Over the years, I have taken several classes with the wonderful Coco Karol. I was a regular at her Greenhouse and Usha Veda classes. So when I heard that she was teaching at one of my favorite new studios (relatively new—Lucent Yoga opened over a year ago now—how time flies!), I had to check it out.
Lucent is a simple and beautiful space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It is just one single large room off of the street, but owner Lauren Fecarotta has done a wonderful job of turning it into a tasteful and peaceful oasis. The walls and ceiling are bright and freshly white, with a hint of mint green. Details like the metal moose head hook in the bathroom and the vintage chest where cloths and spray bottles are kept show an attention to detail and a joyful whimsy.
There are many great teachers at Lucent, but I knew Coco would be a wonderful addition. Her class is so relaxing, yet so fun and energizing.
We began in a supported squat using a block. Coco said that she teaches a “compassionate practice,” meaning that you listen to your own body and make choices that feel right for you. In an open level class, I think it’s great to say that at the beginning of practice, as so many less experienced yogis tend to push themselves too far.
We got the energy flowing right away with breath of fire—a great way to start pranayama in a season with so much congestion. This was followed by core work. Not my favorite, but oh, so helpful in so many yoga poses and also in life. It is also a hallmark of the open and intermediate classes at Lucent. Lying on our backs and holding a block behind our heads, Coco led us through a short series of crunch-like ab exercises that warmed the core and got us ready to work.
The room was already very warm when I arrived, but we steamed up the large windows even more as we continued with several sun salutations, and a fun, flowing standing series. Aside from teaching yoga, Coco is also a dancer and choreographer, and she puts this skill to good use in designing her Asana flows. Drawing on a deep attention to breath, classic poses began to feel balletic as she led us through the simple, smooth transitions.
I also find that Coco’s class is especially great for unlocking tension in the body. On this Sunday night, we stood on our mats, reaching our arms out as we inhaled and forward as we exhaled on different sounds such as “ha” and “sh.” I find that this frees up the breath and the body quite a bit, and I have to confess that I’ve stolen a bit of this technique in teaching voice lessons.
After a well-rounded class that included core work, standing poses, backbends, and inversion options, we ended class in a seated meditation. This was probably good for me as the warmth and candlelight definitely increased a falling asleep in savasana risk. As we sat, Coco invited us to join her in a simple pranayama exercise. We also had the option of tuning her out and practicing our own meditation.
Coco closed the class with a wish that I think hits close to home for all of us right now: “May our practice guide us toward courageous action and a deeper sense of community.” A great and hopeful note to end a great class.
—Abby Payne for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-in classes are $20 with mat rental included. New students can purchase one week of unlimited yoga for $20.