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February 2020
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Hour of Power with Rebecca Weible
Yo Yoga
344 E 59th St, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10017

Thu, 6:45 PM To 7:45 PM

A rain-soaked evening in NYC doesn't mean it's too late and cloudy for Sun Salutations, if you know where to go. Luckily, Yoga Sleuth knows that on Thursday nights that means the 8pm Power class at Yo Yoga with its owner, cheerful and attentive Rebecca Weible.

As I walked upstairs past the wine bar I could hear that the studio was full of students swapping yoga stories. As we set up in the indoor studio (there's also a roof deck for when it's groovy outside!) I told Rebecca, a Myrtle Beach native, about my nagging piriformis. She told me she had just the stretch for it, and promised to add it to tonight's setlist.

"Let your breath be smooth and even," said Rebecca as we segued into yoga mode. "Inhaling to open the chest, exhaling to relax the shoulders. Letting the body get centered as you draw the attention inward. Checking in, knowing where your body is today and adjusting your practice accordingly."

Next we did some head rolls, my favorite kind (after spinach rolls). We also took a juicy seated side stretch, keeping both shoulders relaxing away from the ears at Rebecca's urging. After some seated twists and Cat/Cows, it was time to bring the power.

Coming into Table Top, we were to raise one arm and the opposite leg. "I want you to do both at the same time," Rebecca explained. "So you immediately find that balance. Draw the navel up, and relax and square the shoulders."  Adding on, we then lifted the arm and leg higher, bending the knee and circling back with the opposite arm to grasp the outer foot.

After a stay in Down Dog we came to Plank and lowered down all the way to the mat. "Interlace your fingers behind your back, tops of your feet pressing down,' said Rebecca, and we lifted our chests up for an early Locust Pose. Rebecca gave me an extra boost, giving me a strap to grab on to. "You do the work first, and I'll deepen it," she said, gently easing my shoulders and chest to open further.

We then stood at the top of our mats with our straps in tow. "We're going to do a little shoulder flossing!" said Rebecca. "Reach the strap up, keeping the arms straight and the lower back long. Bring the strap all the way back behind you." We repeated this a few more times, giving the shoulders of the desk jockeys in class a much needed working out.

We heated things up with some Sun Salutation A next. "Lengthen the sides of the body, draw the navel in and up, soften the front ribs," coaxed Rebecca as we landed in down dog. "Eyes of your elbows towards me to bring a little extra opening to the arms."  

We then did some lunges with twists, and Rebecca asked me to check in with my piriformis. It replied that it was feeling a bit sore, but happy to be in class! We held Chair Pose for a few breaths, then opened up for Warrior Two, fittingly followed by three (which I gladly fell out of).

After Pigeon - a minute on each side - Rebecca showed us the stretch she'd promised at the top of class. "Come to lie on your back," she instructed. "Bring your right knee in, put your left hand on the right ankle and step the right foot nice and high over the left thigh. Start moving the outer right hip back down towards the mat without lifting the right foot. The higher the leg is, the deeper the stretch is going to be." This felt so great that I vowed to keep it in my practice.

"Is that stretch called anything?" one of us asked.

"No," said Rebecca. "I think Julie Marx (of YogaWorks) made it up!"

"Marxasana!" I suggested.

We followed up Marxasana with this evening's inversion of choice: Shoulderstand, where we stayed for 8 breaths as Rebecca dimmed the lights for Savasana. We took Fish as a counterpose, followed by a Happy Baby before stretching out for the most difficult and most important part of the class.

"Settle in and let your eyes close," said Rebecca. "Thank yourselves for coming out to class in the rain. And may any sense of peace or awareness you found on the mat this evening follow you into the rest of your night and week."

Drop-in classes at Yo Yoga are $20 with a $2 mat rental. Discount class packages available.

-Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth

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