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February 2020
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Focused Lotus Flow with Jill Bucenec
The Giving Lotus
250 East 116th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10035

Wed, 5:00 PM To 6:00 PM

The Giving Lotus is a pioneer, located on a busy block of 116th Street in East Harlem. The studio is a colorful, cozy, apartment-size room with a beautiful mural of the chakras up front and god and goddess head clay figurines constituting the alter. The Giving Lotus offers a variety of classes and wellness options such as reiki sessions, Tai Chi, Masala Bhangra, restorative yoga, Kripalu and Hatha yoga. It's also relatively affordable, offering yoga classes for just $12.

Today, Sleuth was taking the vinyasa class taught by Jivamukti-certified Jill Bucenec. I was greeted and signed in by owner Alisa Levine who is a reiki practitioner, life coach, and yoga teacher who also teaches Kundalini and Vinyasa.

Jill began class by introducing herself and leading us through three Oms. Then she promptly commenced class with five rounds of Surya Namaskar A followed by several Surya Namaskar Bs, offering alignment and breath cues along the way. She played yoga chanting music and counted the inhales and exhales between each movement, encouraging focus on the breath. Jill also kept a swift pace so by the time we were ready for standing poses, Sleuth has built up a good sweat.

Transitioning to standing poses we worked on Warrior I, Warrior II, Triangle (here Jill offered the option to take hold of the big toe or the calf), and Extended Side Angle. Building on these poses, Jill added Pyramid Pose, or Parsvottanasana. All the while she was instructing these poses, Jill was also making attentive adjustments either physically or through precise verbal instructions.

Sufficiently warmed-up, Jill then demonstrated Handstands on the wall, not focusing on coming up, rather just trying some hops into the pose. This was a relieving approach as we could be in the process rather than think ahead about the final outcome as the ultimate goal.

Next we moved onto Forearm Stand with Jill instructing our ascent. Forearm Stand put us in a backbend mode so Jill then led class through a full series including Camel pose, Salabhasana, Bow Pose, Bridge Pose and three Full Wheels before decompressing in Happy Baby.

Jill then led us into Shoulderstand, but observing that Sleuth was struggling with a long hold in Shoulderstand that day, she offered Legs Up the Wall as a cooling inverted alternative. This was held for several soothing minutes. Sufficiently cooled down, class ended with a five minute Savasana and a long Om.

As we exited, Alisa, the owner, had returned to sign in the next class. Jill stayed around several minutes to answer questions and engage in friendly chat adding to the warm and welcoming nature of this new blooming rose...or lotus, in Spanish Harlem.

Drop-in classes are $12, with $1 mat rental.

-Marie Carter for Yoga Sleuth

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