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September 2019
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H-A HA and H-M HM with Logan Kinney
Yoga In The Heights
523 Palisade Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07307
732-654-2103

Sat, 10:00 AM To 11:00 AM
Open

Lately there seems to be a proliferation of yoga studios popping up around Jersey City: Jivamukti is slated to open up a studio in downtown Jersey City next month, Surya Yoga (a Hoboken-based studio) just opened up a second location in Jersey City a couple of months ago and the newest studio to add to the growing list is Yoga in the Heights in Jersey City Heights.

 

The studio itself, a quiet space with high ceilings, is nestled in the back of a karate space and still seems to be growing into its own. For example, the second time I visited the studio (for Logan Kinney’s class) it was newly decorated with photos of Yoga in the Heights instructors doing yoga around and about in Jersey City. Personal touches like that take a little while to develop but it seems like the team at Yoga in the Heights are well on their way.

Beginning in a simple Child’s Pose, Logan encouraged us to start class in an easy and comfortable way, both mentally and physically. She told us to rest our foreheads easily to the mat and not to worry about stretching our elbows and forearms off the floor just yet. This sort of deliberate, easing into practice always helps me find my focus and puts me in a more meditative mental state.

Once we emerged from our Child’s Poses we moved into a Table Top position and began to gently lift our legs one by one while simultaneously lifting opposite arms. Logan asked us notice how comfortable we were while holding this position and to do what our bodies needed to feel good, which could mean really stretching our leg and arm and tractioning our spine, or keeping our leg stretched out low without even lifting up our arm. Logan was consistently less concerned about the depth of the posture than she was about making sure we were doing what was right for our bodies.

From there we moved on to some Sun Salutations and simple sun breaths. Logan guided the class through a couple and then encouraged us to take a few on our own breath. During several sequences throughout the class Logan asked that we work at our own pace and breath. She did this again once we moved on to a Warrior 2 sequence.

One’s mental sensibility in the room always changes when the instructor goes quiet and asks that you move through the postures at your own breath. The room becomes filled with deep breathing and deep concentration. Even though I’ve moved through similar postures hundreds of time there is a slight shift of balance when the instructor goes quiet for a few minutes. You can re-connect to your own intention and volition, which varies from class to class and day to day.  

After leading us through some Warrior 2 sequences we moved on to some power lunges which are deceptively easy looking, but challenging to hold. And Logan made us hold them. With our arms stretched along the sides of our bodies pointing backward, palms facing down, our legs in a Warrior 2 stance, and our torsos bent forward, we remained there for at least five long breaths. Logan reminded us to keep our chests open, and imagine that we were opening our chest like a window and letting what was inside shine out. She reminded us that our breath was the key to this opening, to this letting go.  

After holding the power lunges and some other challenging postures, Logan suggested we sigh it out on our exhale with an H-A HA and then again with an H-M HM. That simple shift of letter really does change the feeling of your exhale and I appreciated that variation. And that’s what it all really comes down to I think: variation. While our bodies are so sensitive, they are also so habitual. Our bodies need the variation to grow and improve, even if it is a variation as seemingly simple and insignificant as changing up the way one exhales.

 

Drop-in classes are $15. Discounts available for students, seniors, local firefighters, police and teachers. Proceeds from special monthly classes are donated to charity.

 

-Jackie Clark for Yoga Sleuth


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