Monday, February 8, 2010

Power Yoga at The Pad Studio: Yoga Goddesses and Free Parking

So it seemed only fair to give the Marina another shot, this time at Pad Studios on Union Street.  My free-class-at-Lululemon friend suggested we take advantage of Pad’s 3 classes for $20 new student deal (whereas a drop-in is $17), and I wanted to try this Power Yoga thing, so off I went on a sunny Sunday morning.  I decided to drive because I was running late (and I’m lazy), and knew things would go well when, as I waited at a stoplight a block from my destination, a giant van pulled out of their parking space.  This meant that a) I now had practically door-to-door parking, and b) I was going to have plenty of van-space to park my little Yaris (me parking is always reminiscent of these videos - I kid you not that a passerby actually stopped to watch me as I went over the curb to my right, inched forward and back about eight times, bumped the car bumper in front, went BACK over the curb…this with at least eight or nine feet of parking space to move around in.  Hey, this “driving” thing is new to me, okay?)

So walking into the Pad is a little like walking into a spa – a calm, quiet, wide open, well lit, sweet-smelling place.  I was concerned that they could smell Saturday night’s sangria and champagne seeping from my pores, but everyone was very friendly and welcoming.  We  passed by some creepy looking torture devices/pilates machines on the way to the yoga studio, a tiny wooden-floored room with a ballet bar, a small faux furnace, and a beautiful carved sculpture of the Buddha’s face as the only décor.

Our teacher, Rima, was the definitive Yoga Goddess.  Tall, lean, strong, effortlessly graceful, she was the kind of yoga teacher who would make you feel a bit fat and slovenly if she wasn’t so damn friendly and funny.  Her class was difficult (at least for me) and moved quickly, but she offered plenty of advice and adjustments, did a few poses along with us to show how it’s done, and often suggested modifications or “do this if it’s part of your practice, otherwise do this” so that no one was pushed past their limits.  Music was played throughout, but for once I didn’t mind Postal Service during downward dog or Portishead for savasana. I even liked the chanting at the end!...maybe because Rima seemed so genuine as she led us through it, and the class was small (maybe 15 women of a variety of ages) and really engaged.

After the hour long class I felt sweaty, stretched and centered.  I was also experiencing the dawning realization that there is so much strength and knowledge that Bikram doesn’t teach me.  For example, we don’t do any poses supported only by our hands, so my balance and arm strength is just pathetic.  But I didn’t leave class frustrated, just surprised.  When I mentioned this to my yoga friend, she said “That’s the first semi-negative thing I’ve ever heard you say about Bikram!”  So only a month into the year and I suppose I'm already broadening my perspective.

Immediately following class I walked through the warm sun to buy a cup of coffee at a friendly little diner, and I noticed how many people in workout clothes and/or holding yoga mats were out this afternoon.  I wondered if they all felt as calm and happy as I did.  The Marina’s not so bad, right?  I also noticed the sign, above…well, I’ll let Mission Mission handle the snark on this one.  I feel great.


The Pad Studios – Marina
Power Yoga (Vinyasa)

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