Day 10 of Fitness – Happy Hour TGIF at Sacred Garden Yoga
Best Self staffer: Flannery
In years past, I have fancied myself a yogi. I used to look forward to the calm atmosphere at a yoga studio: the immediate, unintentional lowering of my voice and slowing of my step as I entered the space. I used to love the delicate scents in a yoga studio—even if it was just a regular candle, it became extra special in this place of quiet reflection and self-exploration. But as it tends to do, life got in the way of my practice. I let myself get busy, I convinced myself that the drive to the studio was too long, and I stopped going. Instead, I opted for a more convenient gym with shorter classes that can only be described as yoga-ish. There would be a mat involved, and several of the requisite downward dog poses, but the sacred space was no longer there. I didn’t realize what I was missing until I went to Sacred Garden Yoga for Day 10 of our 30 Days of Fitness. I signed up for this class partly because the owner, Cindy Olah, was voted “Best Yoga Instructor” in our “Best of 2013″ contest so the class was sure to be good, and partly because the class was called “Happy Hour TGIF Yoga.” I thought that sounded upbeat, fast-paced and fun—much like the watered-down yoga classes I have come to expect over the last few years.
When I arrived, the studio was smaller than I expected. Tucked in a residential area of Marietta, this little house has a reception area leading into a yoga room that holds about 12 mats. Chimes tinkled softly as I opened the door, and I was enveloped by that yoga-studio scent that I remembered from years ago. I can’t even name it, but I could feel it: it felt like calmness, safety, strength and happiness all rolled into one deep breath. I rolled out my mat and jumped into the class—I was late, because like so many of us, I had trouble pulling myself away from my desk on time in order to prioritize self-care. As I began listening to Cindy’s instruction, I realized how very different this was from the yoga-ish classes I was used to. The goal was not to get a quick workout in and then head back to our normal lives. She was talking to us about body positioning and what to stretch when, of course, but that was interwoven with talk about living intentionally, learning to trust ourselves on and off the mat, and keeping our inner fires of motivation lit for every facet of our lives. Cindy used the Sanskrit names for many poses, offered variations for the different levels in the class, and walked around to adjust us as needed through the entire 75 minutes.
I had forgotten this level of engagement that’s found at a dedicated yoga studio. The instructor and students are not just there for the physical benefits: we were there for connection and for the mental and emotional journey of mindful yoga. Even this blog post is different than the other days of fitness! I feel more reflective, slower, calmer than usual. That’s not just due to the movements of yoga (which help, certainly), but more due to the atmosphere, focus and sacred space created at Sacred Garden Yoga. Do yourself a favor and try a yoga class at a studio like Sacred Garden: give yourself permission to take the time, to make the drive, to prioritize yourself. See what a change it will make.
Details: 369 Campbell Hill Street, Marietta, GA, (770) 421-9353, www.sacredgardenyoga.com