I've discovered that doing yoga truly makes me happy. A few people around here can attest to the fact that once I get home from a yoga class, I chatter on like a monkey in a tree. However, I am completely convinced that my happiness is directly related to the amount of yoga in which I participate. The past few days have been hard for me emotionally and I needed to do something positive to help remove me from the "samskara" I've run into. (A samskara is a Sanskrit term for "rut.")
I worked from 7-4 yesterday and then immediately left for Dupont Circle for the 5:15 Flow 1 class at Flow Yoga. This studio has received rave reviews from Yoga Journal, Washington City Paper, Body and Soul Magazine and various other sources. So I thought, "how can this be bad?" It was less than welcoming at the onset due to the door being locked and having to be buzzed in. Why would the door be locked at 5 pm? Whatever. Up the tiny purple staircase to the second floor where they have a small studio, registration desk, a few items for sale, and a waiting area. The space is cute and cramped but has won numerous awards and recognition for being green and sustainable.
Walking up the stairs one might be feel slightly clausterphobic but being up in the "public space" is so much worse. There was hardly room to turn around, let alone carry your yoga mat or remove your shoes in the appropriate location. The staff was friendly enough but not overly inviting or warm. I made my way to the Shiva studio which is on the same floor as the reception. There is a larger studio upstairs which I was anxious to see, but never made it up there.
Anyway, the class filled up with about 3 guys and 9 girls and then the instructor came in. I was disappointed from the start. She was less than friendly and brought in this aura of discontent and boredom. I understand that people have bad days and that perhaps that was her case, but if you're going to teach yoga, try to leave that stuff at the door. Try to remember why you're there and what your purpose really is. Class itself was fine. Nothing to really write home about, but it was good to be breathing intentionally and moving in a way that invigorates me. Class lasted only one hour and I was glad to be on my way to dinner.
One thing I have observed about the yoga community here in DC is the lack of community. I feel it's perceived as "the cool, trendy thing to do" and that's why most people are there. You're making a statement by walking down the street with your yoga mat casually strung across your shoulder or with the latest style of Be Present pants. And it's not the statement I am used to or the one I want to make! I think less and less of the participants here really care about the yoking of mind and body or the other positive side effects of this ancient practice.
Maybe I was spoiled beyond belief in SC (which I am learning that in many , many ways I was) by my yoga kula and other aspects of life. However, there was a real sense of community at City Yoga. I truly had the feeling that people genuinely cared about one another and the well-being of the entire cosmic oneness we share. Here it seems very isolated and impersonal, neglecting the power of unity. It is very DC. Everyone on their own path, not really caring or even considering how those paths might cross. It's very disappointing and unsettling to me. It's not what I believe yoga to be about.
So all that said, I am going to try yet ANOTHER yoga studio in DC. This one is closer to home, and I've read the testimonials so I have a smidgen of hope. By the time I find a yoga community I love, it will be time to leave DC. Oh well--I need to figure out something to keep me happy in the meantime.