If you need to lighten up on your lunch hour, Keela Williams’ class at New Love City is for you. I, personally, find it very helpful to be around such sincerely positive and cheerful people. And after an hour of fun, sweaty asana accompanied by upbeat music, it can’t help but rub off a bit and prep me for the rest of my afternoon.
I arrived at Keela’s class this beautiful Thursday afternoon with only a minute to spare. Keela greeted the small class and asked us to grab two blocks. She said that we would be beginning with some shoulder opening. She showed us how to get into a twisted child’s pose, placing a block under one shoulder so that the upper body could twist while the lower body was in a wide-knee child’s pose. Right away, I noticed some interesting sensations—most notably that this pose felt very, very different from one side to the next.
After we had taken both sides, we kept our legs in the same position and used both blocks under the forearms, bending the elbows to take prayer behind the head. This is a great forearm stretch and shoulder opener that I like to do fairly often at home, and it definitely felt easier than usual after beginning with the twisted variation. This is one of the things that I deeply love about yoga—how familiar poses can become new by combining them with any number of other poses. I love the creative and open nature of that concept, and I’ve noticed that many of the teachers at New Love City (including Keela) seem equally enamored with the idea.
After our shoulder opening, we began to warm up with cat and cow and some traditional sun salutations, accompanied by not so traditional upbeat indie music. Keela had mentioned something about building heat since the weather outside was finally fairly moderate, and we had done just that by the time we finished our last sun salutation.
We continued with a fun asana combination that played with balance and changing direction. Keela used a wide-legged forward bend through center as a transition to change the focus from the front of the room to the back, and used goddess pose to transition back. This kept the flow very languid and smooth, and felt great on the hips.
Toward the end of class, Keela said we were going to “play” with tripod headstand (her reason for this was, “Why not?” which is certainly as good a reason as any). She said that anyone who didn’t want to go upside down didn’t need to, and could work on any stage of the prep. In her demo, she very clearly showed how the crown of the head and hand placement should make a triangle. Though tripod has been a part of my practice since gym class circa third grade, I found this to be a very clear way of describing it (especially for visual folks like myself), and of preventing the inevitable hands-in-line-with-head kick up disaster.
We ended our asana with backbends of our choice. Supported bridge is always a favorite, but some opted for regular bridge and wheel. Before Savasana, Keela gave us a moment to take happy baby or any other final pose to help us prepare for rest. She played a sweet song as she came around and gave us adjustments in savasana.
After closing, I noticed that Keela’s infectiously positive energy seemed to have spread to the rest of the room. I know I left the studio feeling just a little bit sunnier than when I had arrived.
-Abby Payne for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $32 with mat and towel rental included. New students can purchase a drop-in class for $16 or two weeks of unlimited yoga for $50.
Thursday 12:30-1:30pm Open Level
New Love City 68 Greenpoint Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11222 (616) 915-4576