While the Spring has its gorgeous bloom, the summer has its signature sizzle, and the winter holiday season has its magic, it’s autumn in NYC that holds the holds the most special place in my heart. After months of sometimes sweltering heat and humidity, the temperature dips and the cool days that give way to crisp nights return along with them an energy that’s all to often subdued by the triple-digit summer temperatures. Students come back to campus while others brush the sand off their feet after long beach getaways, everyone overflowing with new stories filled with love, laughter, and sometimes a little heartache. Good, bad or otherwise though we all find ourselves together again a little wiser, a little stronger, and a whole lot more grateful. It’s just such an amazing time of year!
Before you know it though the weekdays once again are packed with priorities, meetings, or more so it’s always so important to spend the any free time you can get recharging your light. Fortunately, NYC offers plenty of options to assist in that endeavor whether it be meditating in some hidden nook along the Hudson at sunset, a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge to the markets below, or a long walk through Central Park to bask in the kaleidoscope of colors provided by the city’s plush sanctuary.
This weekend it was the latter I was most interested in the so I packed my exploring essentials. Notebook, current library borrow, shades, hydration, Our Siddhi pullover, music, mat? Check, check, and check. I had heard great things about a class being held each Sunday somewhere along the East 60’s side of the park so if I was lucky enough to find it I wanted to be ready. Moments later I was out the door and headed for the A train uptown. Next stop? Anything!
Stations flew by as I drifted in and out of people watching while listening to my Sunday morning soundtrack with a heavy dose of Big Wild, NomBe & Glass Animals and before I knew it I was on the UES. Some final fancy footwork through the subterranean crowds and I found myself back at street level floating in a sea of activity. Instantly I knew I had made the right choice to come. Big Bird himself welcomed me as horse drawn carriages rode by and a nostalgic tune from the old carousel filled the air. Everywhere I turned there were families huddled happily, adorable puppies leading their companions, and kids of every age doing all those kid things that are just too, too funny. It was sensory overload of the amazing kind! Somehow through it all though my eyes were drawn to a group of signs announcing Danielle Hatton’s - Nourish That Body weekly yoga event. Yes! This was it! Thank you, Universe!
With only a few minutes to spare I quickly made my way down the twisting, tree covered paths to the lawn of Sheep Meadow where I found some of my fellow yoginis greeting one another while others immersed themselves in their pre-class rituals. The entire scene was lit with a glowing, golden autumn hue and the warm sunshine blanketed this small patch of Manhattan that we would call home for the next 90 minutes. It was the perfect setting for an early morning vinyasa flow.
As I approached I was hit with that all-too-familiar, slightly awkward feeling we tend to get when joining a new group and find ourself surrounded by new faces (even when those faces are really friendly). Thankfully over time I’ve completely learned to embrace this sensation as a sign that something new and wonderful is about to happen. And it was.
As soon as I introduced myself Danielle and her friends warmly welcomed me into their intimate group with beautiful smiles and off the chart vibes. Sigh of relief sighed. This day was getting better and better! So after a few more minutes of meeting-and-greeting we began to unroll our mats and get situated. It was time to begin.
From the start our instructor Jennifer was incredible. Her peaceful presence would fill you with each delicate cue that she used to smoothly guide us in and out of pose. It wasn’t before long that my mind began to slow and once again reconnect with my body. There is a certain challenge that comes along with practicing outdoors, especially in the middle of a city where there are so many distractions and so much craziness, but it’s one that I thoroughly enjoy. Traveling further within myself to find and expand that space, focusing intently on my breath, while aligning my mind with my body; the external noise makes it a task at times, but with the loving assistance Jennifer provided I felt I was definitely on my way.
After an hour of working up a sweat and welcoming heat into my body with a collection of warriors, forward folds, chaturangas and crow poses, it was time to melt away in pure bliss and gratification in final Savasana. I lay on my mat spread out wide, completely relaxed and releasing all negative energy and stress that I carried with me earlier - which in addition to the warm sun kissing my face sent a complete euphoric feeling throughout my entire body.
Refreshed, energized and better than ever, we all opened our eyes and returned to our physical place on the hillside.
After, Danielle lead a discussion during which we shared our experiences with health consciousness along with tips on how to maintain a healthy body/lifestyle. It was really informative and inspiring to hear everyone’s personal story. It even turned out to be very delicious as we were all treated to homemade peanut butter and chocolate protein balls prepared by our gracious hostess. Soooooo yum! She was even nice enough to share the recipe with us!
Our afternoon ended with emails, numbers, and IG’s being exchanged, heartfelt hugs, and a promise to do it all again the following weekend. We all parted ways with our respective yoga glows feeling so grateful for an amazing encounter. Still being early and feeling so good I decided to catch up with me a little bit so I popped into the cutest little cafe Le Pain Quotidien for a delicious salmon avocado sandwich wrap and returned to the park with my latest read to soak up all the rays sun had left to offer – it’s safe to say I had myself an amazing Sunday!
For more information about Nourish That Body’s upcoming events follow @nourishthatbody. Hope to see you there!
Jillian Staebler is a 21 y/o yogi born and raised on Long Island currently living, giving, and thriving in NYC. Adventurer extraordinaire, globe trotter, dreamer, and caffeine artist of the coffee-ist variety, F.I.T. student by day, moon child by night. Keep up with her daily doses of of wild, busy, pretty, witty, and city by following @jillianstaebler for future yoga events, cappuccinos, and travels!