By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Who practices the Roth 5 Rhythms, and why? A woman working through a period of intense grief. A computer programmer: "For a soul infusion." A woman with a painful disability: "Since joining the class, I'm able to deal without painkillers."
Roth, a wise person, has said, "After you jump and before you land is God." I haven't landed yet. MARY D. CHAFFEE
Jane Selzer: 212-642-5494 For details on local, national, and international classes and workshops directed by Gabrielle Roth and others, contact the Moving Center 212-760-1381 email@example.com www.ravenrecording.com
Many yoga venues are spiritual havens carved out of grungy placesstorage rooms in hospitals, disused offices, basements, or atticswhere you're lucky if you find a changing room. At the other extreme are gyms where grunts and body preening clash with yogic inner harmony.
New York Yoga, however, boasts not only a perfect environment but also high-caliber teachers of ashtanga or "power" yoga. Designed by Dalton Robertson of Las Vegas's Caesar's Palace, it has beautiful bamboo floors, rice glass windows, subtle elegant lighting, two mirrored studios, changing rooms, and a small boutique with a tempting range of yoga accessories, all planned to promote maximum relaxation and a safe and inspiring atmosphere, definitely a requisite for Upper East Siders. But the studio's appeal is more than cosmetic. It offers a great diversity of yoga styles and classes (over 60 a week) catering to people from advanced practitioners to kids, moms, expectant moms, older women, people with cardiac conditions, golfers, and even corporate members. Instruction is efficient and technically adept, if lean in the spiritual aspects. JOSEPHINE LEASK
New York Yoga 1629 York Avenue, at 86th Street 212-717-YOGA Classes run all day. Prices start at $20 a class; discount cards and membership packages are available.
Falun Gong Show
Of the exercises Quan Sha taught me in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, Heavenly Circulation made my body tingle the most. Falun Gong's movements are usually done in order: (1) Buddha Showing a Thousand Hands, (2) Falun Standing Stance, (3) Penetrating the Two Cosmic Extremes, (4) Heavenly Circulation, and (5) Strengthening Divine Powersa seated meditation much like those in yoga. By the time I got to the spine-tingler, I had been Standing and Penetrating the Two Cosmic Extremes for some time, moving slowly in the early-morning winter sun, wrapped up in my sweater and gloves. Falun Gong's movements are a lot like other methods of qi gong, a popular form of health-related exercise widely practiced in China. According to Quan Sha, Falun Gong is distinguished by its "focus on your heart," meaning the principles of truth, compassion, and forbearance as explained in books written by Master Li Hongzhi, who introduced the practice in 1992. The other difference between spiritual Falun Gong and fitness-oriented qi gong is more extreme. In China, Falun Gong?related activities are punished by the government with "reeducation" in a labor camp. Secular qi gong is A-OK. ALEXIS SOTTILE
Falun Gong classes are free. Go to www.falundafa.org to find the practice site nearest you, or call 1-877-FALUN99. For information on the human rights issue involving China's treatment of this spiritual group, go to www.falundafa.org or www.mediachannel.org.