I’ve been spoiled and I know it. I live in one of the most beautiful cities in the USA (perhaps the World), we have over 300 days of sun and good weather, we have beaches that stretch for miles and access to an array of fruits, veggies, and green drinks. I could go skiing in the morning, surfing in the afternoon and camp out in the desert any given day that I wish. I could train for a triathlon, Zumba, and jazzercise and of course practice yoga in one of the hundreds of yoga studios within a stones throw from my house. I don’t say this to boast just to simply point out a fact – that access is great and sometimes it’s really easy to take it for granted.
I practiced yoga this morning in a quaint little studio called, Yoga Munkey in Vista, CA and I was reminded of my own humble beginnings. Before the cork wood flooring, the star machines, the fancy yoga rope walls and the studios overlooking the ocean with built in juice bars. I practiced in a single room studio where the colors were dark and rich, paintings of the Chakras hung near drawings of sitting Buddha’s and old photos of the lineage of yogis. I practiced in a studio where incense burned patchouli so strong that when you left you smelled of it for hours long after. Studios where carpet was the norm and long scarfs, Indian saris draped the florescent lightening and covered the windows. I remember being in a class of 5 and not thinking at all, ‘wow where is everyone?’ or ‘gee I hope this studio makes it, they should advertise more!’. Yoga was simple. There was a space, and someone who wanted to share his or her knowledge. You gathered together to practice. You went home.
In some ways I long for that again, before scoping the room for the cutest yoga pants, asking teachers for their playlist and being so concerned that I’m getting the best deal for my money and if this studio offers more incentives. Nothing beats a home practice but there is something truly special about practicing with a group in a community. Where you pull from each others energy, spirit, and passion for being there. Yoga has evolved in many ways and continues too, that is the nature of business. Yoga is a business and I think many of us forget that. Many of those small studios are no longer here, pushed out by chains and bigger studios able to offer variety.
Yoga is still simple. You love it. You share it. You come to your mat and find your peace. I wouldn’t trade my home studios today for anything – they are lovely and they support where I am today but it’s nice to every once and while find yourself on the mat in a place that reminds you, the practice can be just as fabulous without all the glitter.