For some people, the ideal New Year’s Eve is at a raging, bottle-service-fueled dance party. For others it’s a cheese pizza (OK, two cheese pizzas) on the couch and snoozing at 12:02 AM.
But for us? Well there’s nowhere we’d rather be at midnight than on the mat, ringing in the new year with intention, excitement, and a whole lot of sweat. This year, we upheld tradition by hosting a two-hour class — led by Bethany Lyons — counting down to the midnight ball drop. Why spend New Year’s Eve at The Den? Here’s why some of our fearless warriors chose to spend the holiday with us, powering their way through 16 sets of handstand preps and 16 breaths while holding Wheel. NBD.
“My fiancé, Brandon, and I usually dedicate the holidays to visiting our families. But this year our schedules brought us back to New York City in time for New Year’s Eve, and we both knew what we wanted to do.
“Yoga has always been a cornerstone of our life as a couple. When we began dating, Brandon invited me to my first class — with Bethany as our teacher! — and it has become our version of church. This New Year’s Eve practice was our first holiday spent doing something alone and together. We think it’s special and important to be able to create our own traditions and memories for our family unit, especially as we move into a marriage.
“Practicing at The Den that night was exciting and intense. I loved walking up the candlelit stairway and entering a room bursting with joy. I was surrounded by a community of individuals who each made the same decision to show up on their mats. This was the energy I wanted to enter 2016 with. It was an intense reminder and a call to be the best version of myself. I loved the love I felt and hope to do this again next year with Brandon.
“Oh, and another important takeaway from the two-hour class: Definitely do not eat cake before class.”
“On New Year’s Eve 2014, my fiancé, Sean, and I had both recently lost loved ones and couldn’t bear going to a house party or bar. But we didn’t want to grieve all night in our apartment. I received an email from Lyons Den about the New Year’s Eve class and instantly thought, ‘I could get out of bed for this.’ My grief was in the phase where getting out of bed was a major accomplishment.
“I have studied with Bethany for about a decade, so she has seen me on my mat through numerous life changes. I knew Sean and I, no matter our mental and emotional states, would be fully welcomed — and I was right. We connected, celebrated, and laughed with everyone there.
“2015 was a year of magical thinking for us. Not only did we learn how to live our new normal with our losses, but we also got married after 10 years together. When we were discussing how to celebrate the end of such a year, we thought it seemed fitting to close it where it began. This year’s practice was much different than last year’s, being filled with gratitude, joy, and optimism for a stellar 2016. But what was the same? We were fully welcomed and had fun. So much memorable fun.”
“I’ve got a thing for genuine people. I celebrated New Year’s Eve at The Den because I wanted to surround myself with people who got ‘it,’ where ‘it’ is the magic created within the four walls of 279 Church Street.
“I wanted to set the tone for 2016 and all the exciting things to come by creating energy with a community that I both respect and learn from each time I step onto the mat. I wanted to be with like-minded people who believe in themselves and each other, and know that ‘if you can, you must,’ and are a yes for not just themselves, but the people around them. I wanted to surround myself with people who believe in committing, growing, and being present.
“In true fashion, New Year’s at The Den was everything I could imagine, with champagne and an impromptu dance party as the cherries on top. I threw my hair in a bun, downward doggie-d like a boss, and handled it. 2016, I’m coming at you with a roar!”
Michelle Lehrman, Lyons Den Pride Karma Team Leader:
“When Lyons Den opened, I attended class when I could, but not as frequently as I would have liked. Last winter, though, I had some extra days off from work around the holidays, so I reached out to The Den to see if they needed any volunteer help. They did, and my life hasn’t been the same since.
“I joined the Pride Karma program on December 23, 2014. I was taking more yoga classes than ever before, and I loved it. I completed the 40 Days to Personal Revolution program, and then became the Pride Karma team leader. I attended my first Baptiste training in September, and started assisting Den classes soon after.
“2015 was a year of decision and transition for me. Every big decision I made this year was influenced by my time and my community and Lyons Den. There is always someone to talk to, to ask for advice, or simply to hug. I’m so proud to be part of a community that is full of the qualities that first drew me to Bethany and Baptiste yoga. These people are kind, generous, and amazing.
“This year, I happily turned 30. I found the courage to start — and end — a relationship. I left a job I had been wanting to leave for a while. I finally left my gym. I am stronger than ever and I feel, for the first time in my life, that this is who I am. I would change nothing.
“I chose to be on the mat on New Year’s Eve because I couldn’t wait to celebrate with everyone. If starting 2015 at Lyons Den had any effect on how great this year has been, then 2016 is going to be pretty roaring incredible.”
Happy 2016, Den community! We can’t wait to practice with you all year long.