If you've ever visited Greenpoint, Brooklyn you're probably aware of its large Polish immigrant and Polish-American community. Also nestled nicely within the neighborhood often referred to as "Little Poland," is a small community of yogis, healers and body workers offering holistic services.
Maha Rose, located just off Manhattan Avenue, is Brooklyn's center for healing, inspiration, creativity and transformation. On a rainy Wednesday night, I hopped the G train to experience the union of yoga and sound healing with yoga teacher, Sarah Capua and sound healer, Stephanie Rooker who combine physical postures, breathing practices and soothing sounds for a thoughtful 60-minute sound/body connection.
On a quiet warehouse-lined street, I came across this quaint healing center welcoming new friends to enter with an open door. The wooden screen door creaked as I stepped inside and quickly slammed behind me, like walking into a bunk cabin at summer camp.
The heat was overwhelming at first as there was no AC, but once I got settled in the warmth actually created a feeling of safety and coziness.I was directed to a small room just to the left of the entrance secluded by drapes of cloth hanging from the ceiling. I stepped into the space that could comfortably hold about 15 people and rolled out my yoga mat onto woven rug flooring.
I was rather surprised to see carpeting, but the cushioning actually provided extra support under my mat.On the wall at the front of the room was a large framed photo of Amma, notoriously known as the hugging saint. Directly below the photo, Stephanie found a comfortable seat on the floor laying out her fascinating collection of instruments including a shruti box, tuning forks (tuned to the human body), singing bowl, wooden ocarina and shakers.
After a few simple sounds of chimes, Sarah began leading us through a few rounds of deep breath work and a rhythmic flow of Child’s Pose, lifting to the knees, and back down. Each movement was slow and steady as Stephanie integrated calming sounds of various octaves that kept bringing me back to the present.
The synchronicity of movement, breath and sound carried through the entire hour of class as I embraced the opportunity to slow down my body and mind with the practice of traditional sequencing. Rather than a power flow or 20-straight-minutes of Sun Salutations, this class was all about taking the time to connect the senses and leverage the gift of sound to bring more awareness into the body.
Class closed with a few rounds of call and response to Sarah and Stephanie’s beautiful chanting voices including the Sanskrit word Soham meaning “I am.” And with the final few harmonies, I left reminded that “I am” all things sound, body and yoga.