On the Sunday before the Solstice, Yoga Sleuth was in the mood for a Sunny Honey Flow. Kevin Bigger's class at Kula Yoga Williamsburg provided that and more, getting us ready for the longest night and the promise of light to follow.
Kevin, an alum of the Radiant Yoga School in Boston, asked us to grab two blocks, two blankets, a bolster and an optional sandbag for grounding. We created a “baby belly roll” with one blanket, placed it under our stomachs and lied down for an abdominal massage that also opened the low back.
Coming to stand, we placed the balls of our feet on the roll and forward folded to give the calves a stretch. Then we placed the heels on the roll and came down into malasana. “Breathe into your whole back,” said Kevin, who next had us persevere through a tucked-toed arch stretch as we "Om"ed three times.
We proceeded to the energetic part of class, choreographed by Kevin’s matter-of-fact, breath-by-breath cueing. Rising up we went from warrior two, to triangle, to standing straddle, which included a spell in scandasana. We turned to face the back of the room to flow into plank and cobra. A few breaths later we were taking a modified side plank, one shin on the ground for support. We progressed to sun salutations, with three minutes at the end all to ourselves to complete as many rounds as we liked before we all met back in down dog. “Resting is always an option!” reminded Kevin as he worked the room to assist where needed.
We grabbed our bolsters and placed it at the back edge of our mats so our heels could rest on it as we stretched into chair pose. We kept the back heel on the bolster as we found warrior one, and even as we crossed limbs for garudasana. “Bend your left knee more,” said Kevin a full four times as we balanced, making us all realize we could probably bend our knees more. “Stretch your side bodies really long, round your elbow tips to your right knee and feel your whole back really open,” Kevin cued. We returned to warrior one before twisting into a revolved triangle.
Coming to the mat with arms forward and back knee down, we threaded the right shoulder underneath the right knee, with an option to lift the back knee (“if it’s interesting to you!” said Kevin.)
After crow prep with palms on blocks and optional headstand, it was time for the "aah" portion of class. Making another blanket roll we placed blocks underneath, then wrapped our arms around the whole thing and settled in for a long winter’s child’s pose.
Repurposing the roll, we placed it lengthwise under our spines, with the bolster under our heads and knees wide in diamond pose. Kevin invited us to stay there for savasana if we desired; he then treated us to his singing and harmonium playing, which accompanied us as we sounded one more "Om" to send us out with tranquility into the crisp and Christmas-y evening.
—Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes at Kula are $20 with $2 mat and $2 towel rental. New students can sign up for 3 classes for $30.