Summer had arrived just in time for the long Memorial Day weekend, but as Yoga Sleuth likes to say, there's no holiday from yoga. So I hipstered over to the intersection of Morgan and Thames in Bushwick for the Friday Night All Flow with Cayla Buettner at Jai Yoga Arts. Cayla welcomed us by reading a passage from Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now, about the importance of living in the Guess What. "I'd at first resisted reading this because it was my mom recommended it!" she quipped. Cayla's class, while providing a strong workout, concentrates on much more than the third limb. The asana practice was preceded with three "Om"s, and followed by nadi shodona (alternate nostril breathing) and seated meditation. But in between we flowed, and the newly arrived summer heat was a welcome complement. We woke up the spine in cat and cows and then reared back into downward dog. My first dog of the day is always a bit off, and Cayla put me to rights with a gentle adjustment, easing my hips to where they needed to be.
We proceeded to jump backs into chaturanga, then warrior twos and triangles, first facing the front of the room and then the back. We grabbed for our toes and folded over for a deep stretch, then slid our hands under the heels to take it a step further. Cayla has what I like to call "Yoga Voice", i.e. she gets you working but keeps her tones encouraging and soothing so you're so relaxed you don't notice the effort! This gave us everything we needed to build up to the peak pose of crow, which I held for longer than I have in some time. As I rested in child's pose, Cayla gave me an excellent adjustment, placing her hands on either side of my sacrum to firmly ease my upper body to rest flat over my heels.Then in prasarita padottonasana C, she brought me a strap to clasp as I brought my hands behind my back to reach towards the sky. Coming down to the mat, Cayla suggested we place a block to squeeze between the thighs as we rose into bridge. Then we were invited to up the intensity in wheel, or pull back by placing the block beneath the sacrum for the restorative version of bridge. Our inversion was a shoulderstand. Then, after folding over into paschimottanasa and baddha konasana, we took a long savasana where I came within seconds of actually falling asleep before Cayla gently coaxed us back into a comfy seat for one more round of "Om"s. After class we had complimentary tea. Cayla reminded us, as we thanked her, to thank ourselves too, for making the choice to start our long weekends right simply by walking through the door of Jai Yoga Arts and putting our mats down.
—Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth Drop-in classes are $18 with a $1 mat rental. New students can buy four classes for $40. Friday 6:30-7:45pm Intermediate Jai Yoga Arts 47 Thames St., #102 Brooklyn, NY 11237 (347) 460-7510