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Sofia Adler

Yoga Sleuth was excited to take class at the third and latest location of Yoga Vida at the first downtown A train stop in Brooklyn. And with the Manhattan Bridge stretching right outside the practice room window, we couldn't be more Dumbo! The space is vast, with two asana rooms, and a downstairs lounge with locker rooms complete with showers, lockers and sauna. Sofia Adler welcomed us in the spacious "Pearl" room (the other is "Dumbo"), and made sure we had at least one of the sturdy cork blocks at hand. "Imagine the breath is like a wave washing the week away," she sad. "The bad things, the frustrating things, even the good things. It's a fresh slate." We got right into cat and cow to warm the spine for the vigorous flow ahead. We set the right foot back for a supported side plank, switched sides, and then came down into a twisted puppy pose, threading one arm underneath our torsos. After our first down dog we toggled from a low lunge with bent knee to a straight knee in pyramid pose. After adding raised-arm twists to our low lunge we walked feet to hands and grabbed hold of elbows in a forward fold.

"Shift the weight slightly towards the balls of the feet so you're not hanging back,' said Sofia. "Option to sway, releasing any remaining tension of the day." We rose to tadasana, lifting the toes and spreading them wide. "Notice the entire length of the body is engaged and we can stand a little bit taller." We commenced sun salutations (A), working up a sweat as we did one pose per breath.The music aided us by shifting from New Age mellow to upbeat R&B. In the next round we added jump backs, then progressed to surya namaskar B, incorporating revolved side angle, followed by a quad stretch in low lunge where we bent the back knee and reached for the foot. Side planks came next, making good on the work we'd done earlier.

Coming back to a forward fold we grabbed our big toes. "This pose is more about the pelvis than extending the legs long," said Sofia."If you feel like you're rounding, bend the knees and lift the sit bones towards the ceiling," she said, helpfully.

After another flow we returned to a forward fold to slip our hands under our feet, giving the wrists a reward for all their earlier exertion in side planks and down dogs. Rising up, we added warrior two, rotating our feet to stare down the cubbies at the back of the room. After lizard, prasarita padottonasana, parsvottanasana and revolved triangle, we grabbed blocks to prop us in resting pigeon, followed by a bridge and optional wheel."As it's a Friday night, you might want to put a block under your sacrum for a restorative version," suggested Sofia. For those of us in wheel, she reminded us to keep the elbows parallel and pigeon toe the feet slightly. We then reclined in a supine position, lifting each leg straight to the ceiling and grasping behind the knee, pulling it to the midline. "Now completely release into a well-earned savasana," said Sofia. "Imagine the muscles completely dropping away as you release down into the floor," she continued, as we all took her cue.

After a few luxurious minutes we rose and touched our prayer to the heart."With gratitude, namaste," said Sofia as we bowed in wholehearted agreement.

—Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth Drop-in classes are $18 with a $2 mat rental. New students can try a two-week introductory special of $20 with towel and mat included. Friday 6:30-7:35pm Intermediate Yoga Vida 55 Prospect St, #104 Brooklyn, NY 11201 (646) 878-4711

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