Healing Breath Therapeutics with Evalena Leedy Yoga Sole 254 Windsor Place, Brooklyn Tue 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM Beginner www.yogasole.com “Each of our classes will be led by a compassionate and gifted instructor whose main concern is making YOU, the student, feel safe, comfortable and challenged.”
Sleuth came across those inviting words on Yoga Sole’s web site. Studio founder and teacher Evalena Leedy came through on her promise with flying colors in this Therapeutics class. She immediately created a sense of community with a ‘roundtable-style’ check-in that went deeper than the usual terse run-down of name and pertinent injuries that begins most yoga classes. Evalena set the tone with a heartfelt sharing of her state of body and being that morning, encouraging us to do the same.
She intently listened to our responses and tailored the class to our needs. Prolonged hip openers soothed aching knees; palms facing downward in our opening meditation created grounding; Sleuth even suspected that apanasana (which can be translated as ‘wind-relieving’ pose!) worked its way into the flow in response to her mention of digestive issues.
In our opening Pranayama, Evalena invited us in a singsong voice to take “deep, full, luxurious breaths.” Lulled into tranquility, we silently savored our breathing before chanting OM. We began our movement with juicy undulations of the spine seated in Sukhasana. “Let the breath be what creates the movement,” Evalena instructed.
“Don’t clench the gluteal muscles,” she admonished as we moved in and out of Bridge pose. “Use the inner thighs, and lift from the pelvic floor as you sing your heart open toward the back of the room.”
Evalena gave us persistent and gentle reminders to stay focused on the breath. “Find a way to become interested,” she insisted. “With each breath, let go of what no longer serves you. Let your breath heal you, body and soul.”
Rather than giving complex physical instructions, Evalena helped us use our breath to create alignment in the poses, which was very relaxing. She used a gentle touch, more guidance than adjustment, to keep our energy flowing. I found her tactile hints invigorating and more helpful than stronger adjustments because I was able to lengthen my muscles from within.
“Are you working at your edge?” Evalena asked as we reclined in Padangusthasana with a strap. “Maybe you find it by moving deeper, or maybe you get to it by backing off.” Intentionally decreasing the flexion of my hip, I noticed a subtle and deeper stretch that felt more healing than my usual splayed-out version of this surprisingly challenging pose.
“If you have discomfort simply notice it,” Evalena counseled as we folded forward in Tarasana. “With each breath something changes; you can count on that.” Sleuth appreciated that refreshing reminder as her grouchy hips groaned impatiently.
After a lengthy seated and supine series, we rose for Downward Facing Dog, Warrior 1, and Warrior 3 using a chair back for balance and stability. Evalena coached us to keep a strong, steady focus which Sleuth was reluctant to do in her beautiful sun-drenched studio with so many intriguing details to feast the eyes on.
My gaze wandered guiltily from the trees outside to the marquetry mandala in the center of the hardwood floor, to the river stones, vines, and vases of flowers animating the studio.
We cooled down with Paschmotanasana and Janu Sirsasana, followed by a soothing Sama Vrtti Pranayama (even inhales and exhales with breath retention) and a cushy version of Supta Baddha Konasana supported by a no-fuss arrangement of blocks and blankets. Then came Savasana, where Sleuth was treated to the most fragrant lavender she’s ever smelled, along with a perfect pressure on third eye and temples.
I appreciated Evalena’s concern for our well-being not just on a physical but a soul level. She has created a wonderful community-oriented studio in this homey Brooklyn neighborhood. As I left, several students were lingering on comfy couches, nibbling on ginger candy and sipping tea. Glancing at the class schedule on the front table, Sleuth uncovered one more quote worth sharing: “Light your body with yoga. Life can’t wait.”
Single class $15; new students: buy two, get one free.
--Lauren Tepper for Yoga Sleuth (article published March 7, 2012)
Brooklyn is about to get a lot more flexible with the opening of YogaSole. The Yoga studio will be opening its door early September and will be welcoming the entire community with wide-open arms!
YogaSole will strive to be different and make Yoga an accessible and enjoyable experience for everyone of all age groups and expertise. We’re excited to come to the neighborhood and we hope to immerse ourselves in the people and surroundings, promising to always be environmentally responsible and aware. We want to teach that Yoga is truly for everyone, and the benefits will last a lifetime.
Each of our classes will be led by a compassionate and gifted instructor whose main concern is making YOU, the student, feel safe, comfortable and challenged. Classical Yoga styles Iyengar, Ashtanga and Vinyasa classes will be offered everyday, and we encourage everyone to partake in the beauty that is Yoga!
Besides putting together a great group of teachers and a class schedule that will offer a chance for even the busiest person to squeeze in a class or two, we’ve also been working on our in-house Yoga store. We have been bending over backwards – literally! -in preparation for our opening by researching and purchasing
only the finest Yogawear. We will be carrying functional and comfortable, yet
Along with apparel, we will
also be carrying high-end, exquisite handmade jewelry that is made from natural
substances and is a nod to the earth from which we’ve all come. Each piece is
handcrafted and unique in its assembly and appearance, and is a gift to all who
We at YogaSole are very excited to be part of such a wonderfully diverse neighborhood! We invite everyone to come join our community of professional Yoga instructors, and make themselves at home inside our walls. We are not only your new neighbors, but also your new friends.