I am ashamed that I let yoga fall out of my life for so long.
There was a time where I practiced yoga every. day. every day. every day. And then life got in the way. Can you relate?
The thing is, like all healthy habits, they can definitely cycle back around. You can add them back into your life. And my feeling on the matter is that it gives you tremendous perspective when you take a break. In this case, with yoga, I go through periods where I’m dedicated to the practice and then it might get “easy” and I can lose interest in things that feel easy. I know, I’m weird but I need to be challenged the majority of the time. And when I don’t feel like that’s happening, my interest can fizzle.
Last year, if you remember, I was really hot and heavy into Yin yoga. I burned out on the aggressive and competitive “blood” yoga. You know what I’m talking about. The ego yoga that is popular. I used to take it and loved, LOVED pushing my body. Feeling how strong it is. But I would fall into the trap of competing with other fellow yogis in class. GAWD it’s my shameful personality flaw that can flare up. I suffered from the same issue with sports or a game of cards – anything from tennis to bowling to left-center-right. I’m competitive by nature.
So Yin was great, IS great because it’s a more feminine feeling type of yoga. And all last year it was my medicine, my therapy and religion. That is until my teacher closed up shop in December. And this year, I’ve been experiencing my own personal struggles with physical activity related to old injuries and healing heavy emotional wounds. Somehow that meant exercise, unfortunately, got sidelined like a rookie player.
Thankfully, my girlfriend KC (who incidently set me up on a blind date with Tim many moons ago) reached out to me to take a yoga class with her. She wanted to introduce me to Rutu Chaudhari, the owner of All Life is Yoga (ALIY) studio in Inman Park behind Bocca Lupa and near Revolution Donuts. BTW I’ve been meaning to go to Revolution ever since I had a client who swears by the vegan ones, but I’m just not a huge donut fan. Cupcakes all day. Donuts, not really my jam. Maybe I just haven’t found “the one”…..
So today I met up with KC and her hubs Jeff Myers for an intimate class with Rutu. Jeff was the co-owner of Top Flr and now you can find him at Dish Dive in Decatur h[it me up for a date ‘cuz I need to go check it out]. The AYIS studio is kinda difficult to find if you’re using GPS but just know the studio is right next to Yoga Samadhi. Yes, it’s a little confusing the first time, or it was for me, but just pull into that parking lot BEHIND Bocca Lupa. ALIY studio is behind the truck with the fake driver and plants growing in the bed. No, that is not cryptic or code for something, it’s the actual scene outside. But don’t let the funky Inman surroundings throw you off.
The studio is on the small side and unassuming. No fancy clothing hanging for sale in the check in area. In fact, you’re likely to feel a little out of place in lululemon or expensive yoga attire. If you need hip and chic, this studio is not for you. And initially, during my first class, I sat in my judgment of the surrounds. Compared it to other studios. The wooden walls had metal plates in them for yoga attachments. But the room was, unassuming.
I remember thinking to myself, “oh no, I really need a real yoga workout this is probably a fluffy kind of class.” Fluffy as in not the power yoga, super sweaty, physically-challenging type that part of me is attracted to. That I felt I needed. Or perhaps used to, a younger version of me who thought the sole purpose of yoga was to get a physical workout. But then I remembered KC inviting me and how excited she was for me to meet Rutu, so I deleted my mind chatter, garbage judgment I dragged in with me from the morning and decided to be fully present for the experience.
Thank goodness for that shift in mindset, no doubt heavily influenced by Rutu’s initial meditation to calm the mind (thank you darling!). Because I really would have missed out on something I truly needed…. I experienced an incredible well-rounded real yoga class that focused on alignment using simple but effective floor moves + the wall units to stretch out my lumbar like a spinal decompression appointment. It was total yoga therapy. And then went back again 2 days later – my hamstrings have NEVER felt so loose and fully stretched all year. That is not (Hnat) an exaggeration at all.
The great thing about yoga is that there is a class and/or type of yoga for EVERY BODY. EVERYBODY. Beauty queen to black sheep of the family. You crave competitive “blood yoga” where you’ll struggle in the poses but do it anyway? It’s available and that was my preference for a long long time (and sometimes I take that). You want sweaty hot with music yoga. You can find it. You want gentle restorative yoga? It’s out there. You need more feminine YIn yoga. Go get it! You want to do yoga and drink beer at the same time? Yeah they have that too at New Realm Brewery (no judgment but so not my jam, okay maybe a pinch of judgment just ‘cuz it doesn’t make sense to me). Basically there is a discipline of yoga for each and every need. Period. So if you try one and say “I don’t like yoga” you didn’t find your yoga or donut yet. But don’t give up!
At the beginning of my second class when we were just settling into our seated posture with our eyes closed, I peeked. Yup, everyone else had their eyes closed and I peeked. I couldn’t help it. Actually I wanted to listen and watch, observe Rutu as she started our class perched on her wooden block. She looked like this little sun-kissed fairy, guiding us with her gentle, calm energy to a happier, more peaceful state of consciousness. My personal shift was palpable because in my first class I noticed a little bit of judgy energy sneak in at the beginning (ugh, delete!). But then I took a deep breathe and got washed away by the yoga bliss transformation that can take place when you truly let go of all judgment about yourself and others and just experience your breathe while in the postures (asanas). It was a restorative class that shifted not just my body but also mind, spirit, and energy. I think my DNA turned a happy pink color. That’s what it felt like as I floated out of class and attempted to drive home. I keep planning to ride my bike up the beltline to class but it’s usually a timing thing. Maybe one day I’ll make it via bike! Their schedule is here, if you want to take a class.
What ALIY is all about:
Teaches the true concept of yoga- to evolve, love and unite without all the poshy fluff (don’t get me wrong, I like poshy fluff but it’s also good to have balance and variety)
Classes include Form and Function, Strength and Stamina, Stretch and Rest, and Heartfull Meditation
Totally affordable yoga → $10/class!!
All are accepted – low income, LGBTQ, anyone and everyone
I dig the unassuming vibe.
I’m down with the lack of judgment and the mixture of people, age, color, religion, sexual orientation. All are welcome.
No one with the latest fancy schmancy alo or lululemon outfit (it was kinda refreshing actually). I’m pretty sure an alien would show up and Rutu would welcome them like her own. I love how Rutu guides you from a big place in her heart of peace and joy. She’s very generous with her energy and time. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface on experiencing her wisdom…
Rutu has created a non-profit called The Dharma Project as an initiative to create social change utilizing the platform of yoga. She offers free introductory class to all police officers, firefighters, and public responders in an effort to help introduce effective tools to decrease the toll on their body in their line of work. Amazing!
She’s offering an Ocular Workshop on Saturday from 10-12p where she will teach practices from Ayruveda, Chinese and Western traditions that strengthen and increase vitality to the eyes and can decrease macular degeneration when practiced regularly. And it’s only $40 so I’m hoping to go check it out! I’d love to stop needing my readers at the grocery store when I’m trying to read labels!
ALL LIFE IS YOGA
27 Waddell St NE
Tell Rutu Jennifer with Nutrition Atlanta referred you or better yet, reach out to me and we’ll go take a class!
POST YOGA VIBES….
Hope to see you giving your amazing body what it needs – stretching and quiet time!
Love and light