Friday, July 2, 2010

Satori: The Return of Guest Blogger Stephanie!

Today's post is written by Stephanie, and tells the tale of a yoga newbie.

After living in San Francisco for a year, I realized that not leading an active lifestyle is just unacceptable.  People around me are biking and hiking and climbing rocks! So I decided to step up to the plate – I gave the half marathon a shot, and bought my first ever gym membership at the local YMCA (after all, even if I didn’t make it to the gym regularly, I was at least making a contribution to a great non-profit, right?)  To my surprise, I didn’t really take much advantage of the amenities that most appealed to me, like swimming (I used to be fish in a former life) or elliptical machines.  Instead, I started Pilates and Yoga classes…but strongly suspected that what I was given was not a complete “yoga experience.”  Enormous crowds left no room for a proper Warrior pose, and I soon realized that I needed more personal attention and a connection with what I was doing if I was ever going to stay committed to this “yoga” thing.

So when Groupon sent out a Satori Yoga Studio coupon, I gave myself a mini-challenge.  Danielle was in the midst of completing her second 30 day challenge in Bikram yoga (ed note: did you know I won a free cut and color at Fringe salon for completing the challenge? And now my hair is streaky and curly and awesome?  Best challenge ever!), after all, and I thought…CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! (That’s for you Barney Stinson).

I’ll never forget the moment I walked into Satori.  It’s located just off bustling Market St., stuffed between a Jack and the Box and a corporate office tower.  In contrast to the YMCA classes I was familiar with, it was a peaceful space full of the scent of lavender and soft, soothing teacher voices.  The owner, Andrea, was so personable I immediately felt welcomed.  My first class was with Debbie, a cocktail of bubbly with a twist of encouragement, who ironically started off our class by having everyone introduce themselves and talk about why they started a yoga practice!  It was an auspicious way to begin my journey.

I have a lot of yoga limitations - I cannot touch my forehead to my knees, bind myself into a knot, or get anywhere close to a standing split, and I don’t have a “typical” yoga body what with the lean arms and six pack abs.  (Ed note: what she’s trying to say is, Stephanie has big boobs).  But no matter how difficult a pose was for me, Debbie had a variation that worked with my practice or suited my body, little personalized tweaks here and there that really made a difference.  I was hooked!  Thanks to the wonderful teachers at Satori, who grew to know me by name and were familiar with my abilities (and lack thereof!), my yoga experience has grown from total distaste to an exploration of what life can be when it includes serenity and peace. I eased into the role of a yogi, sharing with friends my newest yoga ability, watching chaturanga videos on Youtube, or proudly subscribing myself to Yoga Journal.

I know now that joining a yoga studio full time is worth the hefty price tag.  There is no price for well being and sanity!  Committing to a more full time practice at my studio is a challenge, but as one of the teachers say, the stress will still be there after class, so focus on the right now. So, that’s what I’m doing, focusing on the now…and enjoying every minute!

All in the Family
During my entire practice I kept sharing my experiences with Danielle - how much I loved my teachers, the studio and the entire atmosphere.  I felt like I had a little yoga family.  (Note: Satori has a Friday apr├Ęs yoga happy hour with cheese and wine!). Danielle had also purchased the Groupon and in her pursuit to try more yoga, she naturally wanted to come to Satori.  (ed note: though naturally I waited until it was about to expire). At first, I didn’t think anything of it, but then I began to have my reservations and even became a little protective. I wanted her experience to live up to my idealistic view of my yoga studio.  I also have such respect for my teachers and their practice; I didn’t want Danielle to think poorly of Satori. (ed note: i.e. make fun of it on her blog). Nevertheless, on one fateful Tuesday evening, we were able to dash out of the office at 5pm and attend Allegra’s Mellow Flow Class.  For me, getting back into the yoga mix after a long hiatus with an Allegra class was just what the doctor ordered. Allegra encourages each student to have variety in their poses and focus on individual strengths.  Her teaching style was another important reason why I just couldn’t just give up my yoga studio for those YMCA classes.

I felt confident that Danielle would enjoy her practice, but it wasn’t until midway through our session that I remembered Allegra is a fan of singing in yoga (Sankirtan Yoga)! I got a little nervous about how Danielle would react, because I didn’t get to warn her about the singing and I figured she preferred a no frills yoga.  (Ed note:  True, my first thought was “cheesy!” but I went with it.  After all, at my Bikram studio Julia ends every class with a rousing rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” and besides, Allegra had a gorgeous voice – and she was just so chipper and bouncy and happy you couldn’t help but want to give her a hug, pat her on the head, and put her in your pocket.)

Sadly, since I work past the 5 o’clock hour on most days it’s hard to keep up a regular practice at Satori.  Danielle kept encouraging me to find another studio because I shouldn’t give up my yoga practice, but I stuck to my guns that my “home” would somehow come through for me.  Then it happened…Satori started to offer a 7:15am class twice a week!  It was a sign. 

Danielle and I attended our first Abbie class together this week and it was a new experience for the both of us.  Abbie took a different approach to yoga, providing us with readings on, in this case, the 3rd chakra, working on our “center” (and working out our abs!). I always knew that there was deeper, more spiritual aspect to yoga (ed note: that includes songs by the Beach Boys?) that I never bothered to think about, but this class put it in the forefront of my mind.   

I leave you with the same conclusion Abbie left us with on Tuesday…let yoga be in our minds, our words, but most importantly in our hearts.  Namaste!

(ed note: no, for reals, Beach Boys.  And that “Kissing You” song from the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack that makes you feel like you're 17 and in love with Leo again.  And Amadou and Miriam, which is great music for yoga, as it turns out, but also used in the Allegra class.  I saw these two in concert once and I LOVE THEM.  Anyway...Satori is a great way to start your day!)

Satori Yoga Studio

$30 for first 3 classes

1 comment:

  1. Stephanie, do you want my foam roller now? ;)