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June 2020
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Sound Off Yoga with Jennifer Cogburn
South Street Seaport
199 Water Street
New York, NY 10038

Sat, 6:00 PM To 7:00 PM

The South Street Seaport is not a frequent Winter destination for Yoga Sleuth. But when I heard about the launch of Sound Off Yoga at the Cube installation, I was intrigued enough to make it my first port-of-call on a busy Saturday night.

I entered the aptly named Cube, which is essentially a plastic heated "box" on Water Street and Fulton set up for off-season events. I went through an easy sign-in process, and was given a set of disco-looking large headphones. I was told to leave them on the "blue setting" (this was the color they glowed) and was led to the asana room, which was clearly a repurposed bar and dance floor.

DJ Panic watched over all from a platform at the front, surveying 30 yogis who were situated over soft green AstroTurf. The room had a bluish tint and was surrounded by heaters to protect us from the intruding February chill. New Age music reverberated in our headphones, and then our teacher, Jennifer Cogburn, welcomed us, her voice ringing in our ears over the trance-like pulses. To the outsider it would appear that we were practicing in silence, as both instruction and music were heard solely through the wireless phones.

Jen explained that her class had a strong meditation component in addition to some basic asana. To that end we began seated with our hands in chin mudra, as Jen led us in a guided meditation where we were asked to imagine ourselves on either a meadow or a beach. I started with the meadow, but then remembered my allergies and quickly switched to the beach setting! We set an intention for practice and then began to move, beginning with a classic Surya Namaskar A. Jen gave us the option of a full Chaturanga or bringing our knees down, but had us stay in Cobra on our inhales in every vinyasa.

The next sequence was a Moon Salutation; we turned to the side wall and raised our hands overhead, stretching the side body to the right and left. We bent our knees and Cactus our arms for Goddess Pose, and then what Jen called a "Star" Pose saw us straighten our legs and reach our arms out wide before leaning back to allow our shoulders to pull in. We stretched our hamstrings in Scandasana and added on Triangle and all three Warriors. Then Jen had us start again, this time with Sun A flowing right into the Moon sequence without skipping a beat.

We repeated the double sequence with a specific drishti: the front of the room in Warrior 1 and 2, the ground in Warrior 3; our over-stretched hands in Crescent Moon, and our navels in Downward Facing Dog. For the fourth and final sequence, Jen asked us to bring our hands in front of us and imagine a box of everything we needed to let go of, which we focused on in each of the final sequence of poses. At the end, we imagined ourselves dropping the box into the earth and the ground swallowing it up, symbolizing that we would carry that burden no longer.

We sank into a brief Savasana and Jen congratulated us for making the practice part of our Saturday night, then invited us all right outside the Cube to go ice skating!

Sound Off Yoga is a new triweekly yoga class at the South Street Seaport with a rotating roster of teachers and DJs. Classes are $20 and online registration is recommended. Participants should bring their own mat and arrive early to get headphones. For more info email info@soundoffexperience.com.

-Jim Catapano for Yoga Sleuth

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