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February 2020
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Summertime Playtime with Dayle Pivetta
New York Yoga
1629 York Ave
New York, NY 10028

Sat, 4:20 PM To 5:45 PM

Sleuth has decided to rename York Ave "Yoga Avenue," in honor of the great classes he's taken at New York Yoga off 85th Street. And now adding to that esteemed list is a Saturday afternoon fun and energetic vinyasa flow with dynamic Dayle Pivetta.

"This week my elementary school was having a reunion," said Livonia, Michigan native Dayle as the packed room of yogis settled in  comfy seats. "And I remembered in our sixth grade yearbook we had made three wishes. I had wished for a chance to work with animals,  specifically primates; I had prayed every night everyone in the world would be healthy, wise, safe and happy; and the third wish was that every wrong thing that been done to the planet would become right. And it made me think, we are almost at the halfway point of the year. Maybe there's something else you'd like to bring in to your life. So why not take the time during your practice, to dream. Think back to a time when you had audacious wishes. You didn't think they'd come true, but you had the guts to wish them anyway. And see where your mind might go. Maybe there's something you wanted that you put aside because life got in the way. And now, as we approach the longest day of the year, maybe there's a little extra time."

We closed our eyes and allowed the breath to deepen. "Don't feel you have to control or force anything," said Dayle. "Just come into the space, be a little more mindful."

At Dayle's suggestion we smoothed our inhales and exhales so that they became easeful. "Allow each breath to create a little space in the body, and to give you a little more peace. Maybe there's someone or something you'd like to send your energy out to."

On all fours we reached one arm straight out and the opposite leg straight back as "Forever Young" hit the summery playlist, then we brought the bent back knee to the nose as we coiled.. "A vinyasa is a dance with your breath and your movement," reminded Dayle as we landed in our first Downward Dogs. "Soften your joints, the knees and the elbows," she urged as we came forward into Plank. We were next invited to progress into Chaturangas and Up Dogs as the dance continued.

"The Yoga Sutras tell us that each asana has equal parts effort and ease, sthira and sukham," said Dayle as we folded forward in a wide-legged, bent-legged Uttanasana. "What does NYY's Michael Gilbert say? Red wine and espresso! See if you can find the espresso in the legs. Supercharging, feeling the kneecaps lift up. The quads are active. Feel the sitting bones reach towards the sky. Let your head be really fluid, pouring out of that pelvic bowl."

Dayle explained that our Sun Salute today would be more of a "Water" Salute, open-hipped, involving Malasana and Lizard Pose. We went back and forth between them for several rounds, returning to a classic flow after each turn.

Dayle also teaches children at Karma Kids, and she brings that spirit of playfulness to her "grownup' classes as well. After the standing Warriors, Half Moons and a spot of Tripod Headstand, we got to challenge ourselves with some arm balances like Crow.

"We're about to go deep!" said Dayle. She gave us detailed instructions and suggested we use blocks if our arms needed more length, so I grabbed them. I'd never had so much fun playing around in Bhujapidasana, nor had I ever experienced so much airtime. "The first time you're gonna fall on your bottom,' said Dayle. "And if you don't, you probably will the second time!"

Similar fun was had in Eka Pada Koundinyasana II, Dayle providing options for everyone in the room to try, including a block under the thigh and a cheek to the mat. "It's like a 'roadkill Lizard!" she laughed.

We went from playing like children to cooing like infants in Happy Baby, then confronted our emotions and let them go in Pigeon. After a final pose of our choosing (mine was supine twist), for Savasana Dayle gave us all bliss-inducing adjustments to our foreheads, necks and shoulders.

"Thank you to each of you for sharing your practice with open minds and open hearts!" beamed Dayle as we bowed, smiling and grateful. (Look for her class summer playlist on Spotify: Alight, Alive!)

Drop-in Classes at New York Yoga are $27 with a $2 mat rental.

-Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth

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