The afternoon snowfall was extra pretty to watch from Yoga Agora’s second floor studio in Astoria. Their floor to ceiling windows overlooking Broadway and bonus skylight render the room super bright.
This Friday donation class was packed with locals. Our teacher Randi Cerini, with a radiant smile, asked us to grab two blocks before class started. Yoga Vida-trained Randi started us in a seated meditation with a block under our hips. She guided us to focus on our breath, taking a deep inhale then releasing a long exhale.
For our first movements, we began with a few rounds of cat and cow, only Randi added a spicy little variation to this sequence, having us flip our palms the opposite way for different stretch. This was followed by a series of fast-paced sun salutations. Though the room had started off cold, within several minutes of these sun salutations, the windows started steaming up, as did we.
Our series of standing poses included high lunge to warrior 2, peaceful warrior to triangle. There were two rounds of the same poses on each side and in between each vinyasa, we would hop to the top of the mat for a squat. From the squat, we would head into crow pose. Randi walked about the room offering coaching to those struggling with the pose. “Don't look down; think of moving forward!” she offered.
The class had a hip-opening theme so after going through a vinyasa, Randi had us raise a leg and bring the foot to the outside of our right hand. Here, we were to hold a lizard. This was also where the use of our blocks would become apparent. With the back leg raised, we could bring our hands or forearms to the blocks. If this was too much for anyone, we could bring our back knee to the floor. Between each lizard, we got to practice vashistasana.
Continuing the theme of hip openers, from downward dog we raised a leg and bent the knee opening up the hip, then brought the raised leg into a parallel position between our arms for a pigeon prep. Randy offered adjustments and release to several students while we surrendered into the pose.
After taking a pigeon prep on each side, we hopped our legs through to sit then lay on our backs for a happy baby. The happy baby evolved into a straddle. To wind down, Randi guided us through a twist on each side before the sweet release of savasana. It was still snowy and cold outside, but we were warm on the inside.
—Marie Carter for Yoga Sleuth
Drop-ins for this class are by donation, and $8 for non-donation class. There is a $1 mat rental charge for donation classes.