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February 2020
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One Breath, One Movement with Bee Bosnak
House Of Jai
1456 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Sun, 9:15 AM To 10:30 AM

In a Christmas-worthy miracle, Yoga Sleuth was able to get to House of Jai in the nick of time despite the nightmarish subway service of a typical Saturday morning. And thus he was rewarded with a week-cleansing class with the inspiring Bee Bosnak. Born with severe asthma, Bee now guides others to breathe and be content in their own bodies.

“Set an intention,” said Bee, “and with an exhale send that intention out into the universe.” Mine was for healing and compassion after a brutal week. “Feel the weight of your head and your shoulders,” said Bee. “What is it you are carrying?”

We came onto all fours to awaken the spine Cat/Cow style. Bee asked us to listen to our body. “What does it need? Your body has been in stillness for 7, 8 hours. So take this moment to be gentle and kind with it. Vinyasa is simply one breath, one movement…so with every movement, you synchronize the breath.”

We came into a neutral spine. Bee asked us to pull our navel to our spine and imagine there was a plate on our back, and we’re lifting that plate up. Seeing my “plate” was a paper one this morning, she came by to assist me.

“Keep your face nice and soft,” said Bee as we came into an early but active Child’s pose. We came up into our Cows, and then exhaled back into our Child’s poses several times in a gentle modified flow.

“Feel the support of the earth beneath you,” said Bee as we grounded in Down Dog. “The universe has your back. Everything that is happening in your life is for a reason. Whatever may be dark right now will, one day, become light. Trust the process.”

In Mountain pose we opened our palms to receive. “Open up through the crown of your head,” said Bee. “Imagine someone is pulling you up through a string. Reactivate your Uddiyana bandha. So nice,” she concluded, as she would throughout class. We commenced Sun Salutations, beginning with Cobra and knees, chest and chin; Bee invited us to progress to Up Dog and Chaturanga if we were comfortable doing so.

Coming to all fours again, we did a little thread-the-needle with an encouraged optional bind, opening the shoulder.

“When we step away from our comfort zone,” said Bee, “that is when we see change.”

After charging through Utkatasana, we came into Extended Side Angle with a block and another bind if our bodies called for it. Bee reminded us that being an advanced practitioner does not mean pretty postures or standing on one hand. “It means listening to your body,” she explained.

After working through our standing poses, we grabbed our toes with our peace fingers and exhaled deeply into a forward fold. We matched this later in Prasarita Padottanasana, first grabbing our ankles and then later clasping hands behind our backs.

Pigeon opened our hips and wheel opened our hearts, and then we melted into Savasana to the wistful sounds of Bon Iver’s “Wash.”

“Feel your heart,” said Bee. “Allow yourself to become more tender, more approachable, so that you can go forward, with compassion and with kindness.”

Speaking after class, Bee told me what she loves about HOJ. “House of Jai is very homey and approachable to beginners,” she explained. “The teachers are aware that it can be very intimidating, so I think that’s the main goal, to make yoga accessible to everyone. And not just with the asana, which is just a small percent of the whole thing!”

“In our modern society we are taught that if we can stand on our heads, we can’t do yoga," she continued. "We really have to remember to dig deeper, to take it off the mat and into our lives.”

Drop-in classes at House of Jai are $25. An in-house Manduka mat rental and towel are included free of charge for every House of Jai Yoga class.

-Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth

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