Wednesday, April 20, 2005

As those of you who've been to New York City know, there's not a whole lot going on here. Not much to look at, not a lot of places to eat, nothing much to do.

Well, maybe there're like two places to eat. But that's it.

I'm not sure which god I've pleased lately, but some cosmic hand has seen fit to bestow spring-like weather, even summer-like, on New York City.

This isn't novel for those of us from SoCal, where there's incredible weather all day, every day, all year---for us, rain is the novelty---but let me tell you why I've fallen to my knees in thanks in the intersection of Prince and Sullivan Streets, to the amusement of oncoming drivers and the Korean guy stocking the fruit at the corner store.

White wife-beaters.

New York's unending supply of cripplingly attractive women have all seen fit to crack out their white wife-beaters. They're parading about the city, oblivious to the ensuing sprained necks and car crashes.

Yoga has happened in the dingy, grime-encrusted Russian and Turkish Baths, located on E. 10th Street.

An exhausted-looking Russian guy does you the favor of taking your money. You change in the grimiest locker in the known universe, and then descend downstairs to the "spa."

They have a Turkish steam room, a dry sauna, a Swedish sauna, an ice-dip pool, and the best room in the joint, the Russian sauna.

In the Russian sauna, the kiln in the corner is filled with rocks that are baked all night, and then left to radiate temps of 165 degrees all day. Faucets with buckets underneath are interspersed along the ampitheatre-style stone steps.

When the heat gets unbearable---about every five minutes or so---you dump the bucket of frigid water over your head and let it cascade down your body.

What follows is a milisecond of pure consciousness whiteout and bliss.

That's some yoga right there.

It was coed, which meant it wasn't a total dude-fest. I was a little apprehensive about the joint's gay quotient, and scoured the website for hints that this was any place other than an OG Russian Jewish "schvitz" bathhouse. I couldn't find any, and subsequently only got hit on once.

("Say---are you by any chance a model?" Damnit, that line works on me every time.)

I've been practicing at Eddie Stern's joint, sans Eddie, who's apparently very sick. I've heard about his dedication, so he must be incredibly ill to have missed a week of class.

The space is incredible, and there's a lot of shakti in the room. Everyone faces in the same direction, towards an altar at one end of the room, and there's a warm, inviting feel to place. Everyone's been very friendly, if not a bit harried---it is New York, after all.

I also keep running into people I've met in Mysore---maybe 10 people or so? That's a lot, man. It's been too sweet.

Of course, my experience at Eddie's is made sweeter by the fact that I will soon be returning to the Best Western's Sandcastle Room.

There are also new Mysore plans in the air. I'm at 90-percent certainty there will be an extended 05 trip. More soon.