To me, the end of summer and the promise of fall is akin to having a clean slate from which to work from, like a new year, if you will (blame it on all those marking periods and semesters living by the school calendar). And more often than not at this time of year, I am inspired to make a resolution or two in order to channel the very best of my peaceful, contemplative (read: slightly indulgent) summer self into this newest of seasons.
So, this fall, I’ve decided to make a couple of resolutions (e.g. drink more water; read more books that move me; invest in a fierce new handbag), but the declaration that I think is perhaps the most important (although I do acknowledge the transformative power of fashion) is relatively simple in essence and not so easy in practice: to just breathe. I realize that if I was in fact not breathing at all, I also would not be writing this post right now, but what I mean is to take a moment to take full, deep, belly-distending breaths and exhale those breaths to the point that one’s stomach is concave. Although this might sound slightly goofy, let me tell you why: This afternoon alone, I caught myself holding my breath three separate times (twice as I watched my daughter maneuver down the hall and into a basket full of clean, folded laundry and the second as I tried to carry three very heavy bags of groceries from the trunk of the car into the house at the same time to avoid making a second trip). Although I know I am breathing, I have a bad habit of literally holding my breath when I get overwhelmed: if I’m trying to figure out how I can start dinner, feed the dog, and put the kid down while finishing up an article I’m in the middle of writing, I descend into this weird state of stress apnea. Not healthy. No bueno.
Thus it feels like I’m getting a big cosmic hug (or perhaps a tap on the shoulder) this September: It’s National Yoga Month and many of our area’s yoga studios are offering complimentary classes. No, I’m not pulling your savasana; I said free, people. I haven’t done a legit Downward-Facing Dog in quite a while, but yoga has always been the best excuse (and the best way) for me to indulge in simply breathing to breathe. Sure, there are some poses and a bit of chanting mixed in, but on the whole, I go solely for the breathing.
To start, as I mentioned in last week’s Events newsletter, the Princeton Center for Yoga & Health is offering a week’s worth of free yoga classes from Monday, September 13 through Sunday, September 19. New students can try any of the regularly scheduled yoga classes for free, and existing students can bring a pal to class and also attend compliments of PCYH. Some of the classes that will get us all off on the right foot include everything from reggae-flow yoga (an all-level Vinyasa class with fluid breathe and righteous alignment) to hot power yoga (a vigorous power Vinyasa flow class meant to heal, detoxify, calm, and energize) to a beginner’s yoga (basic breathing exercises, foundational poses, sun salutations, and deep relaxation). Most of the classes are drop-in only, so admission is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Princeton Center for Yoga & Health, 50 Vreeland Drive, Suite 506, Skillman; 609.924.7294 or princetonyoga.com.
If Warrior One isn’t the same without a Scooplet perched on your hip, then head over to Wild Child Yoga where the yogis are committed to offering a variety of appropriate (and laid back) classes for children of all ages (six weeks through teens) as well as pre- and post-natal yoga and couples yoga. I brought my wee one to a Baby & Me Yoga class this weekend, and it was just what the doctor ordered: My kid was scooting around the cozy practice space with a new friend, I was sitting in lotus and breathing more deeply than I have in months, and all was right with the world. And, in celebration of National Yoga Month, Wild Child Yoga is inviting us all to indulge in a complimentary class. From Monday, September 13 through Sunday, September 19, simply give them a call, and leave your name, number, and the class you’d like to attend. You’ll be on your way to drama-free inner peace in no time. Wild Child Yoga, Princeton Shopping Center, 301 North Harrison Street, #31, Princeton; 609.635.9663 or wildchildyogaprinceton.com.
Last but certainly not least, Onsen For All (located in the beautifully restored Jedediah Higgins House, the oldest standing building in Franklin Township, at the intersection of Route 27 and Raymond Road) has a selection of complimentary classes for you to really get your chivasana on. In addition to the soaking hot tubs (heaven on earth on a chilly day), the massage and bodywork, spa treatments, and myriad classes and workshops they offer, Onsen is tempting us further with Yoga for Every Body with Susan on Thursday, September 16 at 9:30 a.m.; Mixed Level with Brian on Sunday, September 19 at 11:30 a.m.; and a second Mixed Level class with Denyse at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, September 28. The classes are small (limited to 10 people), so it’s first come, first served. Onsen for All, 4451 Route 27, Princeton; 609.924.4800 or onsenforall.com.
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that lululemon athletica, the purveyor of oh-so stylish workout and yoga clothes, regularly offers a complimentary yoga class at its Princeton location every Sunday at 9 a.m. (If you can pull yourself out of bed and away from the pancakes in time to do your sun salutation, it’s really a fabulous way to start the day.) lululemon athletica, 36 Nassau Street, Princeton; 609.921.2035 or lululemon.com/princeton.
So, for all of you who run to and fro all day long without stopping to smell the roses (or take a breath deeper than a shallow cough), this week’s for you. Namaste, my friends. Namaste.
Jennifer Henderson is the editor of Princeton Scoop online and a freelance writer who has worked for several magazines, including Vanity Fair, Talk, W, and New Jersey Life. She lives in Princeton with her husband, daughter, and chocolate Labrador. She welcomes any inside scoop on what to do and see in the area. E-mail her at email@example.com.