On a beautiful fall day, Yoga Sleuth wasn’t in the mood for a large studio and a crowded class, so the boutique feel of Yoga 216 was perfect for me. The new studio only allows six people in each class so that it has a more intimate feel and every student gets proper attention.
When I entered I was immediately welcomed by the owner, Nicole Katz. She gave me a tour of the light and airy space and then showed me to the practice room. Mats, blocks and bolsters were already set up and there was a clean and refreshing scent to the room. I felt equally relaxed and excited to start.
At the beginning of class, Nicole announced that the pose of the month was Tadasana and the focus of the week was the shoulders. We began by sitting on our bolsters with our backs against the wall. Nicole explained the different parts of our back and asked us to close our eyes and feel the wall support us. After several minutes of breathing, we began to move.
Nicole had us do Child’s pose with one hand on the floor and the other resting on our lower back. It was interesting to feel this simple pose in a different way. She wanted us to continue to connect with the posture we had against the wall.
We continued this work when we got into a lunge, one hand behind our head and the other on our lower back. Nicole described this as creating our own wall. We gently tapped our back knee down, which sounds simple but it takes a lot of strength in the core to stay sturdy and upright.
Nicole adjusted my hips to make them more stable in the pose. When we brought both arms to the sky in the lunge, the pose felt stronger and more alive because of these tiny adjustments she had given me.
Nicole guided us through several poses with her voice, while adjusting each of us. A Baby Cobra was not over looked! She described how the back was working and helped another student really connect with her back muscles.
When we were stretching out in our Down Dog, I closed my eyes and Nicole immediately came to my side and said “don’t close your eyes, stay in it.” She gave me a great adjustment and wouldn’t let me check out…yes it happens some times!
What seemed like a simple sequence kept intelligently building and adding more challenges. When we were doing Eagle Pose, Nicole gave us several arm variations to fit each of our abilities. We held the pose to fatigue and then did it one more time, unwinding, lifting our leg and stepping back into the high lunge!
When things got more challenging, Nicole reminded us to make our breath audible. She wanted to hear if we were breathing and make sure we were getting the energy flow.
Continuing to open our shoulders, we came to the floor and slowly found our way into Gomukhasana. Nicole suggested a block or blanket if we could not comfortably sit in the pose on the floor. She encouraged us to relax our shoulders and find Tadasana in our backs once more.
Throughout class, Nicole would gently put her hands on my shoulders so that I would relax them. It’s amazing how unaware we can be about tension in the shoulders and how much it affects our posture!
While lying on the floor we wound our legs into Eagle and brought our knees to our nose several times for a last bit of abdominal strengthening and then took a nice spinal twist before Savasana.
Yoga216 is a warm, inviting and chic space and Nicole is an amazing teacher. We worked through a straightforward sequence that continued to build and challenge me and show me Tadasana in a whole new light.
Yoga216 is membership only but is offering drop-in classes for a limited time for $35. Take advantage of their current offer and get your first week for $35.
Margie Suvalle Fischel for Yoga Sleuth, read the full review here.