The description on Exhales’ site for Core Fusion Yoga, “a fast-paced yoga flow with an extra “oomph” for your thighs, glutes and abs,” sounded like just the thing Sleuth needed — a yoga class with fire. When I entered the Flatiron studio, I was happy to note that the AC was on. It felt refreshing after being in the heat outdoors, and a good indication that the fire I was looking for wouldn’t come from an overheated room. “Good morning, friends!” an energized Nicole Uribarri exclaimed as she entered. “Grab two blocks, and lets get started standing this morning!” Beyoncé pumped through the speakers signaling it was time to begin. Nicole had us stand at the top of our mats, fill our bodies with the inhale, and then release deeply on the exhale. It was a centering activity that served as a nice prep for the physical practice that was about to happen. Starting with sun salutation variations, Nicole had us hang out in plank before lowering onto the forearms for a hold of about 45 seconds. Push-ups on our knees followed, and immediately my arm muscles kicked in. Nicole offered options for those who preferred to hold their plank rather than take the push up which I chose after three rounds. The sequence progressed with variations added on to each side. From plank we went to side plank (option to lift the top leg), to low lunge and standing runners stretch. We moved vigorously and fluidly the entire time as Nicole told us to breathe when the physicality of the class got intense. In down dog split, a series of leg lifts were incorporated. And in chair, we pulsed up and down, on our toes. “It wouldn’t be Core Fusion Yoga without the pulsing,” said Nicole who walked around the room giving individualized instruction to everyone. When she approached me, in the leg lift, she gently touched my rib cage, reminding me to knit it back in towards the body. Another assist came when I was in reverse warrior. As she explained to the class that there should be a lengthening that occurs in the side body while the front foot grounds down, she pressed her hands on my thigh, encouraging it towards the floor which did help my side body open. After doing some warriors which brought us facing the back of the room, Nicole commented how she’s always moving around the mat, facing all directions. In flowing from reverse warrior from the back to the front, she told us to make it like a dance. “There’s no right way to get there. There’s only your way,” she said. Half moon, crow and squat were other poses added into the sequence. When it seemed like we were due for rest, after coming out of salabhasana, Nicole gave us a brief child’s pose, and then announced we would do more core - navasana and then the classic curl series of Core Fusion. Bridge came as a welcome relief which led into a nice series of stretches. From pigeon we went to reclining twist, and then happy baby. In savasana, Nicole came around with lavender and her relaxing touch. To close class, we bowed our heads, thanking the love, light and teachers in all of us. When I got up to leave, my legs were a little shaky, but I knew I had worked my way out of the summer slump. —Elysha Lenkin for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $26; towels and mats provided.
Open Exhale 19 W 21st St.
New York, NY 10010 (212) 279-4009