Cancel your plans tomorrow night and take Steven Cheng's 7PM community yoga class at Yoga Union -- it might be the best workout value in town. Community classes are pay-what-you-wish (a $10 donaton is suggested), and I applaud the generosity of teachers who offer them. Sometimes at the Iyengar Center it takes the whole session of restorative yoga to cure me of my sticker shock over the $21 drop-in rate.
Trained in the Dharma Mittra style, Steven offers a vigorous flow that focuses on releasing the energy of the spine. He began the class by telling us to tailor the practice to our own needs, and he made me feel very comfortable despite my wrist props and weirdo sweating.
Steven is a creative teacher who is comfortable improvising. When he heard I had wrist pain, he showed us some excellent forearm strengtheners. The remainder of the class focused on bound variations of half moon pose. It had a lovely build and was challenging without being aggressive.
A sunbeam came through the window and lit me up for the first half of class, which exacerbated my sweating problem but also made me feel beatific. As we moved deeper into bound balances and deep hamstring work, I found myself able to respect my own limits while I pushed myself. This is hard for me, being naturally competitive, and is why I generally avoid group classes. Steven is the rare teacher who can make you feel like you are alone in company.
Dharma Mittra (via Yoganonymous)
I took classes with the mysterious Dharma Mittra back in the good old days, when he was still in his original studio and when I could still grab my ankles in a backbend. His soothing voice would lull me into a psychic trance. Back then, the mark of a Dharma Mittra class was that I would always do something I hadn't done before. These moments are rare for me in my senescense, but I actually had one in Steven's class: I jumped into bakasana and stuck it. Fun!
Given the quality of the instruction and the low proce, this class should be packed, but it wasn't. Spread the word!