Review: Polly Christy, Jivamukti Yoga Class


I don’t often hear the word. I don’t often use it. It reminds me of eating something wet and sweet. It reminds me of my husband holding me with his entire body. I think it has the power to evoke strong sensations in the mind, body and spirit when heard or spoken.

This is the second time I am taking Polly’s class. I intended on writing a review after my first experience with her, but found myself so emotionally spent that I could not bring myself to it. I have to admit, the exact same thing happened this time, but I want to share what she does with you. I want you to know that with just a few words and a selfless intention, Polly made me weep in the dark so I could let go.

The title of the class is “Spiritual Warrior”. It entails a rigorous sequence of asana that includes deep twists, multiple inversions and heart wrenching backbends. It ends with a brief meditation and savasana. The intention of this class is to build physical strength and mastery of the given sequence through dedication and devotion.

After a delicious warm up with the “Magic Ten” Polly invites us to stand at the top of our mats with our hands by our sides. With eyes closed, we are to devote our practice to someone. The faces of my mother, father and sister roll behind my eyelids like the pictures on a slot machine before settling on my own face. I’m almost confused; who is my practice for? I let it go as Polly leads us through repetitions of surya namaskar, the heat building in our bodies and pushing out the toxins in our pores and in our souls.

Polly is somewhat of a con artist.

Now wait, let me explain. She’s very good at making you think that there’s no emotional or spiritual goal here. We’ll go the entire class thinking that all we’re doing is physical. It’s just asana, but it’s not until that last half of class that you realize, “Holy shit, I think I’m going to cry.” Polly drops the subtlest hints with a handful of words that she weaves into her directives.

“Yearn your chest toward your ankle.”
“Make your palms touch; marry them.”
“Open your eyes so you can see where you’re going in life.”

Like I said, subtle. Because I’m so caught up in my trikonasana and how lightheaded I am. I’m so overcome by the weakness in my shoulders after stepping down from handstand practice. I’m so undone by the trembling down the backs of my legs when I fold forward that these words just glide over my subconscious and then work on my brokenness without me knowing.

Polly’s adjustments and assists are fierce. I can only describe them like the ferocious attraction that encompasses two people in alleys and parking lots in the middle of the night. It’s like she wants to see my ability bloom as badly as I do. Whether it’s turning my head just right in revolved side angle or pressing my thighs toward each other with her own as I lift my pelvis for heaven in urdhva dhanurasana, her commitment to my practice is motivating and poignant. I’m not one to use this label much, but the divine feminine drips from her hair and eyes.

We all embrace a short meditation after Polly invites us to observe the life force moving inside of us. We surrender immediately to savasana at her say so, basking in the silence and shadow.

“Let go of what you’re holding onto,” she says.

And I feel like I am, even though I cannot exactly define what those things are. I feel as if I am unclenching the grip I have on some unspoken pain that has defined me for so long. Before I know it, Polly massages my neck and skull with lavender scented lotion that is the permission I need to truly release my vices. Then, the sound of the harmonium beckons our om, our shanti, our jai. I open my eyes, beholding the flickering candlelight as I cover my face with my hands and weep.

Heyam dukham anagatam. Strengths:

inspiring hands-on assists that broaden the horizons of your ability clear directives laced with intention and sentimentality
Recommended for those who:

don’t want a sermon
want a physical, emotional and spiritual ass-kicking