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September 2019
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Please Release Me with Kristen Davis
Yogasana Center
118 Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
718-789-7255

Thu, 9:30 AM To 11:45 AM
Advanced

Some of Yoga Sleuth’s favorite people in this world teach or have been trained at Brooklyn’s Yogasana Center and being of an inquisitive nature, I wanted to know why. I grabbed a friend and decided to take the subway out to Atlantic Avenue to investigate.

Yogasana owner Kristen Davis was at the front desk signing in several familiar students. She’s approachable and friendly with an easy smile. She quickly asked my friend and me if we had any injuries. I didn’t, but my friend has some persistent neck issues that make inversions particularly challenging.

Kristen quickly showed her props…like two cushioned headstanders (yes, Yogasana has contraptions that help you go upside down without putting any pressure on your neck!)

In class that morning, her main goal was to get us to release our groins. Not only release them, but distinguish how to balance the inner and outer groins and decide in our own bodies which groin needed more attention

Throughout the class Kristen asked us to deepen our outer groins (the outside of our hip creases) and then lift our inner groins (closer to the pubic bones.) This created a continual evaluation of our hip creases in every position. Kristen also wanted us to lengthen the backs of our skulls so that we could see the connection between a letting go at the neck and an emancipation of tightness in the hips.

After Sukhasana, we quickly moved to the rope wall for a Savasana variation with a raised skull, aided by a belt looped around the rope hooks. For 10 minutes we stayed in this pose waiting for the tightness that builds up between the skull and the neck to loosen. And in concert with that release a loosening in the groins. Through it all, Kristen patiently instructed us to focus on this connection.

After the long process of relaxation we took Down Dog, Standing Forward Bend and two Headstand prep variations using the ropes. Each time the head was supported so we could continue to disengage from any tightness in the neck and skull and understand the symbiotic relationship between the neck and hip creases.

About this time, I began to notice how easeful and precise Kristen’s demonstrations were so that even a student not very familiar with props would be able to follow her instructions.

Next up: Headstand, with one legged variations. (My friend happily kept pace upside down in her Cadillac of props.) Kristen walked around the room assisting the individual practices. Some of us were at the wall, some in the middle of the room. Then we took Shoulderstand with four arm variations including Niralamba Sarvangasana with arms raised towards the sky. In the second variation, Kristen asked me to hold on to her ankles and pull her. This enabled me to get my shoulders more firmly on my back.

Throughout several other poses, Kristen came back to her theme: release the back of the skull and balance the outer and inner groins. To accomplish this we partnered up for Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana (legs and arms over head on our backs) with weights on our legs and a strap around our groins. Our partner pulled the belt as our legs fell to the floor.

Finally it was time to rest in Setu Bandha Sarvangasana on a bolster before a final non-supported Savasana.

With groins and necks released, my friend and I realized we were ravenous. Smiling and extremely satisfied with practice we roamed nearby 4th Avenue to find a Latin place that made omelets stuffed with lots of green veggies. Fulfilling and good for you, just like Kristen’s excellent class.

Yogasana’s practice room has lots of natural light. There is a well-ordered prop wall with belts, wedges, bolsters, blankets, you name it on one side of the room.  A rope wall with more than enough stations for the 10 of us in class is across from the props. Yogasana has a first time drop-in rate of $10 and a regular drop-in of $20. Props are included with the cost of class and lots of discount programs are available.


-B. Erica Spraos for Yoga Sleuth


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