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September 2020
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Dwelling in the Present with Rebecca Ketchum
Loom Yoga Center
1087 Flushing Ave, Shop #117
Brooklyn, NY 11237

Sun, 4:30 PM To 5:45 PM

Yoga Sleuth made her way to the wilds of Bushwick one sunny Sunday afternoon to find that Bushwick is not so wild at all. My target was Rebecca Ketchum’s intermediate level class at Loom Yoga Center, but I passed more than one yoga studio on my walk from the subway, not to mention very cool looking coffee shops, restaurants and vintage clothing stores. I had first noticed Loom one winter afternoon when I was rehearsing with a very cool musician in his very cool loft space in the same building. It only took me a year and a half to finally make a class at this lovely studio!  

Loom Yoga is located in a hip little mall with indoor entrances to not only the studio, but to shops selling skateboards, yarn, vintage clothing and coffee. I’d felt like I’d entered some wonderful alternate universe, and that if I lived upstairs in that building, I might never leave. The whole place smelled like cookies.

A friendly receptionist checked me in and immediately complimented the little bouquet of flowers I was carrying (they had been given to me earlier, and I was obliged to carry them around like an AWOL bridesmaid all day). I immediately took to the friendly, non-exclusive vibe of the place, and I looked forward to my practice.

This was my first time meeting Rebecca, and I liked her at once. She helped me find a safe place for my flowers, and asked us all to get a blanket and two blocks. The large, airy room filled up fairly quickly and soon we were all finding a comfortable cross-legged seat on our blankets.  

We began by closing our eyes and simply noticing, then deepening, our inhales and exhales. She then asked us to place our hands on our knees, leaning forward and back while bending and straightening the elbows. Rebecca said that if you tend to lean forward in poses, you may be dwelling too much in the future, and that if you lean back, you may be thinking too much about the past. She said that it is most common for students to reach forward.

By finding our center in the simple seated pose, she asked us to “be here.” This is something I often have a problem with, so the reminder was helpful. I also liked the physical comparison to something internal and mental. Sometimes these things can seem mysterious and difficult to control, but when we can physically see them happening it becomes a little more accessible.  

We continued with a simple and sweet warm-up flow: Child’s Pose into Plank followed by Cat and Cow. This was repeated several times with slight variations, linking the breath and finding an easy rhythm and flow.  

As we transitioned to standing poses, the structure was similar: a basic, solid flow of traditional poses repeated with variations. The first flow started with Urdhva Hastasana, diving forward and then coming up into a flat back before hooking our thumbs to rise into Utkatasana. From there, we came back to Urdhva Hastasana. This flow warmed up the spine and got the breath moving.  None of the poses were held for long, so it began to feel a bit like a dance.  

Class continued with lunges and twists and some balancing poses. We went from Parsvottanasana into a supported Warrior Three. From there, we came to stand on one leg with the lifted knee bent and took a twist here. She gave the option of keeping the knee bent or straightening the leg.

Keeping contact with the foot for as long as possible, we then lowered the leg only to come up into Utkatasana. I found this to be very grounding. This flow was repeated with more variations and added poses like Warrior One and Two, and Trikonasana. For the more challenging poses, Rebecca always offered easier variations so that students could listen to their own bodies. She lead through vinyasas in between flows, but always offered Child’s Pose or the option to stay in Down Dog.  

Rebecca has a very easy, friendly energy that makes her class fun and relaxing. As I mentioned, I had never taken her class before, but I felt very comfortable. Her manner is genuine and sweet, and her calm, knowledgeable instruction made me feel as if I were in good hands.

After some attempted arm balances, we began to cool down with some seated forward bends and other soothing poses. We took a supported Shoulder Stand variation, resting the sacrum on a block and lifting the legs in the air. This felt great on my tired feet.

After a Supine Twist, we took a long and restful Savasana. Afterwards, as we came back into a comfortable seat with our hands in prayer, Rebecca reminded us to notice when we are leaning forward or back in our lives, and to take moments like this to simply be in the center of the present moment.  

A Single Class is $15.  New students can pay $40 for 4 weeks of unlimited classes.

-Abby Payne for Yoga Sleuth

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