After reading Karine Plantadit’s bio which states her commitment to creating a sacred space for inner transformation, Sleuth, curious about her teaching, decided to check out Karine’s class. When I was heading down to Modo Yoga and saw her standing on the subway platform, I knew I was going in the right direction.
Our ride together to the West Village was filled with conversations on Buddhism (she’s been practicing for 25 years), dance (she was/is a dancer), meditation and the breath. She explained this idea of elongating the exhale to tap into the universe, and it’s this space in between the inhale and the exhale which is worth investigating.
“Try it in class today,” she suggested as we exited the train. And then added, “It was a JOY to meet you!”
Modo is a hot yoga studio -- the temperature ranges from about 96 to 100 degrees. It has a friendly vibe, but there is a no talking rule in the practice room, so when I walked in, though it was filled with students, there was silence. Everybody was lying on their backs in Savasana which is how the Modo sequence begins. The sound of feet pitter-pattering on the cork floor was the only noise to be heard in the room.
Karine entered, and with closed eyes, she sat in silence before her introduction. “Welcome to Modo 60 minutes!” she enthused. She went on to say that they encourage small sips of water when needed in between poses, and to take Child’s Pose or Savasana for a recharge at anytime.
The people around me looked prepared. One man had a gallon of water by his side, and most everyone had a mat towel. After just a few minutes I could see why this would be necessary -- my back was dripping sweat before the welcome intro was finished.
From Corpse we came to Child’s Pose where Karine asked us to begin our Ujjayi breath. In Tadasana, she had us close our eyes as she read from Michael Stone on the groundless ground. This was her class theme.
“The ground we stand on is always moving, and new actions are always required. Every time we arrive at a new viewpoint, the conditions change and we must once again tune into what is under our feet. The possibility opens, in this groundless ground, to move through the world with love and lucidity.”
Several times she returned to this concept, and each time it grounded me in my practice, most notably in the standing series which included High Lunge (called Crescent Lunge), Chair Pose, Chair Pose Twist, Warrior 2 and Reverse Warrior. As I tried for balance in Tree, Karine gave me pointers to spread out my toes and press fully into my feet. I could feel the foundation formed from these suggestions, encouraging my arms to lift up overhead.
To disperse some heat in the room, Karine turned on the fan intermittently through class. I happened to be one of the fortunate positioned right underneath, so this splash of cooling air flowed directly onto my mat offering a huge relief.
Though the heat created an intense atmosphere, the slow movements and holds of the poses made for a meditative experience. Karine enhanced this quality by bringing our awareness constantly back to the breath. Some of the time she asked us to exhale through an open mouth. Other times she asked us to let our breath feed the others practicing nearby.
With an effervescent energy, Karine moved throughout the room, giving verbal praise and instruction along with hands on assists. Her language was super clear as she often tuned into the tiny details of a posture which could impact an overall practice. She also brought our attention to how using the breath with asana can help alleviate stress.
In Prasarita Padottanasana C, she told us to let go of someone in our lives with the exhale, and then had us repeat the gesture a few more times. She also said that bending our knees in Uttanasana didn’t make us weaker, it made us wiser as we were attuned to our body’s needs.
When it was time for floor postures, my body was drenched like I’d just come out of a swimming pool. Bridge, Locust and Wheel were part of the backhanding series while reclining Pigeon released our hips.
“Your hips carry every emotion from your entire life which is why you may feel a lot in this pose,” she said.
We sat for a couple rounds of Kapalabhati breathing before coming into Savasana.
After a few minutes in rest, Karine said we could stay in the room for meditation, or roll up our mats mindfully as part of the practice.
When I got up, I felt the sweat still dripping off my body, and noticed more clarity in my mind.
-Elysha Lenkin for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $20, with $2 mat rental and $2 towel rental. Showers are available in the locker rooms. Introductory special offer: 1 month for $40.
Modo Yoga NYC 434 6th Avenue, 2nd FL New York, NY 10022 212-780-9642