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The Ultimate New York City Yoga High!

June 25, 2014 by Indra Kubicek 

  Part of practising yoga includes learning how to be grounded. Finding our feet and planting them firmly on the mat. Feeling a connection to the earth beneath us, whilst raising our prayer to salute the sun above... But two New York City ladies, Millana Snow and Erin Ralph, have decided to take the focus a little more skyward and look up...WAAAY UP!

With Millana Snow (left), Brigitte Bordeau (middle) and Erin Ralph (right middle) on top of the James Hotel
With Millana Snow (left), Brigitte Bordeau (middle) and Erin Ralph (right middle) on top of the James Hotel
Last month, while in New York City, I attended one of their 'roof top yoga classes' at The James hotel in Soho. Every Thursday at 8am a group of yogis gather above the city and salute the sun while gazing at the new Freedom Tower, the main tower built at Ground Zero, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Hudson River. I first went to the The James Hotel while living in New York in 2011, shortly after is was built. The popular attraction was 'Jimmy' the rooftop bar and pool. The view is truly stunning so you can imagine how pleased I was to be coming back to do yoga there!??! I excitedly rushed through the back streets of Soho to get to class on time. I love watching New York City wake up, the sun beginning to shine.   IMG_1084   While living in New York, I discovered the city can give you a whole new outlook on life. It allows one be creative (or some might say forces you to be!) in finding peace and serenity amongst the chaos and hectic buzz of the city. Many would be surprised at just how hard New Yorkers work at maintaining this balance and how often they experiment and find it in subtle ways. Quite fittingly, Millana and Erin launched a women's network called SERENE social which runs various events for like-minded women interested in healthy living and wellbeing.   IMG_1079   On this particular morning our class was guided by a strong and vibrant teacher, Brigitte Bordeau. Originally from Montreal, Brigitte has been teaching yoga in New York City for many years. As the class began it was still a bit chilly but we warmed up through our flowing vinyasa movements. Brigitte talked a lot about the energy and power we could create and facilitate from being so high above the ground. It felt wonderful and free to be so high above all the chaos on the streets below. I found myself focusing on drawing energy up while staying connecting to the world moving beneath us. Post-class we had a chance to mingle over a coconut water. I immediately felt connected to these women after our invigorating  shared experience. A fellow Canadian, Julie Mae Weber, and I connected instantly. Initially perhaps because we are both Canadian, had originally moved for our careers and growth experiences...and now found ourselves on a new journey, reconnecting to a deeper side of our personal values and needs. IMG_1086 Before launching om exchange, I worked as an accountant for over a decade. I am still working out what the future holds for me career-wise as there are aspects of my career I really enjoyed. But for now, I realised I needed to explore another element, building a yoga community for others to find tools to help them on their own path. Like me, Julie left a long-term career to launch a more holistic life-style. Julie is a yoga teacher and coach in New York City. Check out her beautiful website here. We openly admitted our fears to one another about stepping 'off the track' and also the vulnerability that comes along with 'losing your title' or a 'company name' which can define you. As I took the long elevator (lift!) ride back down to the ground level, I was still filled with the buzz from the morning. Passionate women, the fresh morning air, and I felt as if a weight had been off my shoulders. I made a vow to myself to stay strong, feet firmly on the ground, but with sky high dreams. And reminded myself to leave the need to justify why I took a leap of faith in leaving my safe corporate job somewhere up in the skyline! Namaste Indra