By Callie McBride
Question: what did/does a typical college Friday night look like for you? Beer kegger, bar-hopping, classy wine night? Try a two-hour yoga session in the middle of Soho.
This past Friday night I was lucky enough to land a spot in a “Friday Night Yoga Sensation” event held at Strala Yoga, a studio founded by famous yoga instructor Tara Stiles. I had been wanting to try out this downtown studio for a while now, so I jumped at the chance to participate in a two-hour long sweat session. I arrived at the studio on the 6th floor and I saw before me the most gorgeous, spacious room with hardwood floors and one wall completely lined with windows overlooking Broadway.
All of the lights were off and candles lined the floor to create a calming and peaceful atmosphere. Brigitte, the instructor for the night, also set up a projector on one of the walls and streamed images of things like mountains, sunsets, and a lake at midnight, which really added to the calming effect of the entire class. The best part, though? Live music! We had two incredible musicians who sang beautiful music; some instrumental, some free-style vocals, and even an amazing rendition of Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah.”
There were 16 of us total. The class was geared toward stretching, breathing, and holding poses, rather than a continual flow of moves. Bridgette was very hands-on and led a truly moving session with her words about connecting the mind and body to create a spiritual union. At one point, I found myself holding tree pose, gazing at an image of the galaxy, listening to a cover of “Falling Slowly,” and I was genuinely in a moment of pure peacefulness. That’s what I love most about yoga: its a mental and emotional exercise, and weight loss and body strength just seem to be added benefits. Yoga never feels like working out to me. Don’t get me wrong, it can be incredibly challenging and there are tons of poses that I haven’t even begun to attempt, but I like to think of yoga as a mental challenge that then turns into a physical challenge. I firmly believe in yoga’s healing powers.
There were even vegan chocolate cookies waiting for all of us afterward-what could be better!? The studio itself is a quaint and adorable place to practice, with tons of posters and frames surrounding the waiting area.
Overall, the yoga class was so relaxing and enjoyable, and I plan on visiting Strala Yoga again very soon. You can visit the website to see the teachers, class schedule, and blog!