Post#3 in Series of Where to Yoga, Where not to! — The Experience, perspective, and reflections on Yoga Studios in Washington DC, Northern Virginia and Montreal.
Traveling near or far should not interfere with our yoga path and plans. Getting into a habit of taking a yoga class where you go can be a habit that will extend your life and well-being and leave you feeling relaxed in the midst of travel chaos, be it fun or business. As I continue the series of posts on Where to Yoga, I share with you my experience from frequent trips to Washington DC, Northern Virginia areas, and a pop in to the lovely Montreal city of Canada.
1. Tranquil Space Yoga (Washington DC): It was freezing cold in February when we decided to take yoga in downtown DC with my best friend. The studio is set in a very old beautiful building, extremely tight and well-organized in the small and dark space, and walking distance from a beautiful residential area. I took a Level 1 class that morning. The flooring was nice, and the studio space & comfortable. Gina taught a very basic Vinyasa class with nice flow. I would like to try their Level 2 classes next time. $17 for drop-in a bit too expensive though.
Time spent @ Tranquil Space Yoga: One class in February 2007
2. Beloved Yoga (Reston, VA): This is a most warm inviting welcoming studio that I could have stumbled upon during my week long stay here in DC area. I visited this gorgeous studio 3 times in 3 days – First, I took Maryam’s Hatha flow class on Wednesday morning – extremely unique style, very organic flow and creative journey to reverse triangle – our pose of the class. She was absolutely wonderful and knew best how to guide us into the pose. On Thursday evening, I was blissful from Devin’s Ashtanga class. I was slightly surprised that she did not start with the invocation – perhaps a beginner Ashtanga class consideration. She led us through one of my most beloved styles of Yoga – Ashtanga yoga, primary series – the adjustments were excellent and she was very well-versed within the Ashtanga style. She was also able to show us every pose, even as she was very pregnant. Impressive. I learned a lot in this class, in particular, doing a lift before every flow in Ashtanga to raise the spine and stretch it upwards. My last brave class was the 6am Vinyasa flow with Michelle. She was very unique. Extremely warm, gentle, inviting, soothing, and very challenging. She took us through another creative flow, with new variations of Chaturanga and up- and down-dog. Beloved Yoga also has a never expiring coupon off Google maps that they graciously accepted, so I gladly paid the $16 drop-in fee, although they offer a $30 unlimited weekly pass for out-of-town visitors. One of my absolute favorite studios!
It was thrilling to be back in DC area on the 4th and I took Maryam’s Vinyasa class again. Her warmth is contagious and her students seem drawn to her bright presence. She has a beautiful voice for teaching. What I found interesting in this class was how she integrated the breath of fire into the poses, it made them invigorating. She also took some liberty with creativity of some poses. The creativity of instructor is one of the reasons I love to spice up my yoga practice with many instructors. It just so happened that lucky me returned to the studio one more time in August during a business trip up to DC, and on a Monday night after a day of eating just raw food and working hard, I decided to take Johnny’s 2-hour vinyasa, to cleanse, to test my stamina, to work out the kinks in my body, or all of the above. The more yoga I do, I kept feeling, the more I crave it, the more I immerse into it, and the more it seems to love me in return. Johnny led a wonderfully similar style of Vinyasa to Vickie at my home studio, and I was once again restored and rejuvenated after visiting Beloved Yoga of Reston. Thank you!
Time spent @ Beloved Yoga: Week of Oct 6th, 2008 and Saturday, July 4th, 2009 and Monday, Aug 10th, 2009.
3. Ashtanga Montreal (Montreal, Quebec): I was determined to find a studio to take a class in Canada during our vacation. This yoga studio not only has a beautiful website (yes it matters to the mood and decision-making), it happens to have the most accommodating staff. I left a voice mail to inquire about the studio, and someone left me a kind message in a matter of minutes. The studio’s pricing is very good. $16 for drop-in for a location in the heart of downtown Montreal. I decided to take Eugene’s class on Sunday. However, now that I can laugh about this, I will admit that my husband and I went walking down St. Catherine East and never were able to locate a yoga studio naturally. We turned around and went up St. Catherine West until we found it (while class was in full session). It is also important to keep your eye on the right schedule for the season. My double faux-pas was looking at the summer schedule, so I would have been to this class late anyway. Funny how things work out best in the end after all!
I decided to return the next day for Jessie’s class. She was most welcoming and made me feel very safe and happy to be here. She led an amazingly unique class. While we did go through most of the Ashtanga primary series, we started class in seated postures, and with the help of a block. She started class in a meditation pose by having us place the block under the lower back, either the tall or short side up depending on our flexibility. She then had us stretch further in seated poses with the block. I loved how she incorporated the block without sacrificing the posture, esp. so early in the class. Then we went through a slow and rhythmic primary series. She talked mostly in English but did some translations into French. Her adjustments were wonderful, but most of all, I was amazed by Jessie’s flexibility. Her flexibility and ease into going to full poses had me at awe and I left the studio with a warm renewed inspiration in my heart. Mostly, she was very knowledgeable about yoga and a fabulous instructor to boot. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of yoga in Montreal. I highly recommend it and would most definitely return if ever back in Montreal.
Time spent @ Ashtanga Montreal: One class on September 14th, 2009.
Wherever you are, let yoga find and embrace you!