With a mission to sweat out a week’s worth of pent-up stress, Sleuth did what she does best: investigated a studio that offers yoga + power + heat. Thankfully, I discovered Prana Power Yoga, the mindfulness “life force” of a lively Smith Avenue, which extends along the charming Brooklyn neighborhood known as Cobble Hill. On a chilly Saturday morning, I dropped into a heated, music-inspired yoga class with Tyler Hazui to stimulate my own flow of prana. A sign outside this ground-level studio had an image of a yogi in dancer’s pose, grabbing the attention of locals walking by. The glass doors were draped with layers of steam—a clear symbol of foreshadow into the next 75 minutes of my life. Tyler, who was doing double duty as receptionist and teacher, greeted me with a kind, dimpled smile. He showed me where to leave my belongings and then pointed to the double doors of the heated studio room. I was the first person to enter the spacious, sunlit room and chose a spot against one of the four bare walls. The décor was minimal, with two curtain-less windows in front and a small Buddha statue on one of the ledges. Besides that, the teacher’s mat remained the primary point of my drishti. A few people trickled in, but the room remained only about half-full, leaving plenty of space between each mat to spread out. Tyler made his way towards the window wall and asked us to find a comfortable seat on our mats or on a block. “It’s nice to see many familiar faces,” he said, “and a few new ones.” We found a few minutes of silent meditation together before sharing a communal “Om,” with hands at heart center. As I lowered my palms onto my thighs, Tyler guided us into a few rounds of kapalabhati breathing. He clapped his hands quickly in rhythm with the pace of our breathing. “Stay in tempo to the sound of my claps,” he said, as he began to count back from ten. At the bottom of the final exhale, we took a big sip of air in, and a deep exhale out. Fifteen minutes into class, and the stress I was carrying began to diminish. We began with a warm up of cat and cow and planks before coming into our first standing sequence of virabhadrasana two to trikonasana and utthita parsvakonasana, with the option to bind. The heat was building as fast as my sweat was dripping. We came back into plank for some core work lifting each leg and drawing knee to elbows. “Keep engaging the navel,” Tyler reminded us, “and don’t forget to breathe!” The music amplified with sensual melodies that were heavy on the base and rhythmic on the movement. We slowly lowered the pelvis down to the mat through utkatasana and found navasana for a few challenging breaths. Next, we came into marichyasana one on both sides adding in a parsva bakasana option that directed me straight into lift-off, away from the glistening hardwood floors. A few last rounds of surya namaskar sent the music directly into my flow of prana, clearing out any last drops of stress. We practiced a few backbends including setu bandha sarvangasana and urdhva dhanurasana, ending with salamba sarvangasana into matsyasana. As Tyler calmly guided us into savasana, my heart expanded, my breath lengthened and my mind quieted. “Come back to the feeling of breath in the body,” Tyler said, “the soundtrack of your life force.” —Ashley Rose Howard for Yoga Sleuth Drop-in classes are $22, with $2 mat and towel rental available. New student special: 3 classes for $30.
Saturday 10:00-11:15am Open Prana Power Yoga 229 Smith St. Brooklyn, NY 11231