On the third floor of Harlem's happening 125th Street, just above the local vegetarian store and a braiding salon is the serene Harlem Yoga Studio. It's a unique space with a variety of classes for everyone from Harlem Yoga Shakes to Yoga Barre to Community Iyengar to Ying/Yang Yoga to Full-Figured Yoga to Toddler and Me to Kundalini Yoga. Sleuth was taking the open level vinyasa mid-morning class with Venezuelan native, Dublin Salas.
With little ceremony, Dublin got us started immediately, inviting us to our feet, then having us stand with our eyes closed in Tadasana as he encouraged us to relax each part of our body. Asking us to keep our eyes closed we then did a deep standing side stretch. After each side stretch he'd then have us take note of how one arm felt longer than the other. Keeping our eyes closed, we came up on to our heels and with great trembling came into a squat then back up to standing. It was a challenging beginning to class, as Dublin noted. "I sometimes teach classes where the students are blindfolded," he added.
Dublin then walked us through some slow, but challenging Sun Salutations. I say challenging because poses such as high lunges and Plank were held for no less than five deep breaths. He would also repeat several poses giving new variations to each one such as in high lunge where he had us interlace our fingers above our heads as he talked about hugging the triceps in. We also took a lunge twist and held Eagle Pose for a lengthy amount of time.
Dublin explained each pose carefully giving us meticulous alignment instructions, sometimes considerately translating for some of the Spanish speakers in the class (on Saturdays, there's also a Yoga En Español class).
Lowering our Planks all the way to the floor, Dublin then took us through a series of floor backbends. In between Baby Cobras, which gradually became Full Cobras, we did Shalabhasana with feet on the floor, Shalabhasana with feet off the floor, Shalabhasana with feet and arms off the floor and then Bow Pose.
After this series of floor backbends, Dublin then walked us through a round of several series of Warrior poses including a transition from high lunge to Warrior II to Extended Side Angle to Reverse Warrior.
Dublin then had us back on the floor working on a series of leg lifts for abdominals, raising and lowering our legs slowly to the count of five. The slower we went, the harder it got, but this seemed the method to Dublin’s magic. Then to stretch out we held Bridge pose for several minutes.
After seated twists we then folded over into Paschimottanasana before cooling down in Savasana. As we assembled our props and mats to leave, Dublin read some announcements for upcoming workshops at this lively, happening and interesting studio.