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This Week’s Thought: When we find that space where it’s just us and our breath, we can remember who we really are because we are fully present. And in the state of being present, we can let go of the illusion that anything is ever separate from us.  We are all one. That is yoga to me.

ASHA!

I’ve seriously considered changing this from “Yoga Hop,” to “Yoga Tour,” because, you know, rock stars go on tour, and they are really cool. Anyway, part of this process for me involves getting outside of my comfort zone. I find downtown very uncomfortable. It’s all the one-way streets and lack of parking that frighten me most. Add to that the whole new-car-that’s-smarter-than me thing, and I’m feeling vulnerable. Never mind that I’ve lived in Sacramento since Stan Atkins was reporting live from Vietnam. Anyway, I was pleased to find out there was a studio in mid-town. Baby steps and all.

Asha Yoga was an unexpected spiritual experience for me. The studio itself is long and inviting. I tell myself each week I will not talk about floors, but they appear to be an obsession of mine. I loved the floors! Dark, distressed wood coupled with the rust colored walls made me just want to sink into the Earth and maybe stay til dinner time. The class was small, only three of us, and led by an instructor named Dana. I must be getting older because the more studios I go to, I swear there are instructors younger than my yoga mat. Dana was no exception. She started the class in a unique way–at least from most Vinyassa flows I practice–in that we did some sort of feet-together-squat with our heels down. My heels did not want to go down. Dana told us we could place a blanket under our heels if we needed to. I needed to. Then we bent over. I do not know the name of  this pose, but I’m calling it Vertical Baby Frog. What? Too long?

Dana rocked at dialogue. At first I thought the class was going to be a little too easy, but before  long, I realized it was exactly what I needed (and it was not too easy!). The instruction and environment allowed me to get into my zone a little quicker than usual, and nice-Dana was pretty brutal when it came to core work. I couldn’t help but admire her boat pose. I swear she looked like a perfect banana, whereas, I looked more like a twisted yam.

I’m a big fan of touch. I realize that when there are a lot of students in a class, the instructor can’t correct alignment on everyone, and I’m not advocating teachers fondle their students–at least not without permission– however, a nice, well-placed touch now and then can be very useful. Dana did not disappoint in this department. The door-prize came at the end. There we are lying in our final Shavasana–where the real magic happens–and I catch a whiff of lavender.

Lavender?

I feel my arms melt as Dana smooths  my collar bones, gently pulling down my shoulders that were jumping with joy. At that moment, I considered having another child just so I could name her Dana. Maybe my next fish will have to do? Having lavender lotion and joints soothed after all those planks was brilliant in my book. In fact, I think I’d pay extra for that.

The lobby of ASHA is hip with good energy and cute clothes. I picked up a copy of Plus One, Finding God On The Yoga Mat, by studio owner, Cori Martinez. After reading several chapters, I realized the reason the vibes of the studio felt so good. I’m a big believer that the energy of an environment is tangible and directly related to the  people who inhabit it. Cori’s love of yoga and people are apparent the moment you walk through the doors. It’s really a nice studio to visit. I give it five planks.

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