New York

What a blast I had on this trip! From day one arriving in New York, I was off up to Harlem staying at a friend’s place. Humphing my cases around was so not fun up all those stairs on the subway!

Roll on to the next day, my first class in NYC ever at Alo in Soho. It was a full room looking at how Forrest Yoga navigates arm balances and some pretty intense (and fun) poses. It was great to speak with everyone afterwards and talk up Forrest Yoga and answer questions on sequencing and some of the why and how of the practice.

In true Finlay style, I was 4 hours early for my workshop the next day in Brooklyn at Brooklyn Yoga project, just in case, I was late! Navigating that far down gave me the chills and I was sure I would get lost (but I ended up back there almost every day). I did my interview for the New York City Tartan Week committee and met up with their lovely staff before teaching my intro to Forrest workshop. When beginners and advanced practitioners come together to do an intro workshop, something magical happens. There is a levelling of the playing field. Early on, people were listing the poses they couldn’t do and mentioning handstand etc. We all worked together on basics, feeling the muscles working, and putting the pieces together while getting group feedback that they all felt it, regardless of level. And, I love it when that happens!

The weekend was a little bit quieter with meetings all over town, including meeting Fuller, who looks after events at Lululemon on 5th avenue and chatting all things pride, yoga, marriage, relationships, and our crazy adventures. Their co-working space became a favourite hang out for us.

All the way through these events, Ava and Chanel were on hand. Never have I met such spirited and fun people! We laughed so hard and I think developed too many in-jokes to ever be able to return to normal ever again. This led to us all getting together to support Ash, also with Yama Talent, at her event for Lunchonme, an organisation that prepares meals for the homeless and artistically designs the bags to be positive and uplifting. That was our Saturday night, walking the streets pulling a trolly full of food!

Roll around to Monday, 5 am alarm to do the photocall for Visit Scotland doing Yoga in freezing conditions on top of a van styled as a highland cow accompanied by 8 bagpipe players! It was surreal and chilly! This led to a day of running in and out of meetings, prepping for our cocktail night, moving books to where they needed to be ahead of Tuesday. With over 150 on the guest list for Kilted Cocktails, we were most excited about meeting the First Piper, Ross Cummings, and his partner Travis, who I have followed for ages. He even played pipes for us all at Bar Veloce in Hell’s Kitchen to really kick off the week.

Our week continued with events for Visit Scotland, creating Scottish experiences and taking loads of photos of people doing yoga with a lovely background of a Scottish loch and meeting lovely people involved with Scottish Development and the Scottish Government. We slid right on into meetings about the future of Kilted Yoga, working stateside, launching the tartan, and other really exciting events that took us right through to the ceilidh, where we were able to dance until we soaked through our clothes with sweat!

On Saturday, we were celebrating the launch of Kilted Yoga, Yoga Laid Bare with its North America publishing date and Tartan Day (after the 499th anniversary of the treaty of Arbroath), so it was a double celebration to march down 6th avenue. We were there supporting Prickly Thistle, the wonderful people who designed the tartan and wove enough of it to fit two kilts and two maxi kilts (worn by Ava and Chanel). All along the parade route, we were stopped to talk about the tartan, sign books, and greet people for quick photos between dancing, doing yoga and marching all along to Ross’s musical accompaniment.

All in all, one of the most exhausting two weeks of my life in one of the busiest cities on the planet. Mad respect goes out to all the people that manage at that pace every day. It really made me realise how good I have it here in Dundee with space and quiet to get on with what I do. I am telling you, that practice this morning was so delicious just because of the quiet!

A big shout out to the team at YAMA Talent for all of their help setting up this time. Ava, your vision is incredible. Chanel, your energy was indomitable and so uplifting, even when it was rough going! Ash, thanks for capturing all of it and I can’t wait to see the images. Lauren, amazing to have you organising everything behind the scenes!

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