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February 2020
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Peeling the Onion with Lexi Duffy
New York Yoga Hot
132 E 85th Street
New York, NY 10028

Sat, 2:45 PM To 3:45 PM

“People want Yoga on a Saturday!” grinned the effervescent Lexi Duffy at the packed house of the New York Yoga Hot Studio. And that we did; we’d had enough of below- freezing temperatures, and were ready to go all the way to 106 degrees. Minneapolis native Lexi (also an accomplished actress, singer and dancer), had us all move westward to fit in a few more seekers, and we were ready to go.

“I spent the last week not being able to practice,” confided Lexi, “due to a shoulder injury from sliding down the subway steps and grabbing for the railing. I thought, ‘What am I going to do? I can’t not go upside down! I’ll have to hang from my loft bed!’”

Lexi explained that the time away from asana proved enlightening.

“You see, we all come up with these stipulations—if I don’t do this, this and then this, I’m going to screw it all up. So what I learned this week is that you have to take the yoga into your everyday life, it’s not just the asana practice. There are layers, like an onion. The top layer is maybe coming to class to get a great body. But something deeper is bringing you back here, and maybe you don’t realize that yet. The teachings will unveil themselves to you when they’re supposed to.”

Moved and grateful, we came happily into our first Down Dog. “Again, like the onion,” said Lexi. “The first time you come to class, Down Dog is so much work! And eventually you get into a deeper practice, and it starts to become really comfortable.” But before we got too comfortable, we pushed into high Plank. “Work on your body’s natural alignment,” said Lexi as we held the pose.

We came into forward fold and clasped elbows, then at Lexi’s urging rose very slowly. “Back is heavy, head is heavy, rolling up like a cat,” said Lexi. “Stacking each vertebrae on top of the next.”

We came to stand in Tadasana to prepare for the Sun Salutation As and Bs to follow. “We’re all here for the same reason,” said Lexi. “We’re all missing something in our lives, something that needs to be filled. That’s why we come here every day.” We chose an intention and began to flow as Lexi turned on the music. By the time we were back in our comfy Down Dogs for three breaths, we were pleasantly soaked.

A prayer twist led to our climactic sequence of Side Crows and a long, full-on

Crow; Lexi worked the room swiftly, guiding and adjusting anyone who needed a hand. We balanced in Warrior Three and tested ourselves further with Handstand kicks and a Forearm Stand prep. Lexi suggested we use a block between the “Ls” of our hands so we could get the alignment just so.

From there it was down to the mat for a Locust Pose. “Little sips of air,” advised Lexi as the sweat stung our raised eyes. We wound down with seated twists, Pigeon, Bridge and a last burst of power in Wheel. Then, as the Donnie Darko version of “Mad World” came on to lighten the mood, we inverted in shoulderstand and completed the practice with Fish Pose.

“Know that you are housed here, and the earth has your back,” said Lexi softly as we closed our eyes and embraced Savasana. “She will never ever let you fall. You are exactly who you are supposed to be, and know that you are loved.”

Single classes at New York Yoga Hot are $27 with a $4 rental for mats.

-Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth

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