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February 2020
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Harlem Yoga Shakes with Elle Randall
Harlem Yoga Studio
44 West 125th Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10027

Fri, 6:00 PM To 7:00 PM

For those ready to shake off the stress of the week days and boogie for the weekend, Harlem Yoga Studio offers a fun and funky Harlem Yoga Shakes class, a highly aerobic one hour class that takes various influences from Vinyasa yoga to African dance to Pilates. Elle Randall, a teacher with a lot of energy and cheer, took out the boom box for class and turned on a playlist that varied from house music to pop to r&b to hip-hop, anything that had a good beat for moving. Inviting us to let go of our inhibitions in this class, Elle took us through a gentle warm-up that consisted of a seated side stretch, seated twist and thread-the-needle.

Bringing us into Downward Dog, Elle then talked us through some fast paced Sun Salutations with variations especially for the Harlem Yoga Shakes class. In Downward Dog we would walk out our legs, pulsing them to the beat and in our low lunges we would also pulse our legs to the beat. In Utkatasana, we did little bounces while, Elle reminded us, keeping our core engaged and knitting the ribs together.

Our standing poses consisted of Warrior 1 with a slight pulse of the front knee to the beat of the music, a Peaceful Warrior into Triangle into Peaceful into Side Angle, and Prasarita Padottanasana with the option to come up into Tripod Headstand. With each Vinyasa, we would pedal out our legs in Downward Dog to the beat of the music. We held our Trees for a good ten breaths while Elle encouraged us to wave our arms in the air freestyle to the beat of the music then we contracted and released the pelvic area several times while remaining in Tree. It was a good test of balance. Elle encouraged us to fall out of the pose and come right back into it.

We then did what Elle called "isolations" moving the upper torso to the front and back and side to side then circulating the upper body, but keeping the lower body still. We then moved our hips in a similar fashion.

For the abs portion of class, we held Navasana for several breaths before lowering down to Ardha Navasana then back up to Navasana five times, then lowering down into Ardha Navasana and pulsing our arms in a Pilates 100s manner.

Rolling on our backs for a little back bending work, we raised our hips into Bridge pose for the count of four, then lowered them for the count of four. We repeated this option several times then Elle gave us the option to take an Urdhva Dhanurasana or Full Wheel. To decompress our backs we windshield wipered our legs side to side.

Cooling us down, we folded forward into Paschimottanasana and held the pose in a relaxing and restorative fashion - our pulsing time was up.

Class ended with a short Savasana and a bow to the teacher within. Sleuth left class sweating, invigorated and with a bounce in her step.

Drop-ins at Harlem Yoga Studio are $14 per class with $1 mat rental. New student special: 3 classes for $25.

-Marie Carter for Yoga Sleuth

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