Summer Class Schedule

Our new Summer Schedule begins on Monday, June 5th!

Believe it or not, creating the Class Schedule is one of the toughest parts of running a yoga studio. I always take into account the students' needs (consistent schedule), the teachers' needs (their availability based on their full time job schedules, parenting and childcare schedules, etc.), and the studios' needs (putting the right classes in the right time slots to maximize attendance). As you might imagine, juggling these priorities is a tall order!

With the new Summer Schedule, the classes pretty much stay in the current timeslots (with a couple of small exceptions), but there are two other types of changes that I would like to explain.

The first is that since Kali moved away and other teachers experienced changes in their availability, you'll see some teachers teaching in new timeslots. This is not a big change, and in some ways it may even be perceived as a positive change, because as much as we enjoy the teachers in their current timeslots, it's good to look at things (the yoga practice) from a new perspective once in a while. It's an opportunity to understand things in a new way.

The second change is a bit more unusual. After lots of thought and weighing the idea with the TYR staff, I've decided to change the way we name our classes.

Since the beginning of The Yoga Room (2010!), we've had class names like Gentle, Hatha I, Prenatal, Flow, Slow Flow, Hatha II, etc. These types of names are commonly used for yoga classes in the US, but after years of answering questions about "Is the Gentle class for beginners?" "What's the difference between Hatha II and Hatha Flow?" "Which is the most advanced class?" I've realized that these class names are problematic for a few reasons:

1. These names are very confusing to people who are new to yoga. They don't inherently understand the difference between Gentle, Hatha I, Flow, Slow Flow, etc. And since they're unclear about what to expect in a class, they feel uneasy or nervous, and it often delays them beginning their yoga practice. We want EveryBody to practice yoga, so we need a more straightforward naming convention.

2. Students tend to get mentally locked in to what they can and can't do, "I only do Gentle classes!" "I only do Flow!", which limits *when* they can attend classes. I'm hoping that our new naming convention will encourage folks to be more open to wandering outside their comfort zone. In a future newsletter I'll talk more about the yogic concept of attachment and how attachment inevitably causes pain in our lives. Being more open and willing to trying new things can be a way to practice non-attachment.

3. The new naming convention gives teachers more freedom to teach more of what they know. As it is, instruction inevitably varies within each class. For example, you may do a bit of flow to warm up for a Hatha I class, or you might do some restorative poses in a Gentle class. You might do some deep relaxation at the end of Flow. You might even flow in a Gentle class. Our new class names create a broader definition, so the teacher can use more tools to bring about a desired outcome.

With all this in mind, I've finally settled on naming the classes according to their level of intensity: Gentle, Moderate, and Strong.

  • Gentle - Gentle intensity class. A slower pace makes this class appropriate for both beginners and experienced practitioners.
  • Moderate - Moderate intensity class appropriate for both beginners and experienced practitioners.
  • Strong - Strong intensity class for experienced practitioners. May include faster paced sequences and/or stronger postures.

The Gentle and Moderate classes are appropriate for beginners because their pace tends to be a bit slower, creating time for new students to understand the alignment and intention of each posture or sequence.

All of the classes are appropriate for "advanced" practitioners, as advanced practice is dependent upon the practitioner's degree of focus and their self-awareness. As yoga students, we are all on the path to becoming advanced practitioners.

I'd love to hear any thoughts or questions you may have about our new class schedule or our new class naming convention. Please feel welcome to post your comments on our blog, on our FB post, or to email me directly.

I look forward to seeing you soon!


P.S. - A note for the students who attend my classes, and for students who may be interested in attending my classes. You'll see that most of my classes have been renamed from Gentle to Moderate. This name change is a reflection of the way my teaching style has changed over the past several months since I began my training in the Krishnamacharya tradition. The degree of intensity will remain as it currently is.

RIP Beautiful Tree

On Wednesday morning I arrived at the studio to sub the 10:30 class and a small work crew was standing in front of the studio. I quickly realized they were preparing to cut down the beautiful tree that stands (stood) in front of our window. I was shocked, as were the students who were arrived early for my class and the students who were finishing up the Pilates class.

I called the property manager to get some information. She normally lets me know when any type of work will be happening on the property. It turns out the work had been scheduled for the end of June, but the crew had some time available and they showed up ahead of schedule.

According to the property manager, it was necessary to remove the tree because its roots were causing the walkway to become uneven, posing a safety issue. And the roots were also affecting the foundation and thus our ability to fully open our front door.

By now, I think everyone knows that the entire property will be demolished toward the end of 2014 for a road construction project. It didn't make sense to me why our tree needed to be removed now.

As I prepared to teach the class, one of the workers climbed up the tree with a chain saw and a machete. Susan, one of the ladies in my class, walked to the front of the studio and picked up a yoga strap. She said we should form a protest and volunteered to strap herself to the tree. She was half serious, but her comment helped lighten the mood. We were all sad about what would transpire.

The crew started cutting the smaller branches, then worked their way to the bigger branches. Bit by bit, the whole tree started to come down. Cindy, another lady in my class, spoke up as we were putting away our props at the end of the practice.

She said she was distracted during class because she saw 3 birds fly by looking for the tree. She observed that the birds didn't panic, they just seemed to acknowledge that the tree was gone. She said the birds taught her a lesson in non-attachment. I was proud of her yogic learning, but at the same time I mourned the loss of a home for the birds and squirrels, and the loss of life of the tree.

When I got home, I posted a note on the private Facebook page the TYR teachers use to communicate. I told the teachers that the tree was being cut down, and they responded with notes of sadness and loss.

Emily: I loved that tree. Now from where will the squirrels watch yoga class?

Angela: I've already teared up a couple of times. I'm nervous about going to the studio. I've created a little something for people to sign (if they want) to give a little closure.

Stacy: The squirrel came by right as the pregnant ladies were leaving, looking for the tree. He just moved on. I think [this lesson] is to help us let go. The studio is changing. It's moving, it's growing, it's expanding. It's not the same that it was. We can't get too caught up with what's on the surface - that doesn't mean we can't feel sad, but our emotions show us where our own gaps are. It's a gift. We will miss what was, but along with every rebirth comes some destruction.

The next day, I was scheduled to teach the 8:00 a.m. class. I was nervous walking up to the studio. I didn't know what to expect, literally and emotionally.

After class, I posted another note for the teachers: It was a shock to walk up to the front door and feel like my friend the tree was missing. In its absence the studio is brighter, but I miss the filtered light. I miss the long branch that grew horizontally. I had always wanted to hang a wind chime or sun catcher on it. The orange cones and Caution tape in the tree's place add insult to injury.

And the teachers responded...

Angela: It looks like a crime scene. I was so "out of sorts" when I entered the studio this morning. Ungrounded. Everyone in my class felt that way as we started. By the end were stabilized, re-grounded, & re-connected & had a bit of closure for the loss of our beautiful tree. During class I saw the little squirrel running around the courtyard. He seemed lost. One student suggested putting a green umbrella & little table where the tree stood. Another student suggested we have a little ceremony. I observed another student pause at the tree site & reflect with her hand on her heart.

On the surface, it may seem silly that we are all so attached to a tree. We may not even have realized how attached we are or were. Yoga teaches non-attachment - not getting attached to things or people. I've written about non-attachment before, you can read the post here. It's easier for me to be non-attached to material things, but this week I learned that being non-attached to living things is significantly harder.

As the teachers and I mourn the loss of the tree and learn lessons from our emotions and thoughts, I know you may have reactions you'd like to share. Please post your thoughts and sentiments in the Comments section below.

XO, Zelinda