Carlos Rodriguez has recently launched a sleeker, and more tailored, version of Caponyasa, his own style that fuses capoeira with vinyasa— now with more repetition so students can catch on to the moves. He's also added more capoeira, but the blended style remains fast-paced, fun, and fiery.
Class took place in the yoga room on the second floor of the 23rd St. Crunch gym. The room is not heated, not that you need a heated room for this sweaty workout. Carlos had us start at the top of the mat in a forward fold. Slowly working our way back up to standing, we did a series of high lunges, straightening and re-bending the knee, then straightening the leg and pivoting the front foot to fold forward into a wide-legged straddle. Carlos then had us deeply bend one knee and then the other in a kind of moving Skandasana.
Following this warm-up, Carlos took us through a fast-paced series of signature moves and sequences. One included standing at the top of the mat, lifting the front leg, bending the knee, and then sending the leg back behind us into a lunge, then lifting the front leg and sending it to meet the back leg.
Turning to the side wall, we would also do a capoeira move called the ginga, which is the trademark rocking back-and-forth movement. Staying upright in a wide-legged straddle, we'd bend one knee then lift the opposite arm and stretch it across the face, almost like an Extended Side Angle, and then switch sides. Carlos would increase the pace each time, calling out with a count of ten.
Warrior 3 would evolve into a wide-legged high lunge, with the same arm as the front leg, lifted and a little bent, and then we would do another ginga, alternating whichever leg was in front to a count of ten. In another move, in the mat-width lunge, Carlos instructed us to keep the back knee bent and low to the floor and to bring one arm to the floor in what was to be a big backbend and shoulder opener. Once up and standing again, we practiced what in capoeira is known as armada kicks, which are reverse roundhouse kicks.
A strong core is required for a Caponyasa class. In a wide-legged straddle, we would bend backwards, letting one arm catch us in a flip Dog, and come back up to center. In another move, we would rock back into Plow and come straight back up, landing in a squat. On the floor, we would scissor the legs rapidly for a count of twenty and then, with straight legs, do a rapid abdominal twist, trying to touch elbow to knee each time.
Coming back to more classical yoga moves, Carlos added in a Crow Pose and a Headstand near the end, helpfully coaching and instructing those new to the inversion.
Towards the end of class, we adding in jumps when transitioning from squat to armada kicks, and repeating sequences learned earlier in the class at a more rapid pace, almost as if it were choreography we had all learned for a yoga-like dance.
Exhausted and more than ready for a cool-down, we did a forward fold to the side of each leg before melting onto the floor for a Happy Baby and a very satisfying Savasana. Class ended with three loud Oms and, aptly, applause.
—Marie Carter for Yoga Sleuth
Yoga classes at Crunch are membership only.
Guest passes available upon request.
Wednesday 7pm-8pm Advanced
Crunch 215 W 23rd Street New York, NY 10011 (212) 370-0977