Yoga Hop 2014: East Wind Yoga

This week’s random thought: When we stay in the present moment it becomes nearly impossible to feel anything but good; to notice the small things that ordinarily don’t catch our full attention. A stranger’s smile, a hummingbird buzzing by, or that moment on the  mat of complete surrender that reminds me everything  unfolds exactly as it should.

   East Wind!

When I look at a studio schedule and  see “hot yoga” as opposed to say, my personal faves, “flow” or “vinyassa,” I figure it’s, you know, those 26 postures that lube up the joints and are set in a pretty strict structure.  That said, I got nothing against the cute little Indian guy that created it, and I probably need a little more structure in my life, but seriously, when someone gets testy about me wiping sweat off my brow or winking at myself in the mirror, I can get annoyed.

So when I heard that this studio offered something that was way different, I must admit, my curiosity was piqued and  my water bottle filled.  I choose to do this yoga hop at its Roseville location which was easy enough to find, considering my directional dyslexia.  As soon as I walked in I was greeted with a hello so huge I was sure I must have known this little ray of sunshine from another life…or yoga studio. Susie  glowed with positive energy, as evidenced by her ability to use the word “shit” and “honey” in the same sentence. Trust me, this takes talent. I liked her immediately.

Susie was more than happy to act as my tour guide as we traversed the building that’s much larger than its storefront implies. The studio itself is warm, with burnt orange walls and lovely, shiny blond floors. And  you know how I feel about floors–they matter, dammit.  I also liked the metal  warehouse-like ceiling. I wondered how it sounded when it rains. I was super excited to see a super-sized gong in the practice room. A gong! Beyond the studio and dressing rooms, Susie let me take a look out back, and I swear it was like stepping into the Dali Lama’s backyard. A lovely pond and statue, and I’m pretty sure I saw locus flowers…but maybe it was lily pads. I’m imaginative like that. All I could think about was that dang gong.

So when class starts  I’m basking in the warm room, ready to dutifully assume my standing breathing pose, when Susie pulls a fast one. She says we’re starting in a seated position. What? I instantly felt like I was playing hookie from yoga school and am pretty sure I giggled. Susie started to lead us through some amazing and opening floor poses. I was digging the heck out of it. I think the heat and the feeling of joy must have overtook me when I stood up and yelled, “Mr. B has left the building! Okay, I didn’t really do that, but I really wanted to.

Susie and her little tattooed body knew just what to do to test my balance, flexibility, and strength. She did what I love and told stories while we held poses that we really didn’t want to hold, but knew we would be better people if we did. The heat allowed me to go a deeper, and I’m pretty sure that even my hips were having a good time. They didn’t open all the way, but they didn’t cuss at me like usual either.  An amazing yoga class to me is when my body surrenders and my spirit sings. That point when I hit the mat for the last little rest to let all the changes happen.

Susie’s stories were not common, but not embellished either. It is not easy to expose yourself the way she does for her students, and I love her for it. During that last pose, as I melted into my mat, Susie read something that was so beautiful it made me smile, as I lay there trying to remember where I left my arms. I can’t recall the exact words, but it must have been a postcard or letter that served as the perfect prose to go with the pose that nearly had me snoring.

In a current piece I am writing about what makes a yoga studio successful, it occurred to me that whatever “it” is, this studio has plenty.  Imagine my excitement when I learned they have another location in Auburn for me to hop at in the future! Worth the drive if it’s nearly as warm, inviting, and wonderful as the Roseville digs.

I recommend a visit to this studio:  http://eastwindyoga.com/