Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Brilliant’

Prior to the Integrate Retreat in April, my experience with yoga was limited. I’d had a few sessions as part of an aerobics class in college, and a couple of disastrous DVD rentals from the library. (It is JUST impossible for me to take seriously a woman named Rainbeau Mars who keeps exhorting you to “enjoy your breath.”) I had pretty much given up on yoga. I thought it wasn’t for me.

During our time together in New York, we had a private yoga session with Jennifer Brilliant – just the 10 of us, in her beautiful coral-walled studio, with a sun on one wall and a moon on the other. (It, like our B&B, is a converted brownstone on a lovely street.) And I enjoyed it so much more than I expected to. I was a bit clueless, and it was a workout, but it felt gentle and purposeful, more about listening to your body than trying to force it into unnatural positions.

Two days after I got back from the retreat, Amanda emailed me about a local yoga class – taught at the Center for Contemporary Arts, downtown, by the lovely McKay Moore. I decided to try it out (for $6 a class, well worth the risk), and oh my. I LOVE it. I’ve been going every week (and I think I’ve even converted Jeremiah – he’s been with me twice now).

“There is no judgment or competition in yoga,” McKay said last week, and I’ve been coming back to that sentence over and over in my head. No judgment or competition. No pressure to be better, stronger, faster (in yoga, speed has very little value) than anyone else. This isn’t gym class or a race or a contest to see who can do the best pose. It’s all about engaging your muscles, letting go of your tension and stress, working your body while treating it gently. And of course, the soothing music and the sweet, encouraging instructor are a big plus.

So is the setting. Who wouldn’t want to do yoga here?

This is our “studio” – the upper gallery of the Center for Contemporary Arts. And it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite places and times of the week. It’s becoming a way for me to check in with my body, to become aware of tension and let some of it go, to exercise and relax at the same time. I don’t have to look at the clock or push myself too hard or figure out what comes next. I can just listen to McKay, follow her lead as we go through the poses, relax onto my green mat, and breathe.

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