Monday, September 13, 2010

Rec Center Yoga

I don’t teach yoga in a posh, serene studio overlooking the ocean or a snow-capped mountain. I don’t have a wide assortment of yoga props for my class. Some nights I don’t even have enough floor space for everyone to be able to spread out. And I love it!

There is something unique about yoga in community centers, gyms, church basements or a backyard deck. The yoga here isn’t necessarily picture perfect, it’s often a little raw, yet it’s totally real.

The yogi’s who attend these classes are just regular folks, willing to put their mat down anywhere to find an hour or so of yoga bliss.  I’ve met so many unique people in yoga class; teachers, nurses, office workers, lawyers, stay at home moms, retirees and corporate exec’s to name a few.

There is Miss Robbie, the southern African-American woman in her seventies who tells stories of picking cotton as a child. Or the fifth grade teacher who rides his Harley to yoga class and has begun teaching his pre-teens pranayama techniques before taking a test.  Or the ex-Marine who isn’t too proud to sometimes be the only guy in class.

As different as they are, their common bond is yoga.  They trek weekly to an old, run-down community center knowing they will need to push tables and chairs out of the way.  For a time they had to carefully place their mats around buckets placed in the room to catch water dripping from the leaky ceiling.

We don’t have beautiful scenery out the window of our little room, no retail shop to purchase yoga gear and no organic café to indulge after class. That’s ok. We aren’t here for the stuff, we’re here for the experience.

Think you can’t find savasana with legs up the wall next to a noisy air vent? Ask the paralegal who regularly begins to doze off there.  Not enough blocks? Harley guy willingly offers his bike helmet as a make-shift block.  The blaring music from Jazzercise next door is just another way to help everyone drown out distractions and find their drishti.

I’m pretty sure Yoga Journal will never show up to do a photo layout of my class. That’s a shame. They are missing some great yoga.


  1. Jenn,
    You have a gift. It's like we are sitting in that old living room setting with that blue oval carpet and pretending to have a steering meeting. Kristin Haas is laughing at you saying, "No, way!" Renee Curtis is gushing about something and I'm just shaking my head and enjoying the moment. Who are those other faces? My has time taken my mind!
    Thanks for sharing your gift.

  2. I am right there with you girl! even at my job, there is no "yoga room" per say. Just a room with chairs that always have to be moved and stacked, no props either. At the community center, same thing, tables/chairs to be moved, hard tiled floors. But at work and at the community center, people come because of what yoga heals, it soothes, it sharpens awareness, builds confidence and gives peace, and that is not counting all the good stuff it does for your body! You and I , and the others like us, teach because we love, teach because we
    believe, and our students are damn lucky to have
    us, the same way we are damn lucky to have them. Because the fluff doesn't matter to them, they want real yoga, taught from the heart.