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Ximena Milagros Savitch

Loom Yoga Center is tucked away in the most Bushwick building I can imagine on an industrial corner off the Morgan L stop, so finding it at first was a tad tricky. Walking through the hallways of the building complex I pass the Bushwick Food Coop, a pet supplies store, a yarn collective, and a coffee shop that feels like people should be using typewriters. But all of this added to the charm of Loom, a beautiful studio with space for a growing holistic community. Ximena (pronounced he-me-na) is our guide for this evening’s intermediate/advanced vinyasa class. Born in Peru and raised in the U.S., Ximena is confident, bubbly, and open. She greets everyone like a lifelong friend, and when she realizes she hasn’t met me before, she enthusiastically promises to remember my name. The long studio room is bright and airy with high ceilings — the kind of space you can find in Brooklyn. Each student has plenty of room for props, blankets, and mats (all included). At the front of the room, Ximena sits with a harmonium and asks how we’d feel about chanting. With a sweet giggle and smile, she says, “You definitely don’t have to chant! You will feel the vibrational benefits just from listening. And the harmonium makes it that extra good.” I was so excited. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen anyone chant more than “Om” in a yoga class. Ximena provides a non-judgmental chanting experience, leading the songs while playing harmonium. After the “Jai”s and “Bhavantu”s, we let the sounds fade away and sit with the tingling vibrations for a moment. And with the course of long breaths, Ximena begins to lead us in sun salutations. During one moment in child’s pose, Ximena warns how she’s a very hands-on teacher, and offers the option to simply raise a hand anonymously if we don’t want to be touched, also acknowledging that could change this decision throughout the class. Gradually the heat and speed build. Playing with plank and split variations, lunges and warriors, the next hour flew by! Ximena packed in a powerful vinyasa, with just enough repetition to keep us grounded. I noticed how comfortable everyone seemed exhaling big and loud after our opening chant; you could feel the energy of the room undulating between deep, heavy grounded sighs and high, breezy quick vinyasas. Ximena catapulted this energy further at the end of class by having us play around with handstand preparation. Just like with the harmonium chants, she made it clear this was not mandatory. “You can keep both feet on the ground and still be practicing for handstand someday.” Coming back onto the earth, we moved to a cool-down with a few restorative poses. And after a juicy savasana, we meet in seated posture to finish with some more chanting. The combination of everything — Ximena’s intuitive and trusting style, the rigorous physical vinyasa, and the expansive chanting — created a nice sense of bonding, and as we all packed up to leave, it was clear that most of the students were long time regulars and genuine real life friends (perhaps who met in class). Clearly, Loom Yoga Center is very good at keeping in tune with the local community vibe while giving off a good one of its own. —Madeleine Kelsey for Yoga Sleuth Sunday 4:30-5:45pm Intermediate Drop-in classes are $17, with mat included. Loom Yoga Center 1087 Flushing Ave., #117 New York, NY 11237

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