On a beautiful, sunny Saturday, I met my dear little sister at North End Yoga for a late afternoon class.
Tour Stop: North End Yoga, Boston
Date: Saturday, April 28
Class: Vinyasa All Levels (75 mins)
Instructor: Jessica Pate
Practice Pal: Linda
I had put NEY on my tour list because it is regularly included in Best of Boston round-ups. The beautiful airy space is located in the heart of the North End, directly on Hanover Street.
The check-in process was easy and quick, and the $18 drop-in rate is the average for the Boston area. They also offer a special for new students: $30 for 30 days.
The entire facility is gorgeous. Large deities and heavy wooden pieces are placed thoughtfully in the rooms. The shiny and perfectly swept hardwood floors reflect the light pouring through the large windows overlooking Hanover street. The hustle and bustle of the crowds below was audible, but softened by the three stories between the pavement and the practice space. The bathrooms were exceptionally lovely, each with an individual shower and bath products available for use.
There are two practice spaces on the main floor, and two studio spaces on the floor below for Pilates and barre classes.
What I observed: Attendance was fairly small. There were eight students in the room that afternoon, which, Jessica told me afterwards, was fewer than normal, but was probably due to the beautiful weather on the other side of those big windows.
We opened class with a lot of breath work and warming up of the shoulders. After a handful of variations on the Sun A, we left the vinyasa aside. Jessica’s focus for the class was to deeply open the shoulders and outer hips. We progressed through a number of anjaneyasana and low lunge variations, with sundry arm options, and eventually came to a version of pigeon pose with a bolster for support.
What I liked: Jessica’s teaching bio describes her as “deliberate, but not too serious”. I read that after class, but I think it’s accurate. She had a distinct shape to her class, and was moving about the room to provide individual attention and helpful, personalized guidance. Her vibe was warm but chill (pardon the contradictory slang), and she voiced her cues in a quiet tone. I tuned into her anatomical cues especially, which included colorful actions like “drawing the thigh bone back into the joint” and “compressing the space between the tops of the thighs.”
Linda acknowledged Jessica’s great adjustments, which were precise and communicative. “You could tell what she wanted you to do when she laid her hands upon you,” Linda said, “as opposed an empty touch that causes you to question everything about yourself.”
What I missed: I didn’t think there was much by way of heat-building, though Linda said she was warm due to her own discomfort. Jessica did give plenty of options for how to progress into postures, but there was nothing I would consider unusual or advanced. I don’t believe we were provided options for any arm balances or inversions, and certainly none were specifically taught as part of the class.
Recommended for: Most everyone! NEY was welcoming from the start, and Jessica, while leading a planned class, established an easy-going, “you do you” atmosphere. Looking around the room during class, it appeared that each yogi could find a space to work within the sequences.
Would I return: Yes! It just felt good to be there. If Jessica is a fair representation of the teaching base at NEY, then I would gladly return for another thoughtful and attentively led class.