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Friday, May 12, 2006

progress report

Home Simply Yoga
1547 6th Street

Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 899-1930

We will be using a modern approach to the ancient Ashtanga system, as taught by T. Krishnamacharya and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois with individualized instruction being given in a group setting. In this way we can insure that the practice of yoga suits an individual's needs and abilities, providing appropriate physical challenges along with multiple healing benefits.

last february, i had heard about a new yoga studio that had opened just a mile or two down the street from my home. when i checked out its website, i had found out that not only was it primarily an ashtanga studio, but it also charged $20 per class! i couldn't see myself paying a lot of money for a style of yoga that i didn't particularly care for. which really bothered me, because, if you haven't figured it out yet by now, i've been trying to hit every yoga studio in town. and not being able to take a class at this studio was getting in the way of that goal.

anyway, i finally did manage to check off home simply yoga from my to-do list, thanks to jodi and my positive experience in her ashtanga class earlier in the week and the free pass i got from the salesperson at the lucy store. and not only did i enjoy my visit, but i believe i've made another step forward in my ashtanga practice.

when i walked through the sliding glass door, i was greeted by gary margolin, studio owner (or part owner?) and the designated instructor for that evening's class. since i had shown up early, he gave me a quick tour of the place. he explained that everything in the studio was eco-friendly, from the PVC-free yoga mats for sale in the boutique to the relatively paperless way they did business (information is shared via email and phone). the mahogany wood flooring as well as the cabinets were recycled; they were taken from the former AX armani exchange store in santa monica when it was converted into the new planet blue store. even the paper cups for the water and tea were made of recycled materials. and if that weren't enough to show their commitment to the environment, the studio also gives discounts to all students who either walk, bike, or take the bus to class. so since it's only one bus ride away for me, you know how i'm getting there the next time i show up for class!

according to yogajournal.com, home simply yoga is "A modern approach to the ancient Ashtanga practice where individualized attention and therapeutic applications create a private lesson in a group setting." and after taking gary's led ashtanga level one class, i totally agree.

there were five students in our class. two were brand-new to yoga, two had been taking hatha classes and were new to ashtanga, and one was a seasoned practitioner and regular who had brought along two of her friends (one of the beginners and one of the hatha students). during the course of the class, gary explained to us the reasons behind the poses in the series, how one logically led to the next, and the best way to get into each pose. in the interest of time, he skipped over some poses but instructed the "veteran" to follow the series as appropriate and catch up with us whenever possible. i don't think there was any time when any of us felt like we were in over our heads (or likewise, bored while he went over the basics with the newbies). while some of us worked on modified jump-throughs and jump-backs, others just skipped the vinyasa altogether. and that was perfectly okay.

i really don't know how large the classes get, but it seemed, at least for that one class that i took, that we all got personalized attention. gary mentioned that he does the same during the two-hour long led primary series classes on sunday mornings. he gives modifications, he suggests some poses that might be skipped until a student is better prepared for them, and so on. at that point, i was just about to commit myself to showing up at this sunday's class when i realized that it was mother's day and i had already other plans.

since gary's the only one who teaches the led primary series class, it looks like it'll be some time before i can try a class with another teacher. not only do i have to wait until i become more proficient, but i also have to be more financially stable, since there's still the issue of their classes being, unfortunately, more expensive than most...