Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day visit to a new studio

Ok. Not that bad ;)  My regular shala was closed for Labor Day today.  I was a bit worried about how and where to practice.  In my living room on the thick carpet that my mat bunches up on with the air conditioner blasting was a possibility.  That didn't seem very pleasant. It was tempting to just take the day off.  And yet, I've been on a real roll this summer with not missing any classes and didn't want to lose momentum.  Then, in a serendipitous moment, I was in line at the Whole Foods waiting to use the restroom.  There was a conveniently placed cork board with "community announcements."  Way up in the right corner was a little postcard advertising Yoga Mala Shala.  I was curious about it and remembered to look it up when I got home.  Here, it turns out that there is a an authorized teacher holding Mysore classes right here in my neighborhood.  I considered contacting her to see if she would be open today.

Here's the bad lady part.  About two years ago, I was in a similar situation. The studio where I practiced would be closed or self-practice one day.  I knew the teacher at another studio.  He had actually subbed for my teacher on numerous occasions.  And the studio where he taught was two blocks from my house.  So, I thought, I'll drop in on R.  It will be nice to take a class with him.  When I got there he asked if I was still practicing with K.  I said yes and explained that her studio was closed that morning.  He said that I really shouldn't jump around from school to school but I could stay.  I didn't really consider dropping in to one class after 6 years "jumping around," but the point was well taken.  Then, at some point in my practice, his assistant, also someone I knew from the neighborhood, came to give me an adjustment.  R admonished her, "Don't adjust her.  She doesn't practice here." 

Now, I bring this up, not to bad mouth R.  He's a fantastic teacher and has every right to have rules in his shala.  I actually found the situation more comical than anything else.  However, this was in the back of my mind this weekend as I considered practicing at Yoga Mala Shala while Shanti Yoga was closed. 

First, I wrote to K, the neighborhood teacher to ask permission to drop in for one class and told her that I practice with G.  She welcomed me to come to the class and didn't seem to have an issue that it would be a one time or once in a great while thing. 

At first, I thought this would work out great.  Then, I got really paranoid.  K was going to let me drop in there.  But what if G had an issue with me studying with another teacher.  I wondered if I should keep it a secret, but that thought made me feel guilty.  So, I asked G's permission.  He had no issue with it and said that K was actually lovely person and a great teacher.

K's studio just opened in June.  It's space rented in a converted church on Mt. Vernon and 17th Streets in the Fairmount neighborhood, only a 5 minute bike ride for me.  The old space had a warm and cozy feel with some lit candles and K's little altar adorned with pictures of Guruji and flowers.  Two other students were practicing when I came in (a bit late!).  K warmly welcomed me.  She gave some wonderful adjustments, some which I hadn't experienced before.  After practice we had a lovely conversation about the developing Ashtanga yoga scene in Philadelphia.  

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