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February 2020
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Alignment Crazy with Jonathan Fitzgordon
Prema Yoga
236 Carroll St.
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Sat, 10:15 AM To 11:45 AM

Jonathan Fitzgordon of the Fitzgordon method (see our Fitzgordon story in Yoga Weekly), renowned for his expertise in anatomy and alignment, teaches two open level classes at Prema Yoga, a bright, airy studio in tree-lined Carroll Gardens.

The class began in rock pose. For more experienced practitioners he offered the variation of leaning the torso back and slowly lifting the knees off the floor. In the second variation of rock pose, where you kneel and sit on heels, he invited us to tuck all ten toes under and hold for a couple of minutes. It's a painful but great stretch for the feet. Because of his walking program, Fitzgordon tends to pay extra attention foot placement in his class.

The focus of the day was hip openers. He concentrated on wide lunges in the warm up and the idea of bringing the hips to center. Those lunges eventually became airplanes. He worked on several variations of Prasarita Padottanasana. "Pop, pop, pop," he joked as everyone folded forward from the hips. Among the other standing poses were a standing pigeon and Utkatasana, hooking the right foot on top of the left thigh and then switching sides.

The 20 or so people in the room squeezed together at the wall for L-shaped handstands. This Sleuth tends to have a flexible upper back and was forced to work hard when Fitzgordon came over and encouraged me to move my shoulders forward so my abdominals would work harder. Suddenly, L-shaped handstands became infinitely more difficult and my whole body was shaking.

Coming back to the center of the room, we practiced the arm balance flying crow. Fitzgordon pointed out my flying crow would be much easier if I didn't move my chest once my leg was up in the air. His pointer helped me stay in the pose much longer than usual. Fitzgordon could barely contain his enthusiasm as he watched students make adjustments and improve their alignment. "Awesome," he called out.

We moved into backbends, or what Fitzgordon calls "Nature's answer to depression." We started with bridge and the more advanced practitioners were encouraged to move onto Urdhva Dhanurasana. "Don't thrust your pelvis up," he encouraged.

To cool down, we practiced the forward bends Baddha Konasana, Tarasana and Upavista Konasana. Sleuth walked away from class feeling as though she had great information to fuel her practice for weeks to come.

$17 a class; $1 mat rental.

—Marie Carter for Yoga Sleuth

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