Yoga Sleuth was curious of the upscale yoga experience, so I headed over
to Reebok Sports Club/NY to take Hwalan’s vinyasa class. This club is
very exclusive and does not allow people to buy day passes, to take a
class you must be sponsored by a member, but fortunately I know a few!
Sunlight poured in the windows brightening the space, as I entered the
quiet yoga room and set up my mat. Hwalan had us begin in a comfortable
seated position with our eyes closed. She led us through several rounds of
breath, her voice so grounding and calm, within seconds she made me feel
relaxed and secure.
Creative and purposeful was the direction of Hwalan’s sequence. With
experience as a dancer and martial artist, Hwalan has a compelling ability
to harmoniously blend asana with a fluid yet focused flow. She had us
warm up with several slow Sun Salutations, adding a side stretch and a
circular motion that gave the movement a dance quality. When coming into
Plank, we would twist our knees to the right and then left to wake up our
Hwalan carefully instructed each pose as she added on. She circled the
back of the room, checking in with all of the students and assessing their
energy and ability for the day. We went through several squats, stretching
side-to-side and eventually coming into Crow pose. She encouraged
everyone to play, even if they didn’t come into the pose today.
We continued our Sun Salutations, now with a twist, stepping into Warrior
2 moving into Reverse Warrior to the front of the room, switching to do the
pose to the back of the room and then front again. Hwalan’s calm voice
and clear instructions kept me flowing without tripping over my feet!
We were definitely building heat as we moved into more standing poses
like Parsvakonasana, Trikonasana (trying it with the bind) and then coming
into Prasarita Padottanasana, but working a side stretch into the pose. We
stretched our sides even more in Side Plank and Rock Star!
There were several more twists and side bends in the class. We worked
our way into Gate pose and then Compass Pose. Hwalan meticulously
instructed us how to safely get into the pose. Her steady and encouraging
voice always made me feel safe to try something more challenging, or
We made our way back to the flow and found ourselves in Standing split,
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana and Warrior III, moving on to a
Parsvakonasana twist all the while going from the back of the room to the
front, constant movement, but not a rapid pace. There was always time to
get my feet grounded down, and then up in the air.
We played with donkey kicks and one leg kicks, keeping us heated up!
Hwalan assisted a student in Handstand in the middle of the room. It was
fun to see!
Approaching the peak pose, Hwalan gave us lots of options. We could
work on Gate Pose; this was a big side stretch, she observed, so if it is all
we wanted to work on for today that was fine. Otherwise, we could take
Compass to the next level and do it kneeling. Or move into the arm
balance, Eka Pada Koundinyasana. After giving each side a few tries, we
came into Bridge or Wheel and finished with Shoulderstand, Headstand
and a nice forward bend before sinking into our mats for Savasana.
Throughout the class, I felt like even the most challenging poses were
approachable for all levels because of Hwalan’s encouraging voice and
intelligent instructions. Hwalan creates interesting and uplifting classes that
work the body and calm the soul. Definitely the yoga pampering I was