I started an early morning class at the yoga studio not because I’m an early bird, but because there was something I wanted to share. I used to enjoy going to Mysore classes from 7-9am, when I was practicing Astanga. At that time the class was also a “self-practice” class that meant it didn’t have to be the Ashtanga series, just a place for the student to come work on things with the eyes of a teacher nearby to ask questions of, receive feedback on alignment and any hands-on assisting.
I love teaching in the group setting, but I also am devoted to helping each student with where they are at, and creating an atmosphere that is more experimental, workshop-like, where the exchange between student and teacher is more fluid and interactive. I’ve been teaching a three hour workshop monthly for the past 13 years or so which is geared towards a more experienced student, one who can sit still for 25 minutes, and has an understanding of where they are at in their practice so to personalize their practice. I wish all classes could be three hours long, or maybe all classes could be one-on-one sessions. But alas, the time and resources are rarely there for such commitment, and so in remembering how much I benefited from the weekly self-practice classes I decided we’d give that a try. The class is called The Art of Practice.
The class starts at 7am on Fridays at Luma Yoga Center, Santa Cruz, but you can show up between 7-7:30am. The class goes til 8:20a but you can leave whenever you need to, to get to work, or if you just want a shorter practice. I’ve made some highly artistic stick figure drawings (not really) of poses and sequences that you can follow if you are not sure where to start. I’ve made one for low back health, one for a focus on twists, arms, and I’ll keep making more. I’ve got yoga flashcards (also handmade fantastic drawings) and a book of poses at your disposal.
Why is this an important class to consider attending? For me, it’s that this world is moving too fast, causing classes to be shorter, teaching to lack personalized attention. It’s that although we all have a humerus bone and a bicep tendon, we have vastly different stories. Different tightness, different injuries, different weaknesses, and yoga is a beautiful path to learning about ourselves and growing stronger, healthier and more grounded, and I’d love to participate in promoting that kind of yoga practice.
It’s okay if you don’t know how to sequence poses (good news, I’ll be there to help). Your practice doesn’t have to be clever or flowy, you can just do the poses. It’s okay if your scared because we always are when something is new and unknown, but the benefits are great. And lastly, the small group in attendance are all there with the cohesive intention of being in their practice, working on their world, and are always supportive of the group impulse to get up so early in the morning to face their practice.
1010 Center St.
Santa Cruz, CA
Fridays 7-8:20a The Art of Practice
Mon & Wed 5:30p-7p Vinyasa Flow all level
1st Saturday of the month 2:30-5p Deepening Your Practice
2nd Sunday of the month 5:30p-6:45p Yoga Nidra: Relax into Freedom