When you enter a room heated between 85 and 95 degrees, with walls dripping with sweat and passion, you may instantly feel the drive to start moving, sweating, and connecting to your breath. But if you’re anything like me, you find surrender in a pre-class Savasana.
As I continued to deepen my breath and allow the drops of sweat to surface, still in full resting pose, Ossi Raveh, owner of Brooklyn Yoga Project, in Carroll Gardens, walked into the room glistening with vitality and grace as she prepared to teach back-to-back classes.
“Let’s start sitting,” she said, as she made her way up to her mat, facing the class in Virasana. I sat silently in Sukhasana, propped on a block, mentally preparing myself for the next hour of power.
After sharing one Om together, we all moved into Child’s Pose for a moment of calm, before the sweat storm. “The seasons are changing,” she shared, “and so are we.” She asked us if this Child’s Pose felt a lot different from the last Child’s Pose we were in days, weeks, months ago, and could we just “accept where we are right now.”
Freedom to move around through arching and rounding the spine or circling the hips or even swaying in Table Top felt like having a choice to do what felt good in my body, rather than the usual Cat/Cow sequence many teachers open practice with. Ossi brought our awarenesses to our breaths and thought patterns. “When you start to move your body around, does the mind find stillness, or does it start to wonder off?”
We began to heat up our bodies by moving through a few rounds of Plank to Adho Mukha Svanasana, all while focusing on our breaths as an anchor to remain present in movement. “It’s so important to connect to breath,” she said, “because it helps us live more in the moment.”
Moving right into a few rounds of Surya Namaskar A, Ossi kept adding onto the sequence starting with a lunge, into Virabhadrasana 2, Reverse Warrior, and, finally, expanding our power of balance in Ardha Chandrasana—with nine-million lovely Chaturangas in-between. (Only a slight exaggeration.)
A few deep breaths, and we moved right into a long dose of Utkatasana, with a twist. One more vinyasa moving from Virabhadrasana 2 into Trikonasana and then it was time to step forward into awareness.
What Ossi called a “Walking Tadasana” included a standing sequence starting with Vrksasana. “Be like a tree: rooting down, as you stand tall with ease.” From there, we moved into Natarajasana, wrapping arms and legs in Garudasana, and ended with a steady gaze in Virabhadrasana 3. “Once we begin to look outside ourselves, we lose it.”
Our cool-down consisted of an extended amount of time on each side in Pigeon, where it took all my power of focus on breath to not break away from the discomfort. Ossi reminded us that what we really need to tap into begins to surface right at our breaking points.
We ended with a Supported Bridge and then a deep twist on both sides. And, finally, into Savasana. We reflected on the full circle between opening in Child’s Pose and ending in full resting pose and how everything between showed up exactly how it needed to.
After one closing Om and left with the perfect amount of silence to softly reflect inwards, I plugged into the most infinite power: internal wisdom and acceptance.