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Ashtanga Adventure: Yoga with Laura Olson

Posted Jun 15 2013 9:50pm

about-laura-olsonHappy weekend, friends. Intense rain seems to have given way to a break in the clouds here on the east coast, so I’ve been enjoying every balmy moment today.

I wanted to take a quick break to tell you about a yoga class I took in NYC some time ago. I haven’t been writing about yoga much this year, but it has remained as important as ever to me. I can’t imagine what my post-bacc would have been like without a steady practice to sustain me. You can expect more yoga talk here on the blog in the coming weeks. Let’s start with Laura Olson ’s ashtanga class at YogaWorks Soho .

Most of the time, I do hot vinyasa or power yoga. But I’ve learned that it’s important–crucial even–to vary the types of yoga and teaching styles I experience. It’s easy to fall into autopilot, and while I do like the familiar nature of yoga sequences, new challenges keep me conscious and nimble. When Laura, who has been a blog reader for a long time, invited me to her ashtanga class in New York a few months ago, I was delighted. I’d only don’t a handful of ashtanga classes at the time, and I’d had a hard time adjusting to the final sequence, with its athletic jump through poses. I was excited to try again.

Laura’s class (7am on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at YogaWorks on Broadway and Grand ) is athletic indeed, but Laura guides the class with a calm tone and lots of gentle adjustments. As a newcomer to ashtanga, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t know the sequence well enough, but I had no trouble following along–thanks to Laura’s clear and accessible instruction.


(Image courtesy of Jen of PeanutButterRunner , who is an impressive yogi!)

At first, I missed my usual vinyasa/power experience–the playful music, the rhythm, the continuity, the feeling that I’m engaged in a dance. Astanga feels, at first, a little strict. But as class went on, I started to appreciate the ordered quality of the led astanga class. I could imagine how repeating the sequence over and over–ultimately reaching a level of familiarity that enables a self-led practice–could feel remarkably liberating and playful, too. And as hopeless as I am at jump throughs, they’re fantastic for strength building.


Image source

By the end of Laura’s class, I felt much stronger and energized. It was a great way to start my day–almost as great as breakfast at LPQ with Laura after!

Laura, for the record, has a blog of her own, as well as a website where she gives offerings of health coaching, branding, or private yoga lessons, which she offers both in NYC and in Woodstock, or via Skype/FaceTime. As someone who has both taken Laura’s class and gotten to know her personally, I can say that she’s generous, kind, thoughtful, and very balanced. Her approach to “healthy living” encompasses body and spirit both, and is very inspiring. If you find yourself in NYC at any point, I recommend checking out Laura’s ashtanga class, and chatting with her after. She’s lovely.

I’ll see you tomorrow with a crowd-pleasing drink for summer entertaining!


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