On a bright Sunday before Memorial Day, I was lucky enough to take class with Jessica Chazen Pinter, author of the great blog, onehungryyogi. Her classes have a steady following, and she also co-teaches teacher trainings at the studio.
Today, a woman at the front of her class was pregnant. Based on her own recent experience of becoming a new mom, Jessica gave her sage advice on variations she should take.
"Get two blocks and a blanket," she instructed the class. We started in Virasana with a block under the sit bones. "Be sure to use two if you need them," Jessica advised. She then recited a brief quote from Deepak Chopra: "The universe isn't rewarding nor punishing you. It's reacting directly to and mirroring the energy you deposit.”
“Whether you already feel great or you need a place to pick up positive vibrations, you're in the right place," Jessica reassured us.
Before stretching into Downward Dog, we took some side bends and seated twists. Then from Down Dog, we lifted one leg. "Try pointing the foot for a change," Jessica guided us. From here, we positioned ourselves into a Crescent Lunge, then into a half Hanuman, but we kept our hearts open instead of folding forward. We went back and forth, repeating the poses several times, then walked our hands forward and glided into a Warrior 3. Next, we transitioned into Ardha Chandrasana. "Let your breath be your playlist," Jessica added, between poses, often reminding us to breathe deeply.
Jessica's elegant sequencing built on these poses, and more were added, including Pyramid Pose and Parsvottanasana to Prasarita Padottanasana (each sequence contained different variations—one included holding onto the ankles, another included twists with a half arm wrap). We also worked with Extended Side Angle, Warrior 2—later adding in Eagle arms—Warrior 1, and Reverse Triangle. During one of our vinyasas, we took a few Handstand hops.
We played more with some twists, including Revolved Triangle, Revolved Extended Side Angle, and a standing twisted leg extension. In our Downward Dogs, we shortened our stances and twisted, holding each of our ankles with our hands.
Taking our Planks all the way to the floor, we practiced Salabhasana, followed by Bow Pose. Then we transitioned onto our backs and came up into Wheel. After one Wheel, we relaxed into Happy Baby.
Winding the class down, Jessica then walked us through Double Pigeon, followed by Paschimottanasana.
Getting more restorative, we put a block underneath the sacrum and lifted the legs to a ninety degree angle in a variation of Legs-Up-the-Wall, but without the wall. After holding this for several minutes, we then stretched our legs out with the block still in position for a restorative backbend.
Class ended with a three-minute Savasana. As we bowed our heads, Jessica left us with a final thought—a personal reflection on her intention: "The reason I come to yoga is not just for me, but so I can be a better person for my son, my husband, my friends, and my family." And it shows.