August 1, 2013

bhakti in motion

Down the street from my old apartment on the West End of Portland, and hidden above a local and kind of sketchy grocers, lives Bhakti in Motion, a "Yoga, Dance, and Healing Arts" studio. Since coming home from the retreat I've been a little lax about keeping up a regular practice, so when Kelsey convinced me to go to a class I was pumped.

Wednesday evenings at 5:30 is a donation-based Hatha class. Turns out it's taught by a girl (woman? At what age do girls become women? I still refer to my 27-year-old-self as a girl) who I went to college with.

Things that I thought were great about the class:

  • The location. It's not in the Old Port which means you can probably find parking. It's also about a minute away from Kelsey's apartment.
  • The studio. It's very un-fancy, it's large enough to not feel cramped, and it's really cozy feeling with minimal pleasing decor and darkish walls.
  • The vibe. I really dislike going to studios to find every single person dressed in Lululemon and being super intense. I prefer a yoga class that's a little more relaxed and earthy. I like my yoga for the meditative benefits, and think of the fitness as a nice bonus. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with Lululemon, or people who sport it. Their pants do make your ass look amazing.
  • The class itself and teaching. It was great! Really. In my opinion it was a perfect combination of mindful meditation and challenging poses. I dug it. The size was also perfect, with plenty of room to spread out but with enough people to create good energy. Caroline was also very easy to listen to and follow.
  • The donation style. One of my biggest hang ups with practicing yoga at a studio is the cost. I simply can't afford to pay upwards of $15 per class. I was forgetful and didn't have any cash on me last night so ended up not paying anything, which I felt a little bit guilty for but that came from myself; I wasn't made to feel guilty by the teacher or studio. And I know I can donate a bit more next time. This studio is also very affordable. A 10 class pass is $100, which is the lowest I've seen anywhere in Portland.

What do you look for in a yoga studio? I personally prefer something low-key, with no frills, and the thing I try to avoid above all is a super crowded class. I like to feel that I have room to stretch out without hitting my neighbor. I went to a few classes when I lived in Manhattan that were so crowded that there was literally only a quarter inch separating my mat from the one next to me. I find it really difficult to concentrate in that kind of setting.

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