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travel + culture

on the road and what's out there.


to Namaste and back!

Caitlin Surakitbanharn

i've been an avid practicer of yoga for many years now.  i started in February of my senior year of high school with a yoga dvd for weight loss, a mat from Target, and not a pair of yoga pants to my name.  i stuck with it.  every night, i'd come home from my little after school job and say hi to my family and then promptly head to my room, shut my door, dim the lights, and retreat into 45 minutes of vinyasa.  i noticed right away that my back, which is constantly a source of tension (thanks, big boobs), felt less tense, more relaxed, and straighter.  i noticed that i was sleeping better.  and most importantly, i noticed that i liked doing yoga!

it's been five years since then, and far i've come!  i worked my way up though a bunch of dvds and before i knew it, was practicing at a fairly advanced level. i always struggled with some of the really advanced balancing poses and handstands.. as i'm 5'8", lanky, and leggy (although i'm skinny, it's a whole lot of body to hold up there!), but i was getting stronger and stronger.  the back half of college left little time for serious practice, although i did my best to squeeze at least a session or two in a week, even if it meant doing it in my little day room in delta gamma.

i moved to manhattan in july of '09 and i ventured into bikram yoga, aka "hot yoga," and each time i went, it was the most challenging 90 minutes of my life, but i was pleasantly surprised that my abilities as a strong yoga practicer had not left me. after a few months, i started doing the Tracy Anderson Method religiously, and was VERY pleased with the results there, but last weekend, i really had the itch to take a yoga class.

The Standard Hotel in the meatpacking district had recently begun advertising their yoga sessions, and i thought..why not?  the standard is infamous for great views and all around chicness, so i thought hell.. why not?  i signed up, threw my mat and favorite lululemon sports bra into my tote bag, and hauled my ass down there after work on a beautiful, sunny tuesday evening.  and my was the two hours i didn't know i needed!  Sabina, the instructor, was sweet, knowledgeable, funny, and 100% amazing, and when i walked out of that room, i was a whole new woman!  i was, again, pleasantly surprised at how well i was able to keep up with some of the more advanced poses, and it renewed my faith in yoga.

when you practice with someone like Sabina..who pushes you and gets the best out of you, and helps you really connect to who you are.. yoga is the most healing ritual possible.  i almost forgot how incredible that mind-body connection can be, and how important it is to your well-being.  i'm thoroughly addicted now, and can't wait to go back next tuesday.

oh, and the unbelievable setting doesn't hurt either.... doing sun salutations with the sun setting over the hudson in front of me and the new york skyline behind me?  life doesn't get much better.  high point!