Legend: BLUE-open, RED-closed, GREEN-by donation
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Friday, March 10, 2006

will work for yoga

Santa Monica Power Yoga - West
1410 2nd Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 458-9510
website: www.poweryoga.com

Donation: the Act of Giving

For those of you unfamiliar with a donation-based yoga studio, please understand that the payment of our monthly rent and expenses which exceeds $15,000 per month as well as the livelihood of our incredibly dedicated instructors comes ONLY through your donations.

Donation does not mean free. How much you give, how much you are able to give from the suggested $11 per class to $0.00, that is your business and personal. We certainly do not want to prevent you from practicing yoga simply because you don’t have the cash. We trust that through giving freely to all of you, the universe will take care of us through all of you. We also believe yoga is for EVERYBODY who wants to participate.

P.S. There are other ways to give besides monetarily. Please inquire at the front desk if you would like to donate to our studio in some other way. - Bryan Kest

and so i did.

put in an hour or so of work, i was told, and in exchange, i would be able to take a class for free. i probably would NOT have considered it a few months ago while i was gainfully employed, partly because i wouldn't have had the time anyway, and partly because money was less of a problem then. however, now that i'm living off unemployment and the kindness of friends and strangers, every dollar counts.

so that's how i found myself refolding t-shirts and dusting cubbyholes before my yoga class earlier this afternoon. while i straightened books and cd's, reorganized yoga props, and wiped fingerprints off cabinet doors, i kept telling myself that as mindless as my assignment seemed, it was needed to keep the studio running smoothly. which meant that all volunteers were needed to keep the studio running smoothly. which meant that i was needed. that feeling of importance and self-worth was enough to make me want to finish my tasks as well as i could AND sign up for another shift next week.

the studio refers to it as karma yoga. i found this suggestion on the yogamovement.com website: "... practice karma yoga, the yoga of spiritual action and selfless service to others... Volunteer, no matter how busy you are or how out of your way it takes you. The true follower of the karma path acts without thought of gain or reward. It is just the right thing to do. Of course, we should practice karma yoga every day of the year, but many of us just don't get around to fitting it into our busy lives..."

i have to admit that my intentions aren't entirely altruistic. by becoming a familiar face in the studio, i'm hoping that i'll get to know the teachers and the staff better and maybe even get an up close and personal view of the yoga business. maybe i'll discover and learn more things that i can write about. or maybe i'll be lucky enough to take advantage of some yoga deal that's available to "insiders" only.

speaking of yoga deals, i also found out that all volunteers can purchase anything in the store at a discount... now that's what i call good karma!