Each Wednesday, there is a hip hop theme at the studio so for this particular morning, we would be treated to tunes by J Kohl and JT (Justin Timberlake).
As we stood at the top of our mats, Kristin asked how everyone was feeling. The room fell silent so she added that we had entered a safe space where we could let our feelings move through our bodies to heal.
She then guided our attention to our feet grounding down into the earth, and asked us to begin our ujjayi breath. While standing, hands in prayer, Kristin spoke about the foundation, which begins with our feet. She went on to explain that when we pull from this energy we are able to stand in our own power, and be who we are, unapologetically.
Then the warm-up began. We did a simple vinyasa that brought us from a forward bend to a one-arm lift, and then back to stand with our arms cartwheeling open into a slight backbend.
The structure of a Y7 class is to move through three flows. First, you move slow with the instructor breaking down each pose. Then you go through the sequence with one breath per movement. Finally, the music pumps up, and you go through the flow at your own pace.
The room is candlelit, and the temperature is between 80 and 90 degrees. You will sweat.
Kristin kept a nice tempo in her instruction. She spoke with encouraging words, often reminding us to use our breath to help fuel our movements while exhaling out any stale energy, or negative thoughts. She spoke in a clear voice while giving thorough descriptions of each pose along with helpful tips to find even better alignment within that pose.
Throughout the class, Kristin moved around the room with hands-on assists. In half moon, she gently nudged my hip open so I could spiral my chest further towards the ceiling.
Kristin’s sequencing primarily involved standing postures including warrior 3, chair, fallen triangle, extended side angle and standing split amongst those we practiced, reinforcing the theme of our class: our foundation. She also offered a kick-up to handstand for those looking to invert and flip our grounding upside down.
And while her sequencing felt intuitive, it was still challenging. In between flows, Kristin had us lift the leg into down dog split then bring the knee towards each elbow. We could keep a slow pace for this vinyasa, or take it to a runner’s speed which added a cardio element to her class.
After the last flow, we took a nice long child’s pose, where I felt my heart rate racing from the vigorous pace. Before rest, she introduced a navasana series which had us lower into ardha navasana and then back up to regular navasana several times.
We cooled down with a round of reclining twist, happy baby and a supine ankle to knee. When it was time for savasana, Kristin shifted the music to a softer selection.
Before bringing us back to sit, Kristin had us take a couple breaths on our sides and recall the foundation she had spoken about at the beginning of class. She reminded us that, in life, we can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can choose our reaction, and when we come from a strong foundation, we are better equipped to respond well.
When it was time to roll up my mat, I felt better than when I had arrived. The sweat was detoxifying for both mind and body, and Kristin’s words of inspiration were encouraging for me to move on with my day.
—Elysha Lenkin for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $25. New students can try two weeks unlimited for $45 or one month unlimited for $99.