While holding a particularly strenuous chair pose in my yoga class last week, I got to thinking about what yoga can do for us in these troubling economic times. No doubt, it is an excellent form of exercise; but even more than that, it focuses our minds and helps relieve stress.
Yoga is the ancient Indian discipline that seeks to unite the mind and body. As America’s waistband expands and our wallet contracts, more people are looking for affordable exercise options. A survey conducted by CNN in 2004 found that 73% of Americans find money to be their number one stress factor. Imagine what that number must be in the midst of our current financial meltdown.
Using yoga to relive some of this money-related stress and to vary your exercise routine is a wonderful option, but the problem for students like me, is that yoga studios in New York City often charge over $20 a class. That certainly is not an anxiety reliever! Fortunately, there is an option for those who want to Zen-out without worrying about burning a hole in their pocketbooks.
Yoga to the People is a fantastic studio in Manhattan’s East Village that is a completely donation based. (I absolutely love this studio and encourage everyone in NYC or visiting NYC to try a class.) This means that they ask participants to only give what they can – from $1 to as much as $20 or more if you’re in the position to do so. Located on the historic St. Marks Place, the studio teaches an upbeat form of Viyassa Flow Yoga. The instructors are all young and enthusiastic, and the classes are packed full of students and young adults.
“Can you find inner peace while someone’s toes are in your face?” asked my instructor, Emily, during my Sunday afternoon class. “If you can relax here, you can do it anywhere!”
The hour-long session that features an upbeat mix of modern music, ends with an inspiring quote and the Tibetan Singing Bowl, which add an eerie calm to the room. I encourage anyone in New York City even slightly interested to try a class. But make sure to arrive a few minutes early, the room fills up!
Yoga to the People
St. Marks Place near 3rd Ave
(illustration by Christina Coradin for w27 Newspaper)