Moving from the Inside Out - Yoga Sleuth, spring 2012

Moving from the Inside Out with Lara Kohn Thompson
Bend and Bloom
708 Sackett Street, Brooklyn

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, this Yoga Sleuth found herself sloshing through the early summer rains to attend a lunchtime express class with Lara Kohn Thompson at Bend and Bloom in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Lara teaches many workshops on the pelvic floor around the city and having read about them, I was eager to check out her style and hear anything she had to say about this still somewhat mysterious (to me anyway!) region of the body.

Arriving a few minutes early, I placed my mat down underneath a window in the spacious, airy studio and waited for class to begin.

We began seated as Lara took us through a few simple movements to locate the breath, our connection to the core and our pelvic floor. She emphasized moving from the front of the spine, deep in the core of our body and allowing our focus to settle internally.

Almost immediately, I found my awareness drawn very deeply inward. Beginning by taking the time to deeply link my breath to the center of my body I found a level of focus and attention that carried me through the entire practice.

After spending a comfortable amount of time centering our focus on the breath and the spine, we made our way up to standing. Lara encouraged us to imagine that our legs were drawing energy up from the ground and our arms were drawing energy down from above.

Helping us to locate our shoulder blades, she said, “imagine that you have wings" to allow the arms and shoulders to work together.

Following that powerful image up by saying “and if that doesn't work for you, throw it away and try something else," giving each one of us the freedom to connect with our own practice and our bodies in a way that worked for us.

As we began to move a little more quickly and into more complicated postures Lara continued to remind us to let the movement emerge from that central core at the front of our spine and radiate outwards. She led us through a sequence of lunges, standing twists and a few variations on Warrior III.

In our asymmetrical standing poses she instructed us to “broaden the back of the pelvis" which created an enlightening sense of space and stability for this sleuth. Reinforcing the image of the legs lifting support out of the ground and the arms drawing downwards created a sense of lightness in the limbs as we moved through the flowing practice.

Time passed almost imperceptibly and before this sleuth knew it we were making our way down to the floor for Bridge pose. Lara offered Urdhva Danurasana as an option for anyone looking to take a deeper backbend.To counter the backbend we ended with a Paschimottanasana before making our way down into Savasana.

As we came down into our final rest Lara let us know that there was no class coming in immediately and we were welcome to stay in Savasana as long as we liked.

As I let my body settle into the stillness and the practice fall away, what remained was that deep sense of connection with my core and a lightness in my limbs which traveled with me out into the rest of my day.

Express Drop-in classes are $14, regular classes are $18. New student special - 3 classes for $30.

--Alex Phelan for Yoga Sleuth