This week's deal: Join The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers in October and get November free.
Featured classes this week include an extremely hip workshop with yoga icon, Jill Miller.
Our featured teacher is the bold and beautiful Hilaria Thomas.
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get aligned: Your Weekly Guide to Yoga in New York City alignyo Teachers Classes Workshops Events Issue 57 | October 13-19, 2011
Liz Eustace
Founder, alignyo
Liz Eustace, Founder, Alignment Agency
One of the phenomenal benefits of creating this newsletter each week is that it pushes us to try new studios and teachers, while exploring parts of the five boroughs that we've yet to set foot in. We remain (I hope!) somewhat impartial as we guide you through some of the magical places and spaces that make up our amazing yoga community here in NYC (and soon, spoiler alert, LA). On Saturday, I passed up toast with Lillie to get my first-ever harmonium lesson from the hilarious and wise Matt Lombardo (see Friday’s class). I then experienced Matt’s crazily transformative class – 50 of us chanting, laughing, sweating and changing in different ways, all together. The collective spirit is alive and kicking in our city right now, on our mats and in our streets. People want change but as they say, you gotta change to change – simple but true. Here’s another truth I love: You actually don’t have to leave your living room to start a transformation but you do need to take action. To me, a home practice means a daily practice – when I can’t get out, sometimes it’s 10 minutes with Patricia Walden or an hour with Rodney Yee. Yesterday, I delved into The Daily's yoga series at home by trying Yoga for Glutes with our featured teacher, Hilaria Thomas (much more on Hilaria below). Speaking of change, we’ve added some new classes to our online directory, posted details on an awesome event happening next week with Kay Kay Clivio in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and posed a painful question to Kristin McGee in our Ask a Yogini section. Have a great week on and off your mat. Namaste, Liz (
this week's deal
Find yoga and so much more at
The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers

One thing we love about the Sports Center health club at Chelsea Piers is that it offers a comprehensive program of yoga classes – reason enough to make it your go-to yoga studio. And that’s before you throw in the additional (and substantial!) benefits of a major sports club and gym membership. Join the Sports Center in October and get November FREE. 
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This week's featured classes
Thursday, October 13
Take a moment and breathe. Such a soft, gentle voice. So why am I shaking in Warrior Two? Devyn Rush has a mission to “build emotional self-awareness” and that certainly happens in her class at the pristine Harlem Yoga Studio. The pacing is perfect – deliberate but with enough flow that your mind doesn’t wander and you stay in your body. (8am, Harlem Yoga Studio, 44 W. 125th St., Manhattan)

Friday, October 14
Did he just say take this pose like a kiss, with enough time to linger? Did we just chant to a melody from Soundgarden? It looks like we’re in Matt Lombardo’s class and if he wasn’t such a proficient, talented and knowledgeable teacher, his humor and storytelling might be distracting.  It’s not – it’s brilliant and fun and it provides you with the artistic freedom to explore your flow. (3pm, Jivamukti Yoga School, 841 Broadway, 2nd fl., Manhattan)

Saturday, October 15
“beats EMBODIED build HOPE” is an unbeatable combination of yoga (check this firepower: Anya Porter and Sangeeta Vallabhan) music (we heart Derek Beres – please stay in NYC!), sweet eats (Shanti Shack), community building (thanks YogaWorks) and fundraising (NextAid). Feel good, do good. Get your pre-sale tickets here. (8pm, YogaWorks Soho, 459 Broadway, Manhattan)

Sunday, October 16
I would spend a Sunday with Ali Cramer just to hang out, laugh and do some awesome yoga.  But today, she’s hosting an Ayurveda workshop covering breath, asana, diet and so much more.  And get this – at the end, the mortar and pestle will come out and you can grind up your own seasonal masala! (2:30pm, Laughing Lotus, 59 W. 19th St., 3rd fl., Manhattan)
Monday, October 17
Yoga equals engagement and engagement equals health. Who doesn’t want that? Here is something for the silver-haired sect in our midst (or like my mom, mid-70s and still a brunette???): Check out Van Cortlandt Park’s free yoga program. Yoga classes for those over 60 years young run until Oct. 26. Preregistration is required. (9am, Van Cortlandt Park, Jerome Ave. & E. 233rd St., Bronx)

Tuesday, October 18
alignyo@home: Hilaria Thomas mentions below how she likes to isolate body parts in her teaching, and in her Yoga for Glutes video lesson, you know exactly what the focus is on ("the butt" as she says). The moves are familiar enough that I get right into the flow. It's fast paced (it runs 7:48 total) and shows three different variations on the postures, so the lesson is accessible to all levels. So sweet and fierce at the same time. (anytime, anywhere!)

