Oh, my god. I just got back from the best yoga class I've ever been to. At the risk of sounding like I'm joining a cult, I'm going to tell you all about it. I'm JAZZED, people.
Now, I've done yoga. I've done classes and class-packages, intro 1, into 2. I'm not a beginner, since I've done it for so long and know how the moves should work, but I'm back to beginner strength since it's been such a long time since I used my yoga muscles.
Most yoga studios are a little stuffy, and I don't mean air-wise. Most places I've been have had a This Is How You Do It vibe and if you're not doing it right, you feel like you should still be struggling alone in front of your video tapes of Rodney Yee. They'd deny it, but some yoga studios tend to make you feel like you should get in shape and tone up at home before you come in.
Not my new local yoga studio. I am in love.
Loka Yoga, just down the road from me, is the BEST. The place had the best reviews on Yelp I'd ever seen, and that would have been enough to get me there, but the deal was made sweeter that they have an intro offer of three classes for a total of fifteen bucks. Dude. A five buck 90 minute class? How could I go wrong?
I didn't go wrong. Alice, the owner and main teacher, was amazing. I have such a big crush on her now. She was warm, kind, and sweet, while still being strong and managing to direct us all, calling us all by name (even me, and I'd only told her my name once).
The room felt like a neighborhood. Everyone was friendly. There was DIRECT EYE CONTACT. There was a childcare room for kids under three, and they made happy noise while they played during the class. At the end of the class, the kids' room door flew open and many short little people pattered out, all directions, all over the big room and threw themselves into their mothers' arms.
But what I liked best was the take Alice had on yoga. I've always felt known there's a strong connection between meditation and yoga, between Buddhism and yoga (although I'm only an accidental Buddhist, not a practicing one), but I just couldn't find it in other classes. Alice brought the spirituality without sounding kooky or weird. She brought balance. Oh, god, it's hard to explain. She helped me be completely present, something I struggle with, just like everyone else. She was utterly lovely. It seemed as if she were ministering to each person in the room, and I'm not sure how she accomplished that — there must have been twenty of us scattered around the floor.
And she played a HARMONIUM while we were in corpse pose at the end! That was the raddest thing EVER. (That, and she made us think about corpse pose, about what it was practice for, and I loved that. No one in classes ever address exactly what corpse pose is good for, other than making your back feel great.)
And damn, it was hard. It's been a long time. My legs were shaking sometimes, and I was in a full sweat. But for the first time in a yoga studio, I wasn't self-conscious. I didn't care that I was sweating, that my hair was a mess, that I was having an allergic reaction and that my left eye was all puffed up from touching one of the cats earlier.
God, it felt good. I think I will take a nap now. If you're local, you should go, no matter your fitness level. If you're not, you should go find your own Alice. Keep shopping until you find her.
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