Today I had the pleasure of attending an open house at Earthsong Yoga. A friend of mine told me about it months ago, and I was eager to attend because of all the Kripalu-style yoga in the schedule. (For those of you who don't know, I'll be doing the 200-hour teacher training program at Kripalu in April and June.)
I had no real expectations for what a free yoga open house would be, and I had a nice experience visiting this studio. The 30-minute mini class schedule started with Gentle Kripalu taught by Lynn, followed by Ashtanga with Gail (Earthsong's director), Hatha with Paul, Moderate Kripalu with Mary, and ended with Vigorous Ujjayi Kripalu Flow with Jeff. Each managed the atypical time constraint with grace, giving attendees a nice sampling of the different styles. (In fact, I'm now motivated to do some Ashtanga tomorrow!) Each instructor infused their mini class with their unique personalities--my favorite example was Jeff's closing of the day with a Shavasana set to the music of Stevie Ray Vaughan, because the flitting of the guitar reminds him of how thoughts typically flit around in one's mind. Gail's husband Steve (from BodyFit) was also on site, offering chair massages. They also offered healthy snacks of fruit, veggies, nuts, carrot and vegan chocolate cake (both of which were amazing!) for nibbling in between classes.
Although on Main Street on the second floor, the studio had ample (free) street parking right out in front. What's more, Gail and Steve clearly put a lot of work into creating a welcoming yoga space. There was plenty of room, the temperature was good (though an adjustment for me, given my heated yoga practices of late), there were many kinds of props available, and the restrooms were conveniently located. The decor was simple and soothing--an oasis from the sometimes overstimulating life off the mat.
But beyond all the physical aspects of their space, each of the instructors reminded me what yoga is really about: being present and making connections with people, some of whom probably never imagined yoga would be accessible to them. Those who showed up to practice were of all ages, genders, and levels; each of the instructors guided the classes with a kind and gentle awareness, acceptance, and compassion for individual possibilities and limitations. In sum, they allowed you to come to yoga exactly as you were in that moment, and it was all perfectly fine.
If trying yoga or meditation is on your New Years' resolution list, Earthsong is offering two free yoga classes next week, and a guided meditation on the 20th. Check out the schedule on their web site for more information.