Lovely Yoga Studio

   artwork hangs on the wall … curated yoga wear hangs on another wall … take a deep sigh … We’ve arrived … and it’s lovely … 

Sweet yogini friend took me to a welcoming yoga studio in a rustic barn, amidst the haystacks, bags of oranges and packets of seeds, past a little pastry & coffee hole in the wall, you will enter into this sight. There was this scenic drive to get us there which she took up with ease and all smiles despite the early Sunday morning start.  Crossing the Golden Gate bridge, beautiful seaside landscape of Marin, opened up right before our eyes, beyond the horizon was endless ocean …merging into the vast blue sky  … The stormy rain pounding the roofs the night before had cleared the air to gift us this most refreshing clean scent and ushered in bright sunny and azure skies.  Debris, dust the well known SF fog, mist and whatever impurities that clouds our senses were washed away with the relentless downpour – the stormy and dark night is no longer –  we were blessed with extra crisp and fresh air by this ocean town.  What pleasure to just breathe this cleansed purified air.  My lovely yogini friend wanted for both of us to attend a Meditative Yin class; then right after, Vinyasa Flow taught by none other than MC Yogi.  I was happy to accompany and oblige.

MC Yogi was first introduced to me by Tiffany who taught Kids & Family Yoga Teacher Training when I was initially interested in how kids yoga could fit into K-12 education in general.  Tiffany being a former school teacher was an excellent teacher where she introduced her Yoga DVD.  She mentioned to the trainees how happy she felt that MC Yogi had graciously given permission to feature his song called “Give Love” in her first video teaching attempt. In fact most and all kids and family yoga classes we taught pretty much started this theme song back then.  Kids would squeal scream and ran around and we had great fun rolling on the mats laughing !

Here it is:)  (I still have this DVD:) Then the tragic Earthquake/Tsunami of 2011 happened in Tohoku, Japan.  At that time there was an outpouring of support, one of which was Yoga Aid and this song, “Give Love” was also featured as a theme song.  So the timing is all mashed up now but with Tiffany, her husband, myself and my neighbor friend who later publishes a yoga book called “The Philosophy & Science of Yoga:  The Power of Self-Expression 5,000 years in the Making” (good read), we all went to his new CD release concert at Asian Art Museum, SF. – what a flashback – that’s now 8 years ago –  contributed towards was it Kickstart or some cloud funding and have seeen his music evolve where we mix them into our class playlist:)  And so you might say that our family has been a low key fan all along and could not be happier to see this humble yogi and his lovely yogini artist partner, continue to make beautiful music, art and create this lovely place to practice yoga for the locals (lucky!) and visitors (stay-cation go-to) alike.

One of my dear yoga teachers, who also was a musician once said, something to the effect that she believed there are broadly two kinds of people – broad brushstrokes for sure –  those who think creatively and in the colors, designs and the arts); Then there are those whether linear or binary, tending to be rules driven, perhaps constantly analyzing whether it be profit/loss or black/white rather than appreciating the shades of grey  – So it’s back to brain science of Right and Left Brain hemisphere dominance perhaps … Some yoga teachers tend to be more a technicians, and rather dogmatic in teaching and that suits them and their students well- there are clear rules and maybe something likened to flow charts and stick figures to prod the lesson plan ; however some, like him, seems like a natural – a fluid spontaneous teacher with a calling to cue skillfully with sense of fun and delight.  Sometimes, words that roll out of his mouth is … pure poetry, so lyrical and yet based on solid yoga philosophy.  And as expected, excellent playlist, it’s the yoga DJ, playing with words and spinning the tunes to bring us closer to … ourSelves.  Honoring the authentic and all styles of teachers all around us. I learn so much from other gifted teachers we are blessed with in this Bay Area.

Thank you to my friend who is such true yogi because if Yoga is about Connections, she was that – one who connects the dots seemingly unrelated sometimes but connecting over time; thank you for driving me there, driving almost 2 hours, to attend these two great classes, latter led by MC Yogi who made me realize that yoga need not be so serious but just … joyful. Back to the drawing board to have that “Beginner’s Mind” again.

Taught my own two classes back in the Peninsula – San Carlos and Redwood City are neighboring and easy pleasy – the second one unexpected subbing, just to be of service  – that evening – a rather subdued classes having been so inspired.

Bring yoga into your lives – it’s so enriching …you will feel the subtle changes off the mat.  Tuning into the subtleties and nuances that matter so much.

All Gratitude.

 

Yoga Alliance benefits

Some instructors wonder why we need to register with Yoga Alliance but … why not?  Okay, so the organization does not seem to lobby for your personal and business interest maybe or it’s mission and agenda may not wholly represent you but… as it represents both the individual yoga instructors, as well as the studio owners or educators, *employees and employers both) it cannot be a labor lobbying group really – and yes, it’s commercialized but … is that bad?  It’s good that there is some NPO that sets the standards and promotes the business of yoga in some ways, isn’t it?  I know it’s cool to be hippy clairvoyant yogi but … if we are actually dedicated to make yoga available to more and more people, it’s about access.

I personally get goose bumps finally realizing there are these benefits I foolishly have not used before.   Next time I am about to make an impulsive purchase, I have to stop and think, wait I can use the Yoga Alliance membership to get these discounts – 🙂

50% OFF on PrAna wears and products

40% OFF Manduka products

20% OFF on Gaiam products

40% OFF Jade Mats – did receive 20% off at former studio I worked at but if you are certified teacher, you can get 40% off up to 2 mats a year;

20 % OFF Patagonia products

and this – this is the most exciting for me as I love yoga books !

43% OFF on Integral Yoga Supplies which includes books of all kinds (health, fitness, cooking, of course yoga …) This is the most valued discount for me and I had not utilized it – it’s like there’s a treasure trove right under my nose and instead I pay full price on Amazon not realizing that all along I could have taken advantage of these discounts – how foolish have I been?.

So for those who knock the Yoga Alliance membership as irrelevant, to me, these discounts alone are good enough reason to pay the membership fees and maintain the good standing through continuing education.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I am super excited to have the discounts on mats alone  – 2 Jade mats with 40% discount is estimated total of $60-$100 discount depending on which Pro mats we are referring to.  Given that we practically live on mats, it’s a nice perk.  What do you think?

And if anyone could use any advice on yoga products such as mats and props such as blocks, straps, bolsters, etc. I am happy to assist.  I would first check with the friendly local yoga studios as it’s best to support our local businesses.  Why go online when you can actually touch and feel the products, maybe even try them or try them on or somehow show you how.  We in the neighborhood really want our local businesses to thrive, especially when it comes to yoga studios.  They are precious ! Unlike some corporate or chain sports gyms with obligatory yoga classes, local, your neighborhood yoga studios are different – they are owned and operated by some highly dedicated and committed yogis who have PASSION and a calling to make yoga part of everyone’s lives.  They build community and create connections.  All Gratitude for those who facilitate the connections:)  I especially appreciate these beautiful boutique yoga studios with all the right props to assure yoga for every body and mind.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve who can be helped by the beautiful wisdom of yoga.  Namaste.

In calibrating that “balance” in our yoga practice on the mat, we learn to find that “balance” off the mat – given that intention for my own practice, I found the following podcast and this book, “Divided Brain – The Master & the Emissary” by Iain McGilchrist to be of particular interest.  There’s also this Quiz to test your mental balance – it’s another way to find a little bit more about … yourself:   Here:)

While us yogis know that it’s beyond the brain; it’s the integration and connection of the mind (the thinking brain), body (physical and astral) and spirit (soul, consciousness), it’s still a fascinating theory.  Hope this documentary gets made !