Monday, August 22, 2016

Studio Review: Maya Yoga, Kansas City, Mo

A studio shout-out is needed: 

I recently visited Kansas City, MO, for a convention and found myself within walking distance of Maya Yoga - an Ashtanga studio in the Arts district of downtown Kansas City.

I admit, I was a little (a lot?) nervous about trying an Ashtanga Studio, not because of the sequence, but because I have had a bad experience at a different Ashtanga studio whose name I shall not mention.  This other studio was elitist, cliquish, and just unwelcoming.  If you weren't practicing The Primary series in an absolutely traditional fashion, well...go somewhere else. 

Maya Yoga was 180* different.  I was welcomed at the front desk, and when I explained I was just visiting for the week, I was shown the option of a two week trial period of three classes, which was a really good deal!  I appreciate being offered that rather than just being shoved into the pay-as-I go option. 

The studio was warm, brightly light, and inviting.  The other students made eye contact and said "hello", which is nice when in a strange place.  The students talked, joked, and caught up with each other, which *I* like to see because that tells me a community is being developed.  The instructor took a moment to ask if I knew the sequence, explained he added a couple poses, and welcomed me.  Again - nice! 

And I was SO impressed by the class!  Led by John Moran (according to the schedule), he made the Primary series enjoyable and approachable.  He offered alternate places to work while challenging the more advanced practitioners.  Something I really appreciate in a class.   His cuing was solid, flowed, and had a good cadence.   I was ecstatic.  I haven't enjoyed the primary series like that in years.

Next class I took as a Noon class:  Ashtanga "Power Hour", led by Kim Johnson.  This combined part of the Primary series standing sequence with the first handful of poses from the secondary series.  Awesome!  One of those, why haven't I done this?!   Again, the instructor had great cuing, and offered a variety of places for people to work. 

Last class (sadly), was Led Primary Series by Lainie Pasquini.  Room got a bit warmish, probably hit 90* and very humid (not much unlike a Corepower class), and I thought it cool that the instructor did open some windows to blow out some of that stuffy humidity.   This instructor reminded me a bit of myself.  Very enjoyable session and I was sad it was my last. 

So, if you EVER find yourself in Kansas City, TRY THIS STUDIO.   I see why they've earned the recognition they have posted: 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Being Helpful or an Annoyance?

I hadn't realized so much time had passed since my last posting.  I haven't been to any yoga training this year, opting not to attend the YogaFit Mind Body Conference in Minneapolis in June.  I think I was a bit burnt out from all the workshops I attended last year and needed a break from travel.  

This post topic has been bumping around in my head for a while and I decided to update the blog and jot down my thoughts at the same time.

Background:  I'm an instructor and student.  I understand what it's like to be in a room that is quickly filling up, new faces need welcoming and orienting, regulars saying hi and wanting to catch up, people chatting with mat neighbors (building community!), music needs to be started, doors closed and announcements made.  It can get unexpectedly busy

Situation:  I had the opportunity to attend a class recently (yay!) and the above happened.  It was well after the official start of class, I was next to the door, and, as a courtesy, got up to shut the door and turn off the foyer light.  A small thing.  I've done it before and usually get a nod of thanks from the instructor. 

This time I had the opposite effect than what I had intended.

The instructor rushed over, telling me to sit down and that she would take care of it, that I should enjoy being there without doing "teacher" duties. 

The impression I received was one of annoyance, that she wanted to be able to control the door/class setting and I had stepped on her toes.

This made me reassess my actions: 
  • Was I being helpful or inadvertently sending a message about her time or class management?
  • Was I being helpful or impinging upon her need to be in control?  
  • Was I being helpful or causing her undo stress/anxiety because she wasn't accommodating another instructor.
I have no way of knowing with out asking, and our paths rarely cross if at all.  My intent was simply to help: instructor is busy with a full and boisterous class; I'm next to the door, I can shut the door.  

Ultimately, I can only control my actions, motives, and responses and if the above situation arises again, let it be. 

From the Bhagavad Gita, in which Krishna shares one of the teachings that has always resonated with me: ‘Let your concern be with action alone, and never with the fruits of action. Do not let the results of action be your motive, and do not be attached to inaction’.