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Sunday, February 18, 2007

practicing ahimsa

1332 Hermosa Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
(310) 798-0377
website: www.yogasofia.com

We are committed to providing our clients with:

1. The highest quality of yoga instruction available. We strive to provide only the most dedicated, experienced, and well-educated yogis for our staff so that everyone who come to us can relax in the knowledge that they are receiving practical, accurate, and safe instruction.

2. An environment that is supportive, rejuvenating, and relaxing -- a genuine solace from the stresses of job, family, traffic, and city life.

3. Support and inform our members' desire for greater health and happiness. We are committed to providing workshops, detox seminars, publications, and customer benefits brought by our founding of Heal the South Bay, an alliance of alternative health professionals of the South Bay.

4. We are committed to helping rescue lost, abused, and seized animals, and to educating the public about their plight. We support the spaying and neutering of companion animals and a TNR (trap, neuter, return) policy for feral cats and dogs that can no longer be tamed. While it may seem a far cry from the practice of yoga to officially respond to this need, we feel that the protection we can provide to the most innocent and humble among us is just one of many powerful ways to develop our capacity to love-- and to thereby extend the practice of yoga into our daily lives.

after reading that last item in yogasofia's mission statement, the sanskrit term that immediately came to mind was:

ahimsa (ə-hĭm'sä') - A Buddhist and Hindu doctrine expressing belief in the sacredness of all living creatures and urging the avoidance of harm and violence.

their dedication to practicing ahimsa was clearly evident after i read this offer that they extend to all their students:

Any individual who rescues an animal from a city facility may obtain a certificate from us for one month of unlimited classes at our studio.

not only that, but this recent announcement further reinforces their commitment to providing a supportive environment to all their students:

We have added BABYSITTING for all of our Tuesday & Thursday Classes. Just $2 per child, or free for VIP Members.

so not only do the residents of hermosa beach get to enjoy the daily pleasures of southern california beach living, but they also get pet adoption thank-you gifts and affordable access to child care during yoga class. lucky them!

as for us yoga aficionados who don't have kids who need to be babysat (thankfully, my kids are old enough to care for themselves) nor have the desire to acquire a pet (at least not any time soon), there are other reasons to pay a visit to yogasofia.

like their 6:30am yoga classes for early birds (definitely NOT me). and their 7:30pm classes for night owls (which work quite well with my work schedule). and the saturday morning disco yoga class (which i'm dying to try right after my scheduled saturday morning training runs end). and if they ever find a way to offer free parking (it's currently $1 an hour near the studio), it would be the perfect place to practice!

last week, after putting in a long day at the office, i drove out to yogasofia to take mishalin modena's level 1/2 class. the studio was located in the heart of hermosa beach, just north of the corner of hermosa and pier avenues. with the starbucks and coffee bean stores right across the street and a number of restaurants in the immediate vicinity, there were many options for pre-class drinking and post-class dining.

after circling the area in search of free parking and finding none, i parked at a nearby meter and made my way through the courtyard to yogasofia (note: the parking structure is the better way to go; not only do you not have to deal with finding enough coins to feed your meter, but you'll never get a parking ticket even if you stay longer than expected.)

mishalin's class turned out to be very intimate; there were only four of us practicing with her that evening. all of us seemed to have injuries that we were dealing with -- knees, back, whatever -- and mishalin nicely modified her class to accommodate all our issues. she's a regular at saul david raye's classes at exhale venice, which clearly explains her style of yoga instruction.

i've added her class to my list of post-work options; i'll need to return to try out the other teachers to see what their classes are like... including keith's new "rockin' yoga" class on fridays at 6pm, if i can sneak out of work early :)