According to the website, Woom Center, located on the Bowery, offers a multi-sensory yoga, meditation and movement experience. Sleuth, always enthusiastic to check out a new experience, hopped on the B train to attend class with Jordan Ashley. After walking up to the 2nd floor, I was greeted by the sunny space that serves as both cafe and lounge area. David, one of the studio owners was busy baking banana bread when I arrived and the scent was already teasing my senses. When he saw me standing near the doorway, he quickly walked over with a friendly smile. As I sat on my mat, waiting for my experience to begin, a dog named Shapiro approached me with a ball in his mouth—it seemed he was asking for a game of fetch. At that moment, with Radiohead playing through the speakers built into the floor, I realized my experience had already begun. Jordan came in requesting that everyone have a bolster (they’re white which matches the simplicity of the room’s design), two blocks and a blanket. She also said to make sure our blindfolds were nearby. We began seated high on two blocks with Jordan at the front of the room. She was joined by Elian, the other studio owner, who was seated next to her. To begin, Jordan demonstrated how to clasp our thumbs into Garuda mudra and place them over our hearts. She then welcomed us, and explained this experience would engage all five senses. To tune into our breath, we shape-shifted our Garuda mudra to prayer at the heart and set our intentions. Then the blindfolds went on. It was Elian who began to speak as she guided us on a visceral journey where we used our own vocal chords and vibrations to create sound. Eventually an electronic beat accompanied our sounds which enhanced the experience that had evolved into a call and response chant made up mostly of syllables, but led into the words "I am here." When it was time to take off the blindfolds, we slowly opened our eyes to a digital display of orb-like imagery along the walls which changed in color and shape for the rest of class. Jordan resumed with more breathwork, specifically kapalabhati. “Make it equal parts inhale and exhale,” she instructed. We then went into cat and cow, and proceeded to move into our first vinyasa which included down dog split, plank, extended side angle, and pyramid. After several rounds where poses were layered into the sequence, the energy of the room heightened, bringing us to a vigorous flow. The Talking Heads sang "Burning Down the House" as my heart rate increased and the sweat started to drip. Chair, warrior one, humble warrior, reverse warrior, plank and side plank were all part of the series which moved rapidly, yet still allowed me to keep my breath steady. Jordan walked around the room offering hands-on assists to everyone (ah, touch!). When it was time to wind down we took pigeon, then ankle to knee. Jordan suggested using props to support the deep hip openers. For backbends, she led us in bridge, and then offered wheel which was broken down into stages. Next it was time for a restorative finish which is how every Woom experience ends. From the front, Jordan demonstrated how to place two blocks in front of the bolster to support our feet, while the nape of the neck rested on the blanket which was folded to create a cradle for the head. In savasana, a distinct, bell-like chime moved around the room musically, as if it were dancing. When it got close to my ears, I felt a spritz of something wet, and then smelled lavender-like. Being blindfolded, I wasn’t totally sure what just happened, but it felt nice. Jordan guided us back to sit where she asked us to return to our intention from the beginning of class. Then we "Om"d three times together. After returning my props, I exited the yoga room to find a delightful treat waiting for me in the kitchen. A mulberry elixir to stimulate my taste buds! As I put on my shoes, I noticed that by engaging all five senses in this experience, I was left feeling open and invigorated from the inside out. —Elysha Lenkin for Yoga Sleuth Drop-in classes are $25. Mats and blindfolds are complimentary. New students can try two weeks for $54, or one month for $99.
Open Woom Center 274 Bowery 2nd Fl New York, NY (646) 678-5092