Wednesday, October 19
The hips hold it, have it and heal it – this can be true for your practice and your life. Jill Miller, creator of Yoga Tune Up (who has also been featured in Redbook, Yoga Journal, Self, and Prevention among other publications) is now in our backyard and inviting us over to explore hip health. “I never miss Jill’s workshop and master class when she’s in town,” says YogaWorks' Paula Lynch. (2pm, YogaWorks Soho, 459 Broadway, Manhattan)

Vote now for your favorite class
See more great New York yoga classes at
This week's featured yoga teacher
Hilaria Thomas / yoga instructor, Yoga Vida 

Ever since I was a little girl, my mother taught me how to listen to my body. I was a very active child who would prefer to climb on top of the swing set rather than use it for its intended purpose. Other parents would complain to my mother that my daredevil acrobatics set a bad example for their children – who soon became bored by swinging back and forth in one straight line and attempted to accompany me in my balancing act high above. My mother fended off these fearful and close-minded accusations of her parenting style and instead let me explore my limits. She was not reckless in the least as she would occasionally stop my game and call me over and say, Are you listening to your body? Do you trust your body with what you are doing? At the time, I found this to be incredibly annoying and a complete waste of my playtime; looking back now, I see that she was an absolute genius. She instilled listening to my body so deep inside my core, at such a young age, that conducting myself in any other way seemed completely foreign. It is this body awareness that guides me every day and is the inspiration that fuels my teaching.

I ask my students to set an intention at the beginning of their practice. However, I encourage them not to focus on other individuals but to be selfish and dedicate their yoga wholeheartedly to themselves. Devote each and every breath, asana and transition to the cause of filling, recharging, acquainting and connecting to themselves and to their very essences. I invite them throughout the practice to feel more and calculate less – let their sensory experience guide their thinking rather than falling into judgments. By means of listening, discovering and hopefully encountering their true natures, they build the strength, confidence, self-knowledge and comfort within their own skin required to enhance the ability to be more present for themselves, for their loved ones and, eventually, for leading a happier life. In my classes we go deep into the physical practice as we sweat, we balance, we stretch, we strengthen, and for sure we fall—however, all of this is simply a means to develop greater self-understanding. I hope my students leave my class closer to their bodies, theirs souls, and with a firmer grasp as to what truly makes them tick.

Every week I invent a new body-part themed routine for us to practice in class. This enables the students to hone their attention not only on specific structures in their bodies, but it also allows them to tangibly and intelligently explore asanas in a more focused and productive manner. Rhythm and fluidity, stemming from my dance and gymnastics background, characterize the ambience of my classes, regardless of our anatomical concentration. Through linking breath and dance-like accentuation, our movements provide cardio, build lean muscles and, because we are rhythmic beings, are ultimately enjoyable.

I incorporate a difficult abs sequence into every class that I teach. This has become controversial, as some yogis pigeonhole and cast aside my routine, labeling it as a movement form, far more appropriate for pilates than yoga. I believe that yoga is about connecting to our very essence, which ultimately resides in our center or our core – therefore, an abdominal concentration is extremely logical. The abs sequence provides for a good workout, teaches one to efficiently and effectively move from the center, and also, educates as to how to activate and deactivate muscles, leading to greater body awareness. At the end of my abdominal routine, with one hand on the heart and one on the belly, the students connect to their pulse and their breath. I ask them to notice which muscles are in use and then invite them to make the choice to consciously let go. With three breaths, we accomplish something seemingly so simple, yet incredibly empowering: the ability to calm ourselves down. This is perhaps the most valuable lesson that we can ever learn.
See more top New York yoga teachers at
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