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Friday, July 18, 2008

a committed practice

present this at the front desk for a free week of classes.

for the typical yoga student who cashes in a studio's promo pass, that translates to three, maybe even four, free classes during that 7-day period. the hope, of course, is that he/she will connect with the teachers, the style of yoga, and the variety of class offerings on the studio's schedule, then continue to show up -- on a paid basis -- from then on.

i recently received such a pass for the membership-only yoga works south bay, courtesy of the newly-shuttered yogasofia (i touched on that handover recently in a previous post).

yoga works south bay is located in el segundo, about halfway between my office in torrance and my home in santa monica. on a typical weekday afternoon, i can zoom northbound on the 405 and exit at rosecrans before the traffic starts to bog down just past LAX. from there, it's a quick couple of miles towards the ocean on rosecrans to the commercial complex's parking lot, where i can easily pull into a parking spot right in front of the studio. very convenient. not only that, but by the time class lets out, most commuters have already reached their destinations, which makes driving home a breeze.

so you would think that it would make total sense for me to make it my home base. but can you imagine me making a financial commitment to one yoga studio? who knows; stranger things have happened :)

with my almost-daily yoga practice, i wondered what it would be like to practice solely at YWSB. so i checked my calendar, blocked off seven consecutive days, picked the specific teachers and classes i wanted to take, then presented my pass as instructed to the friendly face at the front desk.

i explained to her that i already had a yoga works account with at least two dozen prepaid classes still on it (i made the large investment right before they raised their class fees at the beginning of the year) and wanted to make sure that any class i took during the week came from the free pass rather than from the prepaid series. not a problem, she assured me, as she offered to give me a tour of the facility. thanks, but that's ok, i said, as i gathered my belongings. i'd taken a couple of classes there before and had already made my acquaintance with their luxe surroundings...

i'm happy to report that after taking advantage of some teacher substitutions, i actually managed to take 7 classes with 7 different teachers that week. some iyengar here, some vinyasa flow there, with beginner-level classes thrown in for fun:

day 1, wednesday - vinyasa flow 2 with marla wedge
day 2, thursday - yogaworks 1/2 with anne van valkenburg
day 3, friday - candlelight flow 2/3 with garth hewitt (subbing for marla wedge)
day 4, saturday - yogaworks 1/2 with zhi myers
day 6, monday - iyengar 1/2 with koren paalman
day 7, tuesday - yogaworks flow 2 with greville henwood (subbing for malachi melville) AND vinyasa flow 2/3 with angela kukhahn

and no, that's no typo. i actually skipped a day.

you see, on day 5, sunday, i took shiva rea's class at exhale venice. i couldn't help it -- dave stringer was performing live during her class and i wasn't about to miss that! besides, the thought of driving all the way out to to the south bay just to prove a point seemed pointless. especially since i had burned a ton of fossil fuel on saturday, first heading east to hollywood to take the crunch antigravity class, then west to redondo beach to get my hair done, up to el segundo to take my second class for the day, back east to larchmont for dave stringer's fundraiser kirtan that evening, and finally back west for home. so to make amends, i stayed local and kept my car garaged all day sunday. al gore would have been proud of me.

as for my taking two classes on day 7, tuesday, i blame no one but myself. and to some degree, greville :)

you see, i was all set to take angela's class that tuesday. i was going to stay late at work, or maybe even get some errands done, before her 7:45pm class. but on monday night, i received a note from greville saying that he was subbing for malachi at 6pm. i couldn't resist; i love greville's quirky sense of humor. so i opted for the back-to-back. besides, my missing sunday would have put me at 6 for 7, and i couldn't admit defeat, could i? yes, i know. i'm sick.

anyway, the long and the short of it is that after my week-long experiment, i've come to the conclusion that i just can't commit to one studio. i'm NOT a creature of habit. i can't see myself driving to the same studio, day after day, taking the same classes with the same teachers. and parking in the same parking lot before class. or picking up dinner at the same place after class. i need to mix things up, i need variety. anusara, power yoga, even kundalini -- i need them all! sadly, though, i can't get them all at just one place. oh well.

so thanks, yoga works south bay (and yogasofia), for the week of free classes! but for now, i'll continue to stop by once every 30 days or so. and maybe even more frequently, if and when you finally relax your restricted drop-in policy :)