After being on vacation, Sleuth was looking for a safe and simple way to get back into the practice. Modo Yoga, with its hot room and straightforward sequencing, seemed like a good call, so Sleuth headed over to the West Village for a Monday lunchtime class with studio co-owner Guillaume Brun.
Rather than waiting for the instructor to call out the first pose, at Modo the practice begins once you enter the hot room (and be on time because there’s a strict 'no late entry' policy that is enforced).
In silence, students laid in savasana, stretched with blocks, or sat meditating to prepare for the 60 minutes of asana that was soon to come. I noticed most people had towel mats, and everyone had bottles of water by their sides.
Guillaume entered the room reminding us that the hot room is silent, and to please refrain from speaking while we were there.
“Come to a wide knee child’s pose and let your breath fill the space,” he said.
The breath would become the essence of the class. Guillaume constantly encouraged us to deepen the inhales and lengthen the exhales, using this energy to not only feed our postures, but to stabilize our practice.
We moved through sun salutations, which included variations of chair pose, chair pose twist, triangle, and half moon, while Guillaume walked around the room, offering hands-on assists.
To accompany the stabilization induced by the breath, there was a series of grounding standing poses—tree, dancer’s pose, warrior two, padottanasana, and standing forward bend. We flowed between the postures using chaturanga, or the variation with knees on the floor.
Guillaume’s tone was also stabilizing. He spoke calmly, breaking each pose down into basic movements while explaining the subtle details we could focus on to go a little deeper. There was a simplicity to his teaching that made it easy to follow along without getting caught up in how a pose is supposed to look or feel. He encouraged an inner exploration to make the practice our own.
Modo has mirrored walls in their studios and Guillaume asked us to use these mirrors (if we could see ourselves in them) to check our alignment. In dancer’s he wanted our bent knee to stay under the hip as that leg lengthened behind our torsos. He emphasized the leg lengthening rather than the torso leaning forward and he said that we could check that in the mirrors as well.
The spinal series brought us to the floor for several rounds of salabhasana. Arm variations included fingers interlaced behind the back, hands on the floor for baby cobra, and grabbing the inner ankles for bow.
The room got steamy, and Guillaume suggested we take small sips of water in between poses. I noticed there were a few instances of yogis choosing to rest in child’s pose to break the heat.
Other floor postures included were pigeon, seated forward bend, reclining twist, and bridge.
For final rest, we were instructed to let it all go—our efforts in class along with any intentions we may have set for the class. It was from this letting go, that I was able to receive the benefits of this stabilizing practice.
—Elysha Lenkin for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $20, with mat and towel rental available for $2 each. Showers are available in the locker room. New student special: $40 for one month unlimited.
Modo Yoga 434 6th Ave., 2nd Fl. New York, NY 10022 212-780-9642