Om for the holidays

Downtown Express, Dec. 17 – 23, 2004

New Tribeca yoga studio where ‘tensions drop and hope soars’

By Wickham Boyle

Let’s face it, no matter how we try to keep our good sprits during the holidays, we are whirled into the maelstrom of too much. There are too many parties, too much shopping, the stores are crowded, the kids are overwhelmed, over stimulated and over the moon with anticipation. We eat too much of everything and we love doing it. But on occasion we could use a breather, almost a mini-vacation from the swirling holiday commotion.

To the rescue is a new yoga studio at 443 Greenwich Street called “Shri.” Shri means “life-affirming energy” in Sanskrit and when you wander up to the second floor of this magical place you will feel your tension drop and your hope soar. This is one of the largest open yoga spaces in Manhattan and because you are not jammed into a tiny corner squished next to your celebrity neighbor and sweating best friend, you have a sense that you really are opening your heart, mind and sprit rather than once again, fighting to do the right thing in a city that never sleeps and never gives you enough space.

Shri Yoga was the brainchild of two Italian-American yoga gurus whose fiery beauty and focused strength are offered to students in an incredible openhearted manner. The studio was started in Tribeca almost as homage to the difficult times in downtown after 9/11.

“We felt that this was the best neighborhood to bring good energy to. We believe that this studio will be a kind of light to attract people,” said Nardini,

As anyone who has ever “OMMMMED,” done a “tree pose” or chanted in a yoga class will tell you, yoga is very personal and in any practice there are ways for you to adjust and make the moment your own. At Shri yoga every student is given in-depth personal attention, there is often hands on adjustment, stretching and very loving care focused on practitioner in either the hour or 90-minute classes. The studio offers a variety of classes taught by the well-credentialed owners and some talented guest teachers who offer classes in Tantric yoga. OK you are not going to become Sting and have endless orgies, according to Elizabeth Rossa.

“This is about teaching you to meet your life and change the things you encounter in the world that you want altered. Yoga can do this”

And at the holidays when you want to be home and calm, you may want to add a pinch of OM as well. Shri Yoga is the place to start if you live downtown, with the warm wood floors, the orange windows and private rooms, treatment centers for massage and the endless classes all taken to soothing music with tip top attention you may find that you want to eat less, stress less and give yourself over to the real joys of the season.