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Physical Being, Spiritual Existence with Steve Prestianni
Greenhouse Holistic
783 Driggs Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
718-384-9454

Fri, 4:00 PM To 6:00 PM
Open

If you are interested in, and have the time for, a very long (two hour) moving meditation then I highly recommend you check out Steve Prestianni’s Hatha class at Greenhouse Holistic.  The class itself started with silent meditation and, really, began upon entry to the room.

When I arrived, Steve was already situated in a meditative position at the front of the room, seated atop a folded blanket and with an open blanket covering his mat.  The other students in the room were postured in the same manner.  As additional students entered the room, they too assumed the same position.  There was no talking and no instruction, so I just grabbed two blankets, set up my mat, and sat in Sukhasana with my eyes closed.  

I honestly can’t say how long we sat like this.  It at once felt both like a long time and no time at all. What I can say is that my body and mind slowed down immensely, and it was from this slow place that Steve asked us to lie down in Savasana, our first posture in our moving meditation.  

From our first Savasana, what followed was a very slow unfolding of mostly mat-based postures, held for what felt like at least a minute (but maybe it was longer?). My sense of time-perception was completely distorted during the two hours that I was in Steve’s class.   

To begin we laid on our backs with our feet perpendicular in the air, like a modified Shoulderstand. From there we moved on to holding a modified Plow, with our feet lifted from the floor. While these postures (and the postures that followed) aren’t necessarily challenging, finding a full expression of the posture and holding it for an extended period of time became the challenge.  

Other floors postures that we practiced were Cobra, Bow, Bridge, Padahastasana, and Half-Twist, among others. Again, I realize that these are basic postures, but the time spent in the posture is what carried the weight.  It is sometimes harder to move slow and to hold still. Between each posture we returned to Savasana as a way to more or less clean the palate, or so it seemed to me.  I was grateful to neutralize my spine and release all that I had been holding.

Steve did verbally guide the class through the postures and did aid with some pretty awesome adjustments (have you ever been adjusted in Sphinx pose?  Doesn’t seem like it would be necessary, but you’d be surprised!) but otherwise he kept an air of quiet meditation about him until the end of the class.  

After leading us through several rounds of Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) we prepared for our final meditation.  During this time Steve shared a quote with the class by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”  

Steve said that he often thinks about this quote and that for him we are not only spiritual beings having a physical experience but that he also believed the exact opposite to be true as well, that we are physical beings having a spiritual experience, that the word spiritual can have different meanings and can suggest more than its traditional religious connotations.

What I took away from this interpretation is that as humans while we cannot deny the reality of our physical bodies we can have experiences that transcend them.  Steve’s Hatha class was an impressive combination of both.

Drop-in classes are $18, with $1 mat rental. 

-Jackie Clark for Yoga Sleuth


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