Tas Maye Shri Guruvay Namaha." She slowed down the chant into palatable chunks as the class struggled with complicated Sanskrit. This chant roughly translates as, "I bow to that supreme consciousness as the universal divine that vibrates within in me as my beloved teacher."

Following our chanting, we went straight into a vinyasa flow. Danielle had us practice undulating our spines from Plank in a rounded spine to bent knees to Down Dog. "Some of you are being too precise about it. Get a little more loose," Danielle suggested.

In Tadasana and Warrior I, Danielle worked on some spiraling arm shapes ending in Garudasana arms. The sequencing also took us from Warrior 2 to Extended Side Angle to Prasarita Padottanasana. Here, we worked on the main repeated pose of the evening: Skandasana. Often Danielle would have us repeat Skandasana from side to side before spinning to the back of a mat and take a Crescent Lunge then spiraling the arms in a twist and moving to a Skandasana on the other side of the room.

Later, at the top of our mats standing with feet hip width apart, we would take one leg behind the other, fold our arms into Garudasana arms, and sit low then come back up. All the while, light jazz and wordless Asian music would play in the background; music is not a main focus in Danielle's classes.

In another sequence, we took our right foot to outside of our hand and pushed the knee away with our hand to open up the hip then took hold of the back foot. We also attempted to put our shoulder underneath the knee. Coming back up we took a Parighasana or Gate Pose and then went back to attempting to put the shoulder underneath the knee and then a half Visvamitrasana. This later led to a crossed legged Parsvottanasana to bringing one foot behind the other foot then sitting all the way down to take an arm balance.

"You can use both your arms for balance then twist your head to the side to bring your cheek to the floor for three points of balance." Danielle also encouraged us to split our legs in the pose.

Later Skandasanas evolved into turning our toes out for Horse. Here Danielle had us work with swirly arms. "Akasha is associated with the ears," she told us, "and they are a spiral shape, which is why we are mimicking a spiral with our arms and conjuring the feeling of space."

After a complex flow, we came onto our backs for Half Wheel then put a block under our sacrum and took our legs up in the air, hearkening back to the first pose of the night. We then took a couple of supine twists. For Savasana, Danielle encouraged us to put the trapezoid-shaped blanket under our shoulders and necks again for support. She chanted the earlier chant to us while we relaxed into a deep Savasana.

Ending the class with an Om, Danielle then told us she was moving apartments and was offering yoga CDs, DVDs and even VHS videos that she need to get rid of. A room full of enthusiastic yogi(ni)s poured over the offerings.

Drop-in classes are $20 with $2 mat rental.

-Marie Carter for Yoga Sleuth

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