Confession: I’ve lived in Greenpoint for over a year, and have never ventured into the native yoga scene. I’m a hipster fraud, perhaps, but I’m confident I’m not alone.
On a quest to finally dip into the movement, I ventured over to Greenhouse Holistic, a yoga and hot stone spa on Roebling and North 7th. If you’re looking for somewhere to try out yoga without feeling self-conscious that your neighbor will bend like a pretzel and scoff at you–an imaginary nightmare that holds beginners back for months–this is a great place to start.
The Basic Ashtanga Yoga class is held in a studio room on street level and I joined the ranks with eight others, half men, half women, on a zen seeking journey. The space fit the modest sized crowd with plenty of room, and mats, blankets, and foam blocks were supplied. The instructor, a tall, bald, and perfectly lean man named John, took his place in front of the class and began his introduction. His soft, careful tone carried a vibe that said “I’ve found my peace with the world”, and immediately set the atmosphere at ease. After taking a poll of the class’ experience level, he began to teach.
In the next hour and a half we learned the foundation of Ashtanga yoga, and reached and contorted in ways that made my muscles open up and quiver. First thing I recognized about my body: I am not strong, nor flexible–bummer–but onward in this zen journey I marched. John explained the basic flows with expertise, and walked around adjusting and advising each person individually. This kind of instruction is exactly what I needed. Newbie questions like “Wait, should my foot still be on the ground?”, “Holy man, should my wrist hurt like this?” were encouraged. I fell to the left and right. I grunted. I saluted the sun.
The class ended with a traditional chant, and we actually said “om” with arms outstretched while sitting indian-style. I thought the “om” was a classic yoga myth, but it is indeed true my friends. I caught John on the way out and learned he’s been practicing yoga for eleven years, nine of them in Brooklyn. Right on.
Along with the spa on Roebling, Greenhouse Holistic has two more locations in North Brooklyn on Driggs Ave and South 4th, on Grand Street, and on Keap Street. The teachers rotate between each location, so you can hop around with the most convenient schedule and stick with your favorite zen master. If you’re a beginner like me you can take advantage of a $25 intro special for three classes, pay $15 to just drop in on one, or choose from a variety of membership options.