What kind of class was worth taking, and worth keeping me out of the house an extra 90 minutes worth of class time and seemingly endless amount of getting-ready and crutch-commute time? That would be the outstanding AromaYIN class at The Giving Tree Yoga Studio.
Yin, similar to restorative, yoga involves holding poses for much longer than in a typical hatha or vinyasa class - 5-10 minutes. Like restorative, props are utilized for comfort, but in yin yoga there is a greater emphasis on therapeutic stretching of muscles and the connective tissues as well as resting comfortably in the poses. You're changing your body more with yin than with restorative.
I have always been a huge fan of restorative - and now also, yin - yoga. (For one thing, it's basically the only way I can really take a good nap.) With both of these wonderful practices, you can take most any pose that comes to mind, add enough props and creativity, and you can allow your body to open, backward bend, forward fold, twist, laterally stretch, and rest with a minimum of effort and a maximum of results that make you feel completely refreshed.
The Giving Tree has been my neighborhood yoga studio since Ditmars has been my neighborhood - six years now. There used to be just one or two restorative classes on the schedule, but as time has gone on and teachers have come and go, and as owners Anne-Margaret and Anthony have continued to evolve as phenomenal teachers, teacher training facilitators, and givers to their community, they developed a class based on a two and a half hour workshop they offer - which also adds massage and reiki to the mix.
Now AromaYIN is offered four times a week, with four different teachers. I can most often be spotted in Iris's class, where her warm hands offer such comforting hands-on assists or in Clay's, where his soothing voice helps lull me into relaxation at the end of a long week. I've had the pleasure of also taking Donna and Kim's classes, which are also lovely.
Having this class right in my neighborhood is so helpful whenever I'm on call for a doula client. I often get too in my head and have a hard time sleeping when I ought to be logging as many solid hours of sleep at night as I can, or perhaps my client is in days-long early labor where I know I need to be ready at any moment. Just getting into my bed for the purpose of napping usually just involves me tossing and turning fitfully while having insane conversations with myself - but in the context of yoga poses, guided by a teacher - and not to mention the wonderful aromatherapy - it completely turns off my anxious mind and helps rest my body.
Now I'm no longer on call, but my torn plantar fascia has my mobility and activity severely limited. I find myself constantly exhausted now, either from the exertion it takes just to get from Point A to Point B, or because I'm also paradoxically nowhere near as active as I normally am on a day-to-day basis and I feel like inertia is pulling me under and sucking the energy out of me. It'll be a long time before I can take a regular class and actually practice along with everyone else, but AromaYIN has been such an unbelievable comfort. It helps me to rest, helps me to soothe my sore and imbalanced body, and probably most importantly, has helped me to feel supported and keep my spirits up. My practice is different for the near future, but I still have one, and it's still powerful and profound.
Whether you're struggling with an injury or healthy as a horse, whether you have a type-A anxious New York mind that has a hard time being still or are just curious about trying something new, I cannot recommend the AromaYIN class highly enough.