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My Workout Was Full of Metaphors at Satya Yoga

The hour-long class was full of balancing, twisty moves, and meditations.
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Satya Yoga. Catherine Wendlandt

I started with yoga by watching YouTube tutorials. All the metaphors bothered me. Instructors delivered them in soothing, almost annoying tones: “you are a tree.” They’d pull me out of practice. Over the years, my cynicism has softened with more in-person classes.

Which is good, because during a recent class at Satya Yoga, my instructor spread a forest’s worth of meditation seeds into our practice.

The studio is behind the Target Medallion Center on Northwest Highway, an industrial space that is bright and airy. Blocks and a blanket are the only required props. There were only eight of us in the class, and everyone was friendly. 

The first metaphor came, naturally, at the beginning of class. When telling us to only do what our bodies were able to do, the instructor compared it to picking out the right products that matched your skin at the Estée Lauder makeup counter. Then we all sank into child’s pose. 

The instructor cranked up the humidity in the room. It helped us to build up a more intense sweat as we worked through the session. But between the humidity and the sweat, I felt gross. Or we were in Houston.

Our class wasn’t necessarily hard, but we did go through positions quickly. We stayed in child’s pose for a while, but we moved through lots of warriors, chaturangas, and lunges. We typically used cobras or downward-facing dogs to rapid-fire into the next position. Because I have mobility issues, this was difficult. But the instructor offered modifications when she saw us—me—struggling. For example, instead of using downward-facing dogs to transition, we could use child’s pose. 

We did many twisting and balancing movements. We twisted our upper bodies in a lunge. We balanced in tree pose. In child’s pose, we threaded one arm underneath our bodies; I’ve always loved this pose because it does wonders at relieving scoliosis-induced back tension. At one point, we crossed one leg in front of the other—so our legs were candy canes—and did a forward fold, which was surprisingly hard. 

Throughout, the instructor kept dropping metaphors as meditations. She walked us through the woods. We shouldn’t push too hard, because we slow down to start happy hour.

While we worked out, the instructor focused on making sure we used the right muscle groups when moving through positions, like drawing strength from your pelvis and not your back when you step forward from a lunge. If we needed help sinking into a position, she came to help. She also explained how each position would affect our muscles and mentioned that if certain poses were uncomfortable, it might be for any number of reasons, like not having enough water. (When my feet cramped up later in class, I remembered how little water I had had that day.)

She led us through the longest metaphor/meditation near the end, while we lay in a reclining pigeon pose to stretch our hips. It went something like this: We, as a group, walked through a forest, taking in the sights and smells. Then we came upon a clear, glassy lake. The water was smooth, reflecting the sky. This is your mind, the instructor said. Then someone in the group tossed a rock in, causing ripples. What a jerk, I thought. Then, I chided myself for being cynical and told myself to concentrate on the meditation. I focused on Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park, where I once went hiking, and it was nice. I felt my body relax and my mind still, like the water. (A simile.)

Final Thoughts

Aesthetics 

The studio isn’t frilly or elaborate, just a big, airy room with cool blues and earthy tones. There was a wooden accent room at the front, where the instructor taught, and few mirrors. The instructor played jazz and soft rock—think James Taylor and an acoustic version of “Take on Me.” Later, when we worked through the lake metaphor, she turned the music off altogether, which made the meditation more impactful. 

Difficulty

This class was listed as all levels, but it definitely skewed toward beginners—i.e., no one did headstands just for the heck of it. Most of the individual moves weren’t too hard, but I did have trouble with pace and a lot of the balancing positions. I wobbled more than wedding guests on a dance floor (hyperbole).

Accessibility

The studio advertises itself as accessible to new practitioners, folks recovering from injuries, and experienced yogis looking to slow down. I felt like the class was on the more accessible side. The instructor encouraged us to use props to help and used them herself. She offered modifications, too. However, we flowed through moves quickly, which can be hard for those, like me, with mobility issues. But people were able to take breaks from position without repercussions. 

The Cost of It All 

A single drop-in class is $24, but you can also get your first class free. Satya has a ‘seven days for $40 special,’ and a 10-class pack is $189. An unlimited monthly membership is $129.

Would I Go Back?

This place didn’t knock my socks off (metaphor). But if a friend wanted to go, I would. 

Author

Catherine Wendlandt

Catherine Wendlandt

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Catherine Wendlandt is the online associate editor for D Magazine’s Living and Home and Garden blogs, where she covers all…
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