On a cold, but sunny Sunday afternoon, I had the good fortune of attending Nicole Lynne Hooley’s Healing Flow and Restore class at Greenhouse Holistic. I was once in the habit of going to this blissful class every week, but with my sporadic schedule I had not been able to attend for several months. This was the first time I had taken her class in Greenhouse’s beautiful new space on North 8th Street in Williamsburg. With a tastefully decorated cafe in the front (featuring several delicious-looking pastries on display), this very large, open, and well-lit space is a perfect place to heal and restore.
I was shockingly early for class, and about ten minutes before class started, Nicole entered the room and told us we were welcome to begin the first pose as other students continued to filter into the room. This was supta baddha konasana, using two blocks to prop up a bolster behind the back, and a rolled up blanket around the ankles and underneath the knees. Upon later reading of the class description on the Greenhouse schedule, I learned that this is always the first pose of the class. Students are also invited to arrive early to class and set themselves up in this pose. Having experienced this myself, I definitely recommend taking advantage of this!
Holding supta baddha konasana was a lovely way to peacefully settle into this restorative class. After we had held the pose for several breaths, Nicole instructed us to carefully make our way into a seat on the bolster. The class description also says that “students can expect a new theme for healing and personal development every week.” As we sat on our bolsters, Nicole explained that the theme for this week is “manifesting creativity.” She said that this doesn’t necessarily mean creating in an artistic sense; it could be making anything, including positive changes in one’s life. She reminded us that the hardest part of “creating” can be just to start, and that this week we should just go for it.
This resonated with me as I have recently dived head first into some projects without really knowing what I’m doing or how I’m possibly going to finish them. But I do know that simply being in the throes of these projects is a lot more fun and feels more right than waiting around for conditions and concepts to be perfect.
When Nicole had finished her talk, we began our asana with cat, cow, and downward dog. The short flow was simple and sweet, and it felt good to stretch and to release some energy before resting in restorative poses. As we breathed in standing forward bends or warriors, Nicole often instructed us to exhale on a sound like “hum” or “shhh.” This was a nice, calming release.
The final half of class was devoted to restorative poses, beginning with child’s pose. Nicole had us place the bolster underneath our bellies and rest our cheeks to one side. We continued with more restorative poses that we held for several breaths, always using the bolster and sometimes blankets or a block to rest the head on. Nicole is masterful at leading through transitions, and this class flowed like a peacefully choreographed dance. She has a keen sense of what feels good in the body, and a great way of maintaining a calm, healing energy in the room.
After we had taken a long savasana (using the bolster, of course), Nicole asked us to close with one “Om” that would resonate out of the room and into the street, sending a healing energy out into the world.
Stepping out into the brisk but still sunny early evening, I thought about the creativity I would like to manifest this week. Starting with what I would cook for dinner.
—Abby Payne for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $18 and mats can be rented for $1. New students can try 30 days of unlimited yoga for $30.