In November 2015 Equinox decided to feature me as their Regeneration Instructor in their 2016 Group Fitness campaign. They also chose to feature a slew of students that regularly attend one of my classes. It was awesome. This is the essay I wrote that made them choose it….
“NOT the Primrose Path: Yoga Tune Up® at 50th Street”
By Ariel Kiley
The members who regularly attend my Yoga Tune Up® Flow class Tuesdays at 5:30pm at 50th & Broadway are exceptionally hardcore. Not because the class makes them drip with sweat or their hearts pound out of their chests – because it’s a therapeutic yoga class that makes them look at their “body blind spots”, which can be truly scary to confront.
Body blind spots are the parts of your body that have been ignored, misused, overused or abused. Often your blind spots contain not just tissue damage or weakness, but energetic imprints of past emotional and psychological hurts.
Many people would rather wash these places over with endorphins or numb them with pharmaceuticals than tune into what’s really going on. But the group of regulars at Yoga Tune Up® grasp the opportunity to get real with what’s happening in their bodies each week, and then do something about it.
For those new to the class I start by saying, “this is not your typical flow yoga: it’s a raw therapeutics class. I don’t play music, I use anatomical language, there’s no spoonful of sugar to help this work go down. I encourage you to introvert your attention and make this class a meditation on the sensations in your body.
“We will workshop one particular peak yoga pose, but it’s not about even getting to that pose – it’s about deconstructing it and doing all the parts of it impeccably well so you truly reap benefits. You may or may not actually attempt the peak pose at the end – you will decide based on what you learn about your body along the way. And honestly, I don’t care if you do it or not – it’s just a stupid yoga pose and honoring your unique biomechanics is the real goal.”
Newbies tend to look a little nervous at this point. But the regulars are already in the zone, half of their attention on me, the other half on their inner self – ready to dig in.
As a teacher, it’s deeply rewarding to watch this very mixed group of individuals consciously transform their bodies and lives through this work. There’s Sabrina, a cycling enthusiast with ever-changing hairstyles and a bright bold fashion sense who has been rehabbing her damaged shoulder.
There’s Gordon who has a desk-job by day but is a surfer at heart and has been transforming lifelong back problems.
There’s Laura, a sweet young lady that works in children’s books who often shows up with a gaggle of friends to remove the discomforts from sitting at a desk all day.
There’s Hannes, a businessman and world-traveler (seriously, he just brought me elephant pants from Malaysia), who uses the class to soothe aches and pains from his adventures and to sleep better at night.
There’s Suzanne, a sophisticated midtowner in publishing who takes the class to improve both her posture and her mood – she says her colleagues even comment on how much more friendly she is the next day after class.
There’s Kumiko, a serious yogi who’s always front and center rising up to the opportunity to understand and embody classic poses much more skillfully.
There’s Sarah who told me she’s saving over $200 a month on chiropractic fees through the work she’s doing in the class.
There’s Anna, a lawyer who is slowly unraveling past pain and past conditioning to uncover her deeper values and callings.
And there’s Inderjit who shows up strained with tension and tight hips and always leaves with a wide, lovely smile. (To name a few…)
By showing up week after week, this radical group of regulars has been removing years, even decades of pain and dysfunction from their bodies. They are also training new levels of mobility, strength and presence into their tissue that will help them prevent injury, improve performance, and keep their stress levels at a low.
This means muscles, fascia, internal organs, the immune system, and the brain can continually regenerate for optimal health – helping keep them biologically young.
Yoga Tune Up® Flow is not the primrose path. It’s not an easy breezy practice lined with comforts. I know it takes courage to show up. And I also know the rewards are huge – but you have to work for them. So I have great respect and gratitude for those who make this class what it is, and keep giving me the opportunity to share this radical work.
L to R in photo: Anna, Gordon, Rhonda, Inderjit, Ariel, Bridget, Laura, Hannes, Sabrina.
*Rhonda is a radical marathoner/yogi and apprentice of mine who is destined help many NYC runners break patterns of poor posture & repetitive injury to run pain-free