If you’ve been reading this for a while, or if you follow me on Twitter or in real life, you know that I’ve been pretty passionate about yoga lately. Certainly, I’ve been periodically practicing for the past few years, finding a few studios here and there that I’ve really loved (Shoutout to Replenish in Columbus and YogaRoots in Cleveland), but only recently did I begin practicing on a more regular basis. Yoga really stepped into my life at a moment where I really needed it; having been diagnosed with a low lumbar stress fracture and essentially being unable to finish the final season of my one of my true passions, hurdling, I was left feeling down on myself and my physical condition. My physical therapist put me on a no-run plan for an indefinite number of weeks, which devastated me. I needed something, anything, which would make me feel strong and capable the way running, and, specifically, hurdling, had.
Enter yoga. I was told I had a weak back, extremely-tight hamstrings, and the combo of the two would mean a series of back injuries for the rest of my life if I did not change my tune, so I decided to give yoga a more serious try. I bought a month’s package at Studio Oxygen in my hometown and padded in to my first class amid all of the Fit Soccer Moms of Canfield (they should really have a reality TV show about these women). I was hooked–by the end of the summer, I really felt more flexible–I could put my full palm on the ground in standing forward fold!–and stronger than ever, which allowed me to begin running again (I raced a 2 mile at the very end of August and actually hit a PR, which was huge for me–I hadn’t been able to hit a PR in anything running related in over a year, which was extremely frustrating and exhausting–but that’s another story for another time). Seeing the good it has done in me for such a short period of time, I knew at this point that yoga must become a regular part of my life–but how?
The other day, I was walking back from my local Trader Joe’s (or Heaven, as some people know it), having picked up some organic and natural products for a low price, when I stumbled upon a sign that read “Yoga to the People.” Puzzled, I did a quick Google search, which informed me that this was a yoga studio that offered donation-based Vinyasa and hot yoga Bikram-style classes. Donation based essentially means you give what you can, with a suggested donation of $10 per class. Now, $10 per class was pretty much cheaper than any yoga studio I had ever seen, save for the free classes with Amy back in the John Carroll University Rec Center, so I was sold. The next day, I pulled my hair into a top knot, packed my mat and a water bottle, and walked to the studio for a donation-based 60 minute Vinyasa class(it’s less than a mile from my apartment!). Upon walking in, I was greeted by the desk worker, who took my donation and directed me toward the women’s locker room, where I could lock up my stuff and get prepared for class.
This was truly the most intrinsically yoga experience I’ve had to date. People of all walks of life (and in various states of dress) entered the room and joined together in the same practice of yoga. Man and woman, old and young, each paying what they could, doing yoga as it was intended to be practiced. It was truly a poetic experience. I will certainly be back!
Want to see for yourself? Here is their Mantra, taken from their website:
Yoga for everyone–isn’t what it is all about? Namaste.