In Mods, I positioned my mat by chance right below one of the ceiling’s exposed pipes. That became an external cue to line myself up. It was extremely helpful in the bridging series; Johnson challenged us to maintain centerline with our hips elevated, and feet pushing into on a soft inflated ball (yeah, right). When we stood up and grounded our feet, I noticed the wooden floorboards provided perfect lines to create a straight foundation. I have knock-kneed tendencies, and straightening out my feet, I’ve learned, is the first step to correcting every awkward bend from there up. Later, in Lila, we were working on the wall. Not only are the Pilates Sticks a cool toy for teasing balance, but the metal bars affixed to the wall are great visual triggers. Thanks to Sarah’s cueing, we tried to broaden our collarbones to mimic the horizontal bars. We used them as inspiration for opening the sit bones wide, which gives space for an elongated back and leg line. The top bar was even a gentle reminder to keep gaze set high, which opens the base of skull to gently stretch your neck. When lines are all around, overhead, underfoot, perpendicular, and in plain view, it’s hard not to try and mimic their form. In my one-on-one with Courtney she helped me find a bit of length in my waist, effectively ironing out some lumpiness. It was a great trick, and one I’ve been able to take home with me by imagining the pipes, floorboards and metal bars in the studio. Why shouldn’t my posture be as unequivocally straight as theirs? Written by Laura Norkin Body Banter
Anatomy of a Yoga Studio
This week I attended both Mods and Lila, two of the more challenging core classes available at Anya (pause for applause...thank you). But this post isn’t going to be about how great I am for doing a bit of exercise for once. It’s about a theme I noticed while doing that work in various parts of the Anya studio: lines. If you’ve attended anything at Anya, you know that “centerline” is an important phrase. This is a cue that helps us lengthen, to get taller and graceful, by lining up crucial points: sides of big toes, inner knees, pubic bone, tip of nose and crown of head. (I’m forgetting a few, but you get the gist). You can centerline while standing in front of a mirror in the group classroom, or while laying on your back on a reformer. But what I found, in my studio roaming this week, is that you can centerline with the help of some inanimate objects as well.
About the Author: Laura Norkin
Laura Norkin lives in Brooklyn and works as a freelance writer and editor, while making the most of her Prospect Park proximity and access to Studio Anya’s classes. A Takoma Park, Maryland (let’s just say DC) native, she is still adapting to the ways of New York City. For example, people here “barbecue” instead of “cook out,” and consider her home town to be “The South.” She has written and edited for a variety of lifestyle publications and is planning a journey-by-bus through South America with her husband, with whom she enjoys eating oysters, watching HBO, and other simple pleasures of the honeymoon phase. Her older brother, an Iron Man, got 100% of the family’s athletic genes, so in her Body Banter blog, Laura will explore the trials and tribulations of trying to cure herself of what can only be described as an aggressively docile demeanor.