Author: Rivka Cilley
Saranac Lake is an amazing community for many reasons. One of the things I love is that we have an abundance of yoga studios with various styles of yoga. Mary Bartel started the Inner Quest Yoga Studio & Wellness Center many years ago. She created a culture for yoga practitioners to thrive. She does an amazing job offering a diversity of classes and special events, including iRest Yoga Nidra workshops, Kirtan, and meditation classes to name a few. Helene Gibbens at Sammati Yoga Center offers a yoga practice that incorporates her training in Svaroopa Yoga and Viniyoga. Bethany McNally at Earthshine Yoga studio has worked to expand the scope of offerings to include Somatic Yoga classes, Restorative Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Kripalu Yoga, Ecstatic Dance, Kirtan, Jiu Jitsu, and other workshops/classes. All the yoga studios have amazing teachers and special events. Hotel Saranac also contracts with yoga instructors to provide yoga classes as well, so finding a great yoga class is easy in Saranac Lake.
When I planned my Yoga outing I opted to participate in a class at Earthshine Yoga studio with a new teacher. The 9:30 a.m. class taught by Rachel Henrich was described as “Morning Asana, Breath & Meditation.” Sounded perfect for what I was looking for and it was. Earthshine Yoga Studio is located in an old building. Human Power Planet Earth and Origin Coffee have retail space in the same building. To access the yoga studio you walk to the back of the building via Dorsey Street, then up the stairs. The yoga studio has dark hard wood floors. Tapestries hang from the brick walls. The room is simply decorated with plants hanging near the windows.
Rachel is passionate about incorporating meditation and pranayama into her asana yoga classes, all of which I love. As promised she began her class with a simple meditation allowing us to center and ground. She then led us through several minutes of Bellows Breath. Her instruction with asana poses was well constructed. The tone was nurturing, compassionate, and caring. She provided enough prompts to make it easy to follow and did well in balancing pose demonstrations with individual student interactions. She took us through several poses including a Vinyassa flow, Warrior II & III, Crescent lunge, Goddess pose, and Lizard. She ended with the traditional Shavasana. Rachel has a strong background in Aryuveda which is apparent with her choice of words focused on earth elements. I left the class feeling empowered, grounded, and peaceful. It was just what I had wanted after a crazy busy work week. This was my time to unwind and relax.
After class it was time to paddle. I took out my “Adirondack Paddler’s Map: The Saranac Lakes” to allow me to navigate the waterway. I had water and snacks packed for the trip. From the sandy beach at State Bridge I took a right heading northeast on Second Pond. As I rounded the first corner the noise from the highway disappeared and I found myself immersed in nature. I sighted a campsite on the left shore where I saw a loon before it ducked under the water.
The waterway expanded as I crossed to the right shore and followed the water channel down a narrow passageway. I made note of a campsite with a lean-to, which looked ideal for an overnight trip. There were rocks and trees under the water that I paid close attention to so as to not overturn my boat. I continued paddling until I came to a junction. The map indicated that the passage to the right called Cold Brook, so I stayed to the left making note of a boulder and another campsite on the left.
The waterway opened up again and I found myself in an old grove of tree stumps. The water became shallow and it was important for me to really watch where I was going. This is one of my favorite areas to hang out and watch nature. I saw some black ducks swimming in the distance. The surface of the water was covered with white and yellow pond lilies. I lingered here for a while and watched a turtle sunning itself on a tree branch.
I continued paddling into the last little body of water before I reached the lower locks. This was a nice place to linger. There are some rocks along the shore that are impressive to look at, a portage, and a privy sign on the right shore. I got out to stretch and walked the portage trail over to Oseetah Lake. There were wildflowers blooming on the twinflower, as well as some other flowers. I immediately noticed the private camps right along the right shore. There were wildflowers blooming on the twinflower, as well as some other flowers. What a great place to spend your summers.
From the shore I sat and ate my snack while I watched a group of kayaks going through the hand operated locks into Oseetah Lake. I wish I had all day to just hang out and watch the activity of the boats going through the locks, but I needed to get back to town for some other fun activities.
As I turned to head back to State Bridge I caught site of a Great Blue Heron taking flight. Great Blue Herons are amazing birds with their broad wingspan. Their head is elaborately covered with a black crown and a head plume. I had the delight of seeing Great Blue Herons nesting in the spring, which was an amazing experience. They nest in trees in colonies of up to 500 or more nests.
On my return trip I was able to see a loon, which is always a special experience. Loons are pretty amazing creatures. No matter how many times I see a loon it is always something fabulous. This was a great way to end my day on the water.
Start planning your relaxing day in Saranac Lake. Choose your ideal yoga class and then spend some time exploring the water —we have plenty of it!