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By Indra Kubicek In Hell's Kitchen, between 50th & 51st you'll find Sonic, a great yoga studio. I arrived a few minutes early for my 'taster' class and was greeted by the lovely Jes Tehan who gave me the low-down on the studio set-up. Spanning over 2 floors, Sonic has two studio spaces, a large lovely lounge area, and changing rooms equipped with a shower (bring your own toiletries and towel or rent a towel for $1). Mats are also on rental for $1 or you can leave your own mat at the studio.
This morning’s class (Tuesday Flow L 1 - 2) was an hour and half flow class from 10 - 11:30am led by Sarah Ireland, who trained at Sonic and also accredits Dharma Mittra and Shiva Rea as inspirations in her yoga journey.
I loved how Sarah started the class by personally addressing everyone in the room whom she didn’t know. It was a small group since it was a weekday mid-morning but she obviously has a regular crew. She knew most by name & chatted openly with us, as if we were a group of friends gathering in her living room.
Sarah spoke a lot about the topic of self service and what it means to ‘serve yourself’. This is something I have spent the last 5 years thinking a lot about too. And I could very much identify with her when she said she did not mean self service in the sense of buying yourself new things, going to a spa for a ‘mani-pedi’ and the like (not that those things cannot be enjoyed) but a deeper sense of serving one’s self. I think this is a sensitive and uncomfortable topic for many of us. Firstly because its hard to sit with ourselves long enough to start to question what is really important to us. Not what "should be important to us" according to society, our peers, family, partners, etc but what do we really need to feel served.
About 5 years ago, I took a trip on my own to the Sivanada Ashram in Kerala, India for nearly a month. I started to think about why I was feeling unfulfilled and lacked satisfaction in my life. And I realised that although material things and ‘treating myself well’ might bring me temporary happiness, there was a deeper sense of serving myself that perhaps had almost (if not entirely!) nothing to do with outside things or activities.
And instead it had to do with me accepting myself, regardless of anyone’s else’s judgement and having to learn non-judgement of myself as well. I am not sure if this is exactly what Sarah was referring to but I think I ‘got it’ when she spoke about how tricky it can be to achieve a sense of serving our deepest self.
But if you aren’t into the spiritual level of yoga (not yet or maybe never), have no fear as Sarah’s class was very much a challenging physical practice too. And we moved to the very modern tunes on her iPod which I loved!
Sarah did an excellent job at leading us a variety of flowing asana series and I always felt encouraged to go to my own personal boundaries whilst doing exactly what she said learning to serve what felt right for myself.
I loved her attention to detail in combining asana sequences and in breaking down postures, making them seem reachable instead of unattainable. Her adjustments were great but above all this, she shared herself. Whether it was a story about her 6 year old son’s life wisdom or her own search for serving herself, you felt she was not just teaching a yoga class, but brining her whole self to the practice.
Her dedication to her students, to the very essence of yoga, and the absolute overwhelming love for the little man in her life (her son!) all shone through clearly and made her class uniquely hers.
A big thanks to Sarah and Sonic Yoga for superseding my expectations!
I only wish I was in town longer to check out more of their classes and make use of their awesome 30 days for $30 trial!
If you haven’t already made your way there, what are you waiting for? I encourage you to start serving yourself @ sonic yoga